Westpac Expands Digital Gaming Block to Include Additional Debit Cardholders


Westpac Group has announced the extension of its digital gaming block feature to debit cardholders in St George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne.

When the feature was initially launched in March, the game block feature was available to all Westpac Group credit card customers, as well as Westpac debit card customers.

The gambling blocking feature allows customers to apply an instant block on gambling related transactions at certain gambling merchants including casinos, sports betting companies and gaming companies money online, through their mobile banking app or online.

Customers can also contact bank customer service teams to enforce the block.

As part of the update and to prevent underage gambling, a game block will also automatically apply to all Westpac Group debit card holders under the age of 18, Westpac added.

According to Catherine Fitzpatrick, Westpac’s director of client vulnerability and financial resilience, since its launch, the feature has been activated more than 30,000 times.

“Problem gambling continues to be a serious problem in Australian communities, and as more people transact online during the pandemic, the digital feature gives customers the ability to manage their gambling spending whenever they want. ‘they need it,’ she said.

“The benefits of being able to apply a block in real time also gives customers more control and flexibility in the moment. “

Taking this next step by Westpac reinforces an argument that Visa and Mastercard each made in their response to a question on notice from the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Business and Financial Services. The question was who should be responsible for managing the credit card game blocks, if this were to be implemented.

As Mastercard says, she doesn’t see all card transactions that carry her brand – only banks do, and therefore recommends if some form of payment blocking were to be mandated in Australia, the responsibility should lie with the issuing bank, rather than the diagram of the cards.

“A typical transaction on the Mastercard network involves four participants in addition to us: the cardholder, the merchant (a company that accepts payment for goods or services provided), in most cases, relationships with customers. Cardholders are owned and managed by our banking clients or financial institutions, ”he said.

“Mastercard understands that some Australian banks have already made the decision to ban the use of credit cards to pay for gambling transactions. In some cases the decision is based on commercial considerations as gambling transactions tend to result in higher number of disputed transactions compared to other non-gaming transactions.

“Some card issuers have card controls that allow cardholders to block certain types of transactions or issuers can do this directly at the switch / card management level.”

Likewise, Visa believes that banks can use their existing real-time monitoring capabilities to apply blocks based on merchant category, as they do in the face-to-face environment.

“Visa’s licensing and transaction processing processes do not distinguish between accepting credit, debit, or prepaid transactions. Visa rules prohibit acquirers from submitting illegal transactions into the Visa payment system. To comply with this requirement, acquirers must ensure that their merchant’s transaction activity is legal in the jurisdiction of both buyer and seller, ”Visa said in its response.

“In the event of a conflict between the Visa rules and applicable laws or regulations, the requirements of the laws or regulations will of course prevail. Based on the above, issuers would be in the best position to execute the block if any regulations were introduced. “

This is the same argument Tabcorp made when he appeared before the committee in early September. At the time, the gaming giant supported the call to ban the use of credit cards by Australians on online gaming platforms, such as betting apps, but believes that mandate should be the responsibility of the banks.

“If we got more information from the banks that a card was suspicious, we could close it. If the banks informed us that this was a problem, we would be able to stop dealing with this problem,” but this flow of information is not ‘It will not happen,’ said Tabcorp CEO David Attenborough.

Tabcorp reiterated this point in response to a question on notice, noting that banks are “best placed to do this, and many have already proceeded with restricting gambling transactions, even without legislation. Banks are also best placed to do this. to determine a customer’s creditworthiness “.


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