3 minutes reading time (509 words)

Barclays launches new techniques to help manage consumer debt

In a bid to help customers curb unhealthy spending habits, Barclays has become the first high street bank in the UK to allow users to turn off spending on gambling websites, as well as in other categories including groceries and supermarkets; restaurants, takeaways, pubs and bars; petrol and diesel; and purchases from premium rate websites and phone lines.

It is available to all those who have a Barclays debit card, and soon will be available to those with credit cards. Although the bank has said that the tool was designed with the protection of vulnerable consumers in mind, it is available to all users.

The Barclays spending blocker will cancel payments made to specific companies and retailers by identifying the merchant category codes. This could help problem gamblers by stopping them accumulating so much debt that they lose their home or further endanger their mental health.

Earlier this year, former gambling addict Danny Cheetham spoke to the BBC about how a spending blocker available on his mobile-only bank helped him recover from a gambling addiction. The Monzo app takes 48 hours to remove a spending block, and can also put a cash-withdrawal limit on users’ accounts. The Monzo CEO, Tom Blomfield, told the BBC that the bank had seen a 70% fall in gambling transactions in the four months after it was launched.

Barclays launched its new tool after facing pressure from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, mental health charities and the money expert Martin Lewis.

The tool can be used in conjunction with the Gambling Commission’s recommended methods for controlling the time and money which consumers spend on gambling, which includes setting limits on gambling machines, setting time-outs on online gambling sites, and asking for self-exclusion from gambling premises and online sites.

It remains to be seen whether a similar tool will be adopted by the other four major big street banks in the UK; HSBC, RBS, Lloyds, and Santander.

Gambling and Debt


The Gambling Commission’s 2017 survey of 4000 adults in Scotland found that:

  • 0.8% of respondents identified as problem gamblers
  • 63% of respondents had spent money on at least one gambling activity in the past year (a fall from 66% in 2016)
  • 46% of respondents had spent money on at least one gambling activity in the past year, excluding those who had only played the national lottery

These results were slightly different from those of the Commission’s survey in England:

  • 1.2% of respondents identified as problem gamblers
  • 56% of respondents had spent money on at least one gambling activity in the past year
  • 42% of respondents had spent money on at least one gambling activity in the past year, excluding those who had only played the national lottery

The Gambling Commission also made clear that the harm arising from gambling can include debt problems, higher levels of physical and mental illness, relationship breakdown and, in some cases, criminality.

Contact us

For first-class legal advice about debt and how to get out of it, get in touch with our debt specialists today via the online enquiry form.

MLM Solutions Appoints New Director, Margo McLenan
Is Personal Debt getting in the way of your life g...

 

Comments

Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Get in Touch


Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Invalid Input
What sector do you fall under?
Invalid Input
I would like to discuss Invalid Input


Invalid Input
  • 08450510210