Barclays has now become the first high street bank to enable its customers to “turn off” soem of the types of spending in an attempt to give those with spending addiction better control over their money.
The customers will now be able to block payments to retailers that includes betting shops, gambling websites, and pubs with the use of a button in the mobile app of the bank.
Barclays created the new tool with vulnerable customers in mind, however, it hopes that the feature will help all its customers take greater control over their finances.
The customers will also be able to block their spending in restaurants, supermarkets, petrol stations, and on premium rate phone lines and websites.
Any attempted payments that the users have “turned off” will be declined automatically.
The managing director at Barclays, Catherine McGrath, stated: “We are always looking for new ways to support our customers and make it easier for them to manage their finances.”
She added: “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.”
The new feature is now made available to the users of the Barclays debit card. The banks has plans for it to be rolled out to the holders of its credit card in the near future. It has been launched after the pressure from charities and money experts.
The founder and chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Martin Lewis, stated: “Mental health and debt is a marriage made in hell. Many with mental health issues struggle to control their spending – whether through gambling, shopping or premium phone lines.”
He added: “I want to applaud Barclays for being the first major bank to sit up, take note and act. I believe it will make a real difference to people’s lives and I hope the other banks will follow suit.”
While Barclays is considered as the first high street bank to launch the initiative, similar tools have previously been launched by digital-only banks such as Monzo and Starling.
Earlier in 2018, Barclays also allowed its debit card holders to set a daily cash withdrawal limit and turn off their ability to make purchases over the phone and online.