Halifax Rolls out ‘Gambling Card Freeze’ Feature for UK Accounts

  • Players can choose to ‘defrost’ their card, must wait 48 hours before using it to gamble
  • Mobile app feature can be applied to debit and/or credit cards
  • Aim is to safeguard Halifax customers against problem gambling
bank cards buried in snow
Halifax has rolled out a new ‘gambling card freeze’ feature that allows UK account holders to block online gambling transactions. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Available via mobile app

British banking brand Halifax has introduced a new feature that provides consumers protection from problems related to gambling.

essentially freezing a card from processing gambling transactions

The ‘gambling card freeze’ feature has been added to the Halifax mobile app. The app can control debit and credit card use, essentially freezing a card from processing gambling transactions.

Freeze and defrost

This gambling card freeze feature allows customers to manage their money responsibly when connected to wagering. With the app, consumers can apply the freeze to their debit and/or credit cards. The decision to freeze connects to a ‘defrost’ period.

According to Halifax, if a customer changes their mind and decides to unfreeze the card to allow gambling transactions, they must wait 48 hours before the card can be used in that manner.

The 48-hour period gives customers the time to think about their decision. The goal is to ensure the change is not made under duress. Halifax created the new feature as part of their initiative to protect customers from harm related to gambling activities.

The bank brand has teamed up with Warwick University to analyze the impact of problem gambling. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and other organizations can expect the full details of the study once it has been concluded.

Elyn Corfield, managing director of consumer finance at Halifax, stated that the company knows that people who gamble a larger portion of their income are more likely to face financial pressure. Ms. Corfield said:

By also introducing a defrost period, we’re helping to protect those who might otherwise make an impulsive return to gambling.”

Helping problem gamblers

The United Kingdom has the largest regulated iGaming market in the world. Because of this, additional safety measures are provided by financial institutions like Halifax.

The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board of the UK Gambling Commission advises that when borrowed money is used to gamble, it increases the risk that the consumer will gamble more than they can afford.

With the new app feature by Halifax and those introduced by other financial institutions, consumers have an additional way to protect themselves.

HSBC, the largest bank in Europe, recently announced that customers in the UK can self-exclude from gambling transactions. The self-ban option applies to online casinos and sports betting websites.

HSBC provides a gambling block option that can be reversed. Once activated, players must wait 24 hours before the decision can be reversed. Like the Halifax app, the wait time allows players to think about their decision to use their bank for gambling.

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