Some Australian banks are now allowing customers to block gambling transactions on their credit or debit cards. This is a great option to support your willpower if you’re working to change your gambling habits — especially right now, when many Australians are spending a lot of time at a loose end at home.
Westpac, the Commonwealth Bank, NAB and the Bank of Melbourne now offer gambling block options, and it’s likely that others will soon follow. If your bank doesn’t have this type of assistance, we think it’s a good idea to reach out to them and ask why. You could also consider moving your money to a bank that offers the services that meet your needs — just make sure you cancel the old account right away!
Some banks have also gone a step further and banned the use of their credit cards for gambling altogether.
Each service operates slightly differently. Here’s some info to get you started.
- Bank of Melbourne: Call 132 266 (Monday–Friday: 9:00am–6:00pm) to request a block on your credit card. This service does not apply to debit cards. Cancelling the block may take up to two business days. Learn more.
- Commonwealth Bank: Call 1300 720 814 (Monday–Friday: 8:00am–6:00pm) to request a block on your credit and debit cards. When you make the request you agree to commit to the block for a specific period of time. Learn more.
- NAB: Use the NAB smartphone app to activate a block to your credit or debit card. The request can be made by the cardholder, but also by selected others such as people who hold Power of Attorney. A request to cancel the block may take up to two business days. Learn more.
- Westpac: Call tel:131-900 (Monday–Friday: 9:00am–6:00pm) to activate a block on your debit and credit cards. If you want to cancel the block, the request may take up to two business days. Learn more about the service.
Some banks are now banning the use of gambling services on their credit cards with altogether. These banks may allow the use of their debit cards for gambling services.
If you have questions about how these banks block gambling services, you can call and ask for details. You can also submit feedback to let them know that you support the policy or request changes.
- Bank of Queensland: 1300 55 72 72 | Submit feedback
- Citibank: 13 24 84 | Submit feedback
- Macquarie Bank: 1300 150 300 | Submit feedback
- Suncorp: 13 11 55 | Submit feedback
- Virgin Money: 13 37 39 | Submit feedback
Additionally, ANZ doesn’t offer a gambling block but does block gambling transactions if they would exceed 85% of your credit limit. Call 13 22 73 for more information. If you have thoughts on this policy, let them know.
It’s likely that in the coming months and years the Australian community will have further conversations about introducing broader regulatory change to prevent the use of credit cards for gambling. As of 14 April 2020, gambling on credit cards has been banned in the UK. Earlier in 2020, the Australian Banking Association took public submissions on whether similar regulations should be introduced here. The results of that enquiry have not yet been made public.
If you have thoughts on the topic, you can contact your local Senator, Member of Parliament, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), or reach out to us and we can help you figure out where to get started.