Un-Australian bank blocks pokie payments on credit cards
A bank which boasts about being "responsible" has told its customers that they are not allowed to make any gaming or gambling transactions on their credit cards.
Bank Australia has been criticised for controlling people's behaviour with one expert asking if it will also ban payments to McDonalds because fast food is bad for you.
The bank has written to customers telling them: "Effective from 1 December 2020 we are blocking all gambling and gaming transactions on credit cards."
But Jeff Rogut, chief executive of the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores, said: "I don't think the companies that are offering the service should decide where consumers are spending their money.
"They could take it to another extreme and say they will not process any payments for alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets," he said.
A Bank Australia spokesman said it was a customer- owned bank and any money loaned from their savings and deposits needed to be done responsibly.
"As part of our commitment to responsible banking we want to make sure that the money we lend is used in ways that minimise potential harm to our customers and others," he said. "So in line with that commitment, we don't think it's responsible to let customers gamble using funds borrowed from other customers."
He said an "overwhelming majority" of the bank's 165,000 customers supported blocking gambling transactions on credit cards. They can still make gambling payments on their debit cards.
Peter Kurti, director at The Centre for Independent Studies, said: "It seems odd that a bank would make these moral decisions on what you can spend your money on.
"On the one hand you can understand the attempt to control behaviour but it is not a bank's place to do that. It is there to provide a service.
"What's next? If you go to Dan Murphys or McDonalds and make four trips in a week is the bank going to say 'no it's bad for you?'"
"If my bank did this to me I would be extremely annoyed and cancel my account."
Australia's big four banks do not stop gambling on credit cards and instead rely on customers with a problem to opt in and choose to block gambling transactions.
Originally published as Un-Australian bank blocks pokie payments on credit cards