Barclays has become the first high street bank to give customers the ability to ‘switch off’ certain areas of problem spending, such as gambling and premium rate numbers.
The new tool will be available to customers who use the Barclays Mobile Banking app – which is linked directly to their debit card – and is designed to help customers manage their money better.
The idea behind the development is to help vulnerable customers, including those who suffer from mental health issues, such as addiction, as well as those who rely on their carers or a guardian to look after their finances.
Taking control: This is what will appear on Barclays customer’s mobile banking app
Not only is the new feature designed to help customers manage their money, it is also thought it will help reduce the risk of fraud and scams.
Other safety features introduced for Barclays debit card holders over the past year include the ability to set a daily cash machine withdrawal limit as well as turning off the ability to make purchases online and via the phone.
The new tool is now available to all Barclays debit card customers and will be rolled out to credit card holders in the near future.
Chris Fitch, vulnerability lead at the Money Advice Trust, said: ‘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.’
Although it is the first high street bank to offer such a service, challenger banks such as Starling and Monzo have already tested out similar tools on their platforms.
Both banks offer the feature to their current account holders and both are banks in which customer’s accounts are operated by a mobile phone app.
Starling users opt in to the feature within their app and while it’s switched on, every time they try to use their card with a registered gambling merchant, it will be declined.
Monzo, however, allows its customers to block gambling transactions at any time through the app or, alternatively, by contacting their customer service team through its in-app chat feature.