A new feature in NAB's app allows customers to put limits on their gambling expenses.
According to NAB, it is now fully implementing a feature allowing customers to block gambling transactions on personal NAB credit and debit cards, including:
- sports betting
- casino games
- lottery tickets
- online gambling
The major bank says it is the first in Australia to do so.
To apply the restriction, customers can simply log into the app, select 'my cards' and 'usage controls' and then hit disable gambling transactions. The latest version of the app is required for this.
The gambling block capability was first introduced on iOS phones in December 2019, but is now available on both iOS and Android devices.
NAB Chief Customer Experience Officer Rachel Slade said the new app feature would support Australians in controlling their financial future.
“It’s very easy to place a bet, so there’s real value in giving people the option to plan ahead and control their spending," Ms Slade said.
"This tool is designed to put the choice in the hands of our customers.
“Since commencing the roll-out in December we have seen more than 10,000 customers turn on the restriction, highlighting the importance of offering easy-to-use tools for customers to manage their finances.”
The release of this feature comes after the release of a December study from the Queensland Treasury which found Australians lost nearly $25 billion on gambling in 2017-18, a 5% increase from the previous year's results.
Putting that in context, more than $242 billion was spent that year, and when averaged out across all 19.75 million Australians aged over 18 (based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data), this is more than $12,000 per person.
In comparison, Australian gambling losses equal about $1,260 per person.
“We’re making it easier for customers to take greater control over their money,” Ms Slade said.
“We also recognise problem gambling remains a major challenge affecting the community, and one that requires organisations, governments, and the community to work together to effectively address.”
More information on NAB's gambling block are available on its website.
The table below displays a snapshot of savings accounts with some of the highest non-introductory interest rates on the market.
More banks need to do the same
The Alliance for Gambling Reform (AGR) has called on more Australian banks to follow in NAB's footsteps and allow customers to restrict gambling purchases with the touch of a button in-app.
AGR Chief Advocate Tim Costello said the fact that thousands have already used this service despite next to no promotion by NAB is a sign there are many people struggling with gambling addiction.
"Research has shown there are well over one million people in Australia experiencing gambling harm in some form, so something simple like this is very much needed," Mr Costello said.
"Being able to block gambling transactions...will undoubtedly be helping people experiencing gambling harm by voluntarily limiting their spending.
"Previously people could call the bank and ask for the same block, but NAB tells us this option was rarely taken up. This demonstrates why it's so important for other banks to offer similar anonymous options within their apps as soon as possible.
"We congratulate NAB for taking the lead on this, and look forward to other banks following suit soon."
Resources for gambling help
If you’re reading this and think you might have a problem with gambling, there are numerous resources you can reach out to for help:
- Gambling help online:
1800 858 858
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Gambler’s Help:
1800 858 858(Gambling help online’s number)
To help get your finances back in order after gambling issues, you can also speak to an ASIC approved financial counsellor.
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