HSBC introduce gambling fees

HSBC have told their customers if they want to gamble at online casinos, poker websites and through telephone betting services, they will face increased charges on their credit card.

From February 1st customers will pay an advanced rate rather than the normal purchase rate if they want to gamble. This translates as paying between 21.9 per cent and 27.8 per cent, instead of between the standard 15.9 per cent and 22.9 per cent.

"This is one of a number of changes we have made to our credit card offering recently to bring us in line with the competition," an HSBC spokeswoman said.

The move follows similar stance taken by MBNA, RBS/Natwest and Egg who charge customers at a similar advanced rate.

As with many moves to restrict online gambling by banks and authorities, there remains a loophole. Customers can transfer their funds through an online payment processor, such as Neteller or FirePay, which would then mean the purchases would be treated as retail charges, meaning normal rates of interest would be applicable.

HSBC also declared that there was no evidence of customers who gambled online racking up big debts.

"We have not seen that as part of our customers' behaviour," said the HSBC spokeswoman.

The facts also seem to back this up. As an increasing amount of people in the UK rack up huge debts on their credit card, a tiny percentage of this spending is actually spent on gambling. According to the Association of Payment Clearing Services (APACS), 0.8 per cent of the £120.2 billion credit card spending was down to gambling.

Editor, - 2007-01-04 12:03:38

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