Barclays switch off spending feature is now available. It is the first high street bank to allow customers to block certain types of spending.
Following the likes of Monzo, the Barclays feature was created with vulnerable consumers in mind, such as those that are struggling with gambling addictions.
However, all Barclay customers can now block their own spending in a number of categories. These include supermarkets, restaurants, pubs and petrol stations.
Barclays worked alongside advisers and charities to identify groups of people who would specifically benefit from being able to decide how and where their money is spent. These include those with mental health issues, addictions. Also those who rely on carers or a guardian to handle their finances.
In June this year, challenger bank Monzo its own ‘switch off’ spending service enabling customers to block themselves from making gambling transactions.
A simple button found within the Barclays mobile app allows customers to pick which types of retailers they are able to spend with. Payments made that fall within the ‘turned off’ categories will automatically be declined.
The Barclays switch off spending feature is now available to all Barclays debit card customers. It will roll out to credit card holders soon.
Managing Director at Barclays, Catherine McGrath, said: “We are always looking for new ways to support our customers and make it easier for them to manage their finances.
“We work with a range of advisors and partners, as well as consulting with our customers, to identify how our customers’ needs are changing and what works for them.
“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.”
Barclays switch off spending categories
While researching the feature, Barclays identified five core retailer groups which customers can control.
The retailer categories are:
1. Groceries and supermarkets
2. Restaurants, takeaways, pubs and bars
3. Petrol and diesel
4. Gambling (to include gambling websites and betting shops)
5. 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).
Barclays has launched other financial safety features such as the ability to set a daily cash machine withdrawal limit.
MoneySavingExpert, founder and chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Martin Lewis, said: “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. I commonly hear from people with thousands of pounds of debt as a result.
“This is one reason why I set up the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity. Its detailed research shows the power of giving people more options for control tools that can add friction to this type of spending.
“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.”
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