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UK – Barclays introduces 72 hour delay to gambling block feature

By - 16 September 2020

Barclays has added a ‘cooling off’ time delay to its gambling block feature to further support customers looking for additional control over their spending on gambling sites, apps or in venues.

The new enhancement means that customers will have to wait 72 hours before they can make gambling payments, during which time any attempted transactions will be automatically declined.

Barclays is the first UK high-street bank to introduce a ‘cooling off’ period of this length and is being introduced after listening to feedback from customers, which revealed the positive impact of a 72 hour delay before gambling transactions are allowed on their account.

After first introducing the option to turn off spend on gambling transactions back in December 2018, Barclays gambling control feature has been used over 570,000 times to give customers added control over their spending.

Sian McIntyre, Managing Director at Barclays said: “We are always looking for new ways to support our customers and make it easier for them to manage their finances.

“Customer feedback on our gambling control showed us there was more we could do to help and we’ve worked closely with them to design the solution. Our customers have told us this 72 hour time delay gives them a real pause for thought and helps when they are tempted to return to gambling.”

Anna Hemmings, Chief Executive of GamCare, commented: “The ability to block gambling transactions through your bank card or app is incredibly helpful to those struggling to control their gambling, and is ideally used together with other practical tools such as self-exclusion, blocking software, and specialist support and treatment around the issue.

A recent report from the University of Bristol Personal Finance Research Centre has also highlighted that ‘positive friction’ such as a cooling off period can be even more helpful for users, as this gives time for reflection. GamCare is pleased to see Barclays take this positive step to support their customers and we hope more of the financial sector follows suit.”

Katie Alpin, Interim Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, added: “We’ve long campaigned for banks to offer customers gambling blocks with a ‘cooling off’ period, as this can make a huge difference in helping people stay in control of gambling and avoid serious financial problems. We’re delighted that Barclays has taken this step and hope that other banks will follow suit.”

To use it, customers need to go into the Cards section of their app where they will find the gambling block within the merchant control section. When gambling is turned off, if it is turned back on again, a pop up will appear reminding customers that if they choose to turn on this spend type, they will have to wait 72 hours before they can make payments. This feature can also be accessed via telephone banking and in branch.

Customers can also use other tools to control their spending, such as setting a spending limit for a single transaction, cash withdrawal limits and temporarily freezing their card when they feel like their spending is getting out of control.

Customers will be able to access the new time delay feature over the coming weeks.

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