Barclays in the news: charities praise new Barclays service

12 December 2018

Barclays has become the first high street bank in the UK to offer vulnerable customers the option to switch off certain types of spending on their debit cards – in a move supported by charities. 

Charities have welcomed the news that Barclays has become the first UK high street bank to offer customers the option of switching off certain types of spending on their debit cards.

The service – which has been created to help vulnerable customers, including those with spending problems caused by mental health issues and gambling addictions – was created after consulting with a range of advisors, including the Money Advice Trust and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. 

The bank has identified five specific retail groups – including gambling, restaurants and pubs and premium sites – which customers can now switch off using a simple button on their online banking app, the Guardian reported. Once customers block one of these categories, all payments to those retailers will be declined on their card.

Martin Lewis, Founder of MoneySavingExpert and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, 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 – and I commonly hear from people with thousands of pounds of debt as a result.”

Mark Etches, Chief Executive of GambleAware, said: “GambleAware welcomes this initiative by Barclays, which we hope will encourage other banks to do the same. 

The turn-off function within the Barclays banking app

“There are 340,000 problem gamblers in Britain and a further 1.7 million at risk, and initiatives like this can play an important role in helping to reduce gambling-related harms.”

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