Westpac Group expands digital gambling block feature for more customers
1 October 2021
Westpac Group has extended its digital gambling block feature to provide more ways for customers to restrict their spend with gambling merchants in real-time. The latest changes mean the digital feature will now be available for over two million St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne personal debit card customers.
The digital feature was made available earlier this year enabling customers with eligible cards1 to apply an instant block on certain gambling-related transactions through their mobile or online banking.
When the gambling block is applied, transactions to certain gambling merchants including casinos, sports betting agencies and online gambling companies are instantly prevented.
Westpac’s Director of Customer Vulnerability & Financial Resilience, Catherine Fitzpatrick, says the digital feature helps provide support for customers when its needed most and has already been activated more than 30,000 times since it first went live.
“Problem gambling continues to be a serious issue in Australian communities, and as more people transact online during the pandemic, the digital feature gives customers the ability to manage their gambling spend whenever they might need it.
“The benefits of being able to apply a block in real-time also it gives customers more control and flexibility in the moment.
“While the majority of customers are now using digital channels to complete their everyday banking tasks, our Customer Care team continues to remain available as another way for customers to call and have a block applied,” Fitzpatrick said.
As part of the latest updates, a gambling block is also now automatically applied to all Westpac Group debit cardholders under the age of 18 to help prevent underage gambling.
Lauren Levin, Director of Policy & Campaigns at Financial Counselling Australia said more people have become concerned about their finances and gambling during the pandemic.
“We are noticing the pandemic has led to a rise in people gambling more and worried about their money.
“The gambling block is a great idea. Research tells us that the more often a person gambles, the greater the risk of developing a gambling issue. The bank gambling block is an easy tool that will help a lot of people.
“We’d also see the feature being used by other household or family members as a preventative measure.
“We encourage anyone who is worried about their gambling to use features like Westpac’s gambling block, but also seek help. There are many doorways. You won’t be judged. Talk to a family member or friend, a professional, or speak to your bank for support,” Levin said.
More information about Westpac’s gambling block is available via the Westpac website. Customers can also call our Customer Care team for more details on 132 032 Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 6.00pm (AEST).
Westpac is also working with national addiction treatment, education, and research centre Turning Point to launch an online awareness campaign over the coming months, when activity tends to peak.
If you wish to speak to someone about gambling, the Gambling Help Online provides free, confidential support. You can chat to a counsellor online by visiting gamblinghelponline.org.au You can also speak to a counsellor via the Gambler’s Helpline on 1800 858 858.
- The gambling block can be applied to eligible personal Westpac Group credit card or debit card.
- Customers can remove gambling blocks from their cards, which is processed within two business days from the time of the customer’s request.
- For debit cardholders under the age of 18, the block will be automatically applied.
1 Note: Upon its initial release in March 2021, the digital feature became available to all eligible Westpac Group (Westpac, St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne) credit card customers, as well as Westpac debit card customers. The new release means the digital feature has expanded and is now available to all Westpac Group debit cardholders.