Macquarie to Ban Gambling Transactions on Its Credit Cards

Australian bank Macquarie has announced plans to ban gambling- and lottery-related transactions on its credit cards, the Australian Financial Review reports.

The changes are set to take effect on July 1. Under those, any transactions that are classified as gambling under the merchant codes will be blocked when a card holder tries to conduct them.

Macquarie’s moves comes amid growing regulatory pressure within Australia’s gambling space and as stats show that Australians are among the world’s biggest gamblers. In addition, concerns have been raised that the portion of the nation’s population that its struggling with gambling-related problems has easy access to credit.

According to the 2017 edition of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (Hilda) survey, nearly 200,000 people in the nation struggled with problem gambling. And according to gambling analyst H2 Gambling Capital’s 2017 rankings, Australia had the greatest gambling loss per head in the world, with a 24.7% gap between the country and second-placed Hong Kong.

As noted by, credit cards that can be used for gambling-related transactions are typically classified as cash advances. That is because gambling chargers are usually cash equivalents or cash substitutes.

Will the Ban Prove Effective?

Macquarie admitted that despite its efforts, it would be hard to enforce a complete ban on the use of its credit cards for gambling transactions. For instance, merchants that provide gambling services but their primary business is categorized under a different code that is not recognized as gambling by the card will be hard to prevent from carrying out gambling transactions.

Such instances might arise when customers buy lottery tickets from newsagents whose terminals are not classified under the category code for gambling merchants.

Macquarie also pointed out that there will be a number of other instances where the bank will be unable to block the authorization of gambling- or lottery-related transactions, and that customers will “continue to be responsible for these, and all charges on [their] card.”

For instance, using a credit card for non-gambling purchases at a casino, such as buying a meal or a drink, can attract a cash advance fee and interest rate, the bank explained.

Commenting on Macquarie’s move, Sally Tindall, research director of, told the Australian Financial Review that “banning gambling on credit cards is another way to help people think twice before gambling money they do not have.

Macquarie’s ban on gambling-related transaction arrives as part of a series of changes the bank is planning to introduce to its credit card. Some of these will take effect on July 1. The bank will no longer be charging international transaction fees on overseas purchases and will remove the 3% international fee on overseas cash withdrawals. The credit card’s standard cash withdrawal fee will remain unchanged.

The bank also revealed plans to cap cash advance balances at A$1,000 from late August and implement up to 55 days interest free on purchases made by card holders who have a balance transfer within a certain promotional period starting from the end of October.

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