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Westpac Banking Corporation, also known as Westpac, is an Australian banking system and financial service provider. Westpac banking services offer features like banking services, loans of various types, including home loans, personal loans, insurance like car, home, and life insurance, and services regarding shares and investments. 

They are identified as the oldest banking company in Australia and one of the largest in New Zealand. In this article, we are about to discuss a few of the updated rules and regulations of the bank, which hit the gambling industry with a blow.

The Latest Talk of the Gambling Arena

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The latest talk of the gambling town is the fact that Westpac is about to increase its rate of interest in ‘Quasi cash’ payments processed by punters using their credit cards to fund their gambling expenses. This also includes the payment process for recreational activities like real money entertainment in New Zealand casinos, Lotto, TAB, and others. 

Previously, the bank used to charge 22.95% interest on what they call cash advances which were levied upon its Hotpoint MasterCard. From the 30th of November onwards, funding gambling accounts and even buying cryptocurrencies will be considered as cash advances. Regular purchases made using Westpac’s usual MasterCard are subject to an interest percentage of 20.95. 

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This decision has shaken up the Problem Gambling Foundation to seek a planned review of the laws related to gambling, taking under consideration the Gambling Commission of British for restricting payments from credit cards to fund gambling expenses. After extensive studies on credit card debt issues, it was found that a major percentage of the debts result from problematic gambling. 

This resulted in the British Gambling Commission imposing a ban on the usage of credit cards to refund gambling accounts. According to the spokeswoman of Problem Gambling Foundation, Andree Froude, this move for gambling purposes is a successful step in safeguarding the population against problematic gambling. Using credit cards to fund gambling bills gives punters a false illusion of having the money they do not really possess which in turn haunts them as debts.

The Gambling Act was made prevalent almost two decades ago. After being in full force in 2003, it has brought major changes to the gambling industry’s structure and technological aspects. This includes the legalization of the ability of punters to gamble at overseas casinos as well as the ones that are in New Zealand. The Department of International Affairs conducted a study a few years back which was expected to give a certain set of results regarding the options of regulations.

What Westpac Has to Say

One of the spokespersons of Westpac spoke about the quasi cash transactions being used as a way to fund gambling bills. Customers can always escape paying the interest by using a debit card instead of a credit card. Froude repeatedly highlighted the fact how Australian banks like Westpac should invest more for safeguarding people from practicing uncontrolled gambling. 

In April it was announced that Kiwibank would allow customers to impose voluntary blocks on their credit cards while funding big gambling bills. This will further keep them from being burdened with hefty debts. After looking into the matter, reports said the same service was used by 127 customers and an average of $13,000 each year could be avoided as a part of gambling expenditure.

The spokeswoman urges the banks to adopt the same services offered by Kiwibank. Banks like Westpac in Australia National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia started offering self-selected gambling blocks like the ones offered by Kiwibank. The New Zealand counterparts of the same would not do the same even if it is utterly necessary. 

This change had an impact on various other payments including

• money transfer overseas

• buying and selling of cryptocurrency

• transferring money to investment platforms

The Sharesies Perspective

Sharesies, an investment platform, came forward to speak about the situation. The co-chief executive of the same platform, Leighton Roberts said that only a few customers/investors used credit cards to fund their accounts. 

According to the terms and conditions of Kiwibank, buying and selling of gambling chips or even foreign cash is included within the section of cash-like transactions.  The same definition for ANZ includes the purchase of gift cards, prepaid cards, Traveller’s cheques, foreign currency, money transfer, gambling chips, funding gambling accounts, and so on.

Conclusion

The terms and conditions along with the credit card criteria have to be thoroughly checked before getting into a business with any bank. They are constantly in a state of switching up their policies and upgrading their terms and conditions for the benefit of the mass. So in circumstances where one has to take the help of the bank, it is highly suggested to go through the terms and conditions first.

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