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Starling Bank may strengthen gambling self-exclusion blocker

| By iGB Editorial Team
Customers call on bank to make it harder to disable feature

Starling Bank is considering making its voluntary gambling transaction blocker more difficult to disable following customer feedback submitted since it introduced the facility last month.

The digital, mobile-only challenger bank launched the blocker last month, explaining it wanted to add “positive” friction to help customers should they wish to spend less on gambling.

Since the middle of June, Starling customers have been able to block gambling transactions. Under the Security section of its app, customers can toggle a ‘block for transactions made at gambling establishments’. Once they have selected this, they are sent a message to confirm that the block is in place.

While Starling cannot reveal how many customers have adopted the feature, it said the only negative feedback “centred on the fact that it's relatively easy to disable the gambling blocker”.

A spokesperson told iGamingBusiness.com: “Some users wanted us to make it harder to turn the blocker off – some asked for a 24 or 48 hour delay on turning the blocker off.  We always aim to be responsive to customer needs, so we will consider whether to do this and, if so, how best to do it.

“Our thinking is that if it helped just one person to handle their gambling issues, then it would have been worth it. Of course, we hoped it would help a lot more.”

Another challenger bank, Monzo, also introduced a gambling blocker service last month. Monzo forces those who wish to cancel their voluntary exclusion to a cooling off period of 48 hours before it is removed.

Monzo explained it is able to identify gambling transactions by codes that accompany payments.

Starling said that while it did not consult with the gambling industry, it did have dialogue with GambleAware, GamCare and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute before introducing the blocker.

The spokesperson said: “All were very supportive. The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute had been calling for some time for banks and other card providers to allow customers to block gambling transactions on their cards.

“Their concerns were linked to the significant problems related to gambling addiction in the UK.”

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