GamCare strengthens support for the expansion of financial advice

GamCare has deepened its support for the Money & Pensions Services (MaPS) annual ‘Talk Money Week’ (#TalkMoney) national campaign.

Hosted from 9-13 November, the initiative encourages the general public to openly speak about their personal finances.

Supporting MaPS objectives, GamCare underlined that financial well-being was a fundamental process in the recovery of gambling addicts. Furthermore, the charity noted that at-risk and vulnerable consumers could feel anxious speaking to their banks on matters related to their gambling habits.

GamCare stated that ‘almost three quarters’ of people contacting its gambling helpline last year had mentioned ‘some level of gambling debt or financial hardship’, adding that it noted a stigma by callers with regards to speaking to their banks about debt advice and knowing their financial options.

Whilst the majority of UK banks have installed ‘gambling blocks’ allowing customers to restrict gambling transactions, GamCare marked customer service engagements as a critical point of intervention.

The charity highlighted work by digital bank Monzo, which detailed: “All of our specialist support team have been trained in how to support people who are struggling with gambling, and they’d all be delighted to spend some time getting to know you and your needs. All you have to do is reach out and ask. You can let us know by going to the ‘Help’ screen in your app and searching for gambling. From there, you’ll be able to write directly to our specialist support team.”

Privacy concerns were further noted by GamCare, highlighting that at-risk consumers were unaware of bank confidentiality protections with regards to their personal information.

In addition, many callers seeking advice held anxieties that they would be instantly denied personal finance services (should they admit to gambling). “We have spoken to many lenders who confirmed to us that it’s simply not the case,” said GamCare.

Whether applying for a mortgage, personal loan or credit card, GamCare stressed that financial services had to be transparent about why they’re refusing their credit services. It noted that affected consumers should be made aware of their lending status and options in which information can be accessed on Experian and Equifax websites.