Barclays has become the first UK high street bank to enable customers to block transactions with gambling companies.
Barclays Mobile Banking app users can now block and control spending on gambling websites, retail betting shops, casinos and race tracks, as well as lottery ticket and scratch cards.
Developed with the Money Advice Trust and other advisors, the new service allows customers to also block transactions with groceries and supermarkets, restaurants, takeaways, pubs and bars, fuel and premium rate websites and phone lines.
The bank said the new feature is designed to give customers greater control over their money, as well as help protect them against fraud and scams.
“We work with a range of advisors and partners, as well as consulting with our customers, to identify how our customers’ needs are changing and what works for them,” said Catherine McGrath, Barclays managing director for transaction, insurance and mass market products.
“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.”
Marc Etches, chief executive of the GambleAware, praised the new initiative by Barclays and encouraged other UK banks to follow suit.
“There are 340,000 problem gamblers in Britain and a further 1.7m at risk, and initiatives like this can play an important role in helping to reduce gambling-related harms,” he said. “There are no limits to stakes and prizes for online gambling, and credit cards are allowed so it is important to make it easier for people to control their spending.”
While Barclays is the first high street bank to launch the service, a number of online-only competitors have already launched similar products. Earlier this year, challenger bank Monzo and digital, mobile-only bank Starling Bank also introduced similar, voluntary schemes to allow their customers to block gambling transactions.
Monzo now offers a gambling blocker service, with customers who wish to cancel their voluntary exclusion required to sit through a 48 hour cooling-off period before it is removed.
Starling Bank also launched an updated blocker in a effort to add “positive friction” to help customers, should they wish to spend less on gambling. Starling customers have been able to block gambling transactions since the start of June.
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