Beware interest on gambling credit card charges

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Online gamblers beware - you may not realize your credit cards are dinging you more for online gambling transactions than you think.

According to a Reuters article from London, most credit card providers now treat online gambling transactions as cash advances, which incur a higher interest rate than regular purchases on a credit card.

Not only is the interest higher on these types of transactions, there typically isn't the normal 56 days interest free that is given for purchases. That means the online gambling charges start incurring interest right away.

According to, some examples of the difference in interest rates between purchases and cash withdrawals are:

Credit Card Purchase APR Cash APR
Co-operative Advantage Visa 18.9% 23.9%
Bank of Scotland Credit Card 13.9% 23.95%
Oxfam Standard 18.9% 23.9%
Natwest Classic Card 12.9% 24.94%
Halifax One Card 9.9% 23.93%

Richard Brown, chief executive, said in the Reuters article that if online gamblers aren't aware of the way online gambling transactions are treated, they could be losing money hand over fist as the interest adds up.

Just how fast does it add up? A gambler in the United Kingdom who racks up £5,000 worth of debt on a credit card with a 22% cash advance rate will have at least £1,100 per year in interest unless they clear the debt.

Brown said in the Reuters article that means the gambler will have to win his stake back plus at least 22% just to come out even.

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