Barclays Helps Mobile Banking Customers Stop Gambling and Drinking

A first for a high street bank in the UK, Barclays now allows its customers to block payments with certain types of retailers. From Tuesday, the bank’s mobile app will allow those who struggle to control their spending to ‘turn off’ payments to certain categories. A button in the app will allow customers to select which retailers they are able to spend with and if payments are then attempted to any retailers within a ‘turned off’ category, they will be automatically declined. Could this be the answer for gambling addicts, alcoholics, and others who suffer from poor impulse control?

The feature is available to all Barclays debit card customers and will be rolled out to credit card customers soon. If you find yourself indulging in unhealthy retail therapy during a shopping spree, or tend to overspend on a night out, this feature could help you keep your spending in check. Customers can control their spending by turning off payments to groceries and supermarkets, restaurants, takeaways, pubs & bars, petrol and diesel, and premium rate websites and phone lines.

While it may seem amusing at first, this feature serves an important purpose. It was developed in conjunction with the Money Advice Trust, and used research from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. Barclays believes that the service could be of help to those who have serious mental health issues and addictions, as well as those who rely on carers or a guardian to take care of their money matters for them. Mental health and debt can often go hand in hand, with serious mental medical conditions causing spending that can get out of control and create a debt problem that can be difficult to solve.

This new feature could help curb excessive spending and reduce debt for vulnerable individuals. Will other banks and financial institutions soon follow suit?


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