Barclays introduces block option on gambling transactions
In a first for UK high-street banks, Barclays has introduced an option for customers to block transactions to gambling sites. The bank hopes that the feature will help those struggling with gambling addiction have more control over their habit.
The feature will be available on Tuesday to UK customers via the bank’s mobile app. Customers can choose to block transactions with certain types of retailers, split into five categories by Barclays. These are; gambling shops and websites; supermarkets; restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaways; petrol and diesel; premium rate websites and phone lines.
If a transaction is attempted with a retailer in a category a customer has blocked, the transaction will be declined by Barclays. The function is currently only available in conjunction with debit cards but Barclays plans to extend it to credit cards in the future. Customers who don’t use the mobile app can also turn the feature on for any of the retailer categories in their local branch.
The feature was developed in collaboration with The Money Advice Trust, a debt charity, along with input from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.
Speaking about the new feature, Catherine McGrath, managing director at Barclays, said:
We are always looking for new ways to support our customers and make it easier for them to manage their finances. We work with a range of advisers and partners, as well as consulting with our customers, to identify how our customers’ needs are changing and what works for them. This new control feature is the latest new service that we have introduced in the Barclays mobile banking app that aims to give all of our customers a better way to manage their money in a simple, secure and effective way.– Catherine McGrath, Barclays managing director
The heads of a number of operators, along with the head of GambleAware, have applauded the move from Barclays. While Barclays is the first major high-street bank to offer this feature, mobile banks Starling bank and Monzo have both released similar features this year.