Underlining its commitment to social responsibility and customer care, NatWest has introduced a 48-hour delay gambling block on debit cards.

The firm’s latest initiative, which can be utilised to halt both physical and virtual debit cards, comes off the back of the introduction of a unique partnership with GamCare to provide support, advice and treatment for gamblers and their loved ones experiencing harm. 

David Lindberg, CEO of Retail Banking at NatWest stated: “The introduction of a gambling block for debit card customers will help us to equip gamblers experiencing harm across the UK with more tools to support their recovery. At NatWest, our partnership with GamCare is hugely important. 

“Excessive gambling and financial hardship go hand in hand, and over the last year we have offered an increasing amount of help to those customers who need it most through our trained specialists and by donating branch space for treatment therapy to reduce barriers to access. I look forward to developing this work further and offering greater access to services through our work with GamCare.”

It comes as firms continue to adjust their customer affordability checks throughout the lockdown and as the nation navigates through the impending economic downturn.

Anna Hemmings, CEO of GamCare, added: “The ability to block gambling transactions through your bank card or app is an important tool for those struggling with their gambling, and is ideally used together with other practical tools such as self-exclusion, blocking software, and specialist support around the issue.

“A recent report from the University of Bristol Personal Finance Research Centre has highlighted that ‘positive friction’ such as a cooling-off period is important for the success of blocks, as this prevents them being turned off in the event of urges to gamble. GamCare is pleased to see NatWest take this positive step to support their customers and we hope more of the financial sector follows suit.”