Barclays Bank has become the first high street bank to allow its customers to ‘Switch Off’ certain types of spending on their debit cards. The move is likely to help vulnerable customers, particularly problem gamblers or those in debt.
The facility is known as merchant control and allows account holders to block their own spending in a number of categories and in those is online gambling. The move comes after pressure from gambling charities and money experts such as Martin Lewis and gives customers of the bank much more control over their own spending.
The idea was welcomed by Andy Gray a former gambler from the West Midlands who blew £100,000 in a single year on online gambling and intends on using the function to ensure he continues to stay away from online gambling.
Although most people use casinos and gamble online without any issues, for a small number of people gambling is a problem and this facility is perfect for helping those.
How does it work?
Customers who want to restrict their spending can go into the app, or in branch and use to tool to disallow certain spending categories. These vary from online gambling to calling premium rate numbers, spending money in bars and restaurants and even supermarket spending.
It’s not know yet whether other banks intend on following suit. Monzo created a similar tool earlier this year and say it has so far been a success.
The move has also been welcomed by many charities who hope this level of control will make a real difference to people’s lives.