Customers of Barclays can now ‘switch off’ debit card spending at certain categories of retailer.
The bank says it has introduced the feature with vulnerable customers in mind, allowing those with mental health problems or addictions to prevent spending at certain kinds of outlets, such as betting shops or pubs.
The bank says it could also be helpful for people with carers and guardians who handle their finances.
The bank has created five categories of retailer where customers can choose to block spending:
- Groceries and supermarkets
- Restaurants, takeaways, pubs and bars
- Petrol and diesel
- Gambling (to include gambling websites and betting shops)
- Premium rate websites and phone lines (to include: 0870 numbers, mostly used for sales calls; 09 numbers, used for live entertainment, competitions, TV voting and adult lines; and 118 numbers, including directory enquiries. This blocks the purchases made from these services, not the numbers themselves)
The bank says it has introduced other control measures for customers recently, including daily cash machine withdrawal limits and control on online and phone purchases.
In-app functionality. Source: Barclays Bank, 11 December 2018.
Chris Fitch, vulnerability lead at the Money Advice Trust, who worked alongside Barclays in development of the new feature, comments: “Technology that meets everyday banking needs, while recognising the challenges many of us face in our lives, is the way forward.
“Giving everyone more control is the key to achieving this – whether this is someone who wants to be less vulnerable to fraud, or a customer who is trying to take charge of their gambling.”
Barclays is the first ‘big’ bank to introduce such interactive spending controls on its debit cards.
However, other challenger banks such as Monzo and Starling already have controls in their apps for spending on gambling.
Starling Bank has the functionality to block card spending at specific shops, not just categories of retailer.
Barclays says the feature will now be available to all debit card customers, with credit card customers to be given the feature at a later date.