One per cent of the UK population reports having a gambling problem, in response to the issue Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has been calling for banks and other card providers to make the situation easier by allowing customers to simply block all gambling transactions on their cards.
Starling Bank has heeded this call to action and taken the innovative step to support their customers living with addiction by enabling them to block betting payments from their account. As it stands, if someone with a gambling addiction wants to put barriers in place to prevent them from placing bets they must contact various providers to implement those measures.
Opting-In & Opting-Out
The bank now offers these customers the option to activate its blocking function as an opt-in feature from the bank’s app. After activating the block, if the customer attempts to make a transaction to a registered gambling merchant it will automatically be declined.
If they decide to turn the feature off because they want to start gambling again, customers will get a message saying: “You are cancelling the block you put in place to prevent you from gambling. If you are worried you spend more than you should on gambling, call the National Gambling Helpline now on 0808 8030 133 for free advice on how to stay in control.”
Digital mobile-only bank Monzo has a similar system in place but it requires customers wishing to disable the block to call the bank in person and speak to a representative. Even then, the restrictions are not lifted for 48 hours.
Anne Boden, CEO, Starling, says:
“Starling’s gambling blocker underlines how digital banking can quickly react to issues facing customers and use technology to develop solutions that help them to live a better financial life.”
“This isn’t about telling customers not to gamble – it’s about providing problem gamblers with a simple and effective tool that can help them to regain control over their finances.”