Barclays first major bank to allow users to block payments at pubs and bars

The company has become the first major UK bank to offer spendthrift customers the option to block debit card spending to a variety of different industries.

The bank now offers customers the chance to “turn off” spending with certain types of retailers using their banking app. This service is also provided by new banking companies Monzo and Starling, but had yet to be adopted by one of the more prominent UK banking companies.

Barclays hopes the new feature will help all customers who want to take greater control of where their money is spent, along with customers living in vulnerable circumstances.

Consumers will be able to block spending in five different areas:

  1. Groceries and supermarkets
  2. Restaurants, takeaways, pubs and bars
  3. Petrol and diesel
  4. Gambling (websites and betting shops)
  5. Premium rate websites and phone lines

It is designed to prevent people with serious spending problems in areas like gambling, but will also help those who spend too much on themselves and their friends at the pub.

Catherine McGrath, managing director at Barclays said: “This new control feature is the latest new service that we have introduced in the Barclays Mobile Banking app that aims to give all of our customers a better way to manage their money in a simple, secure and effective way.”

Martin Lewis, founder and chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, an organisation Barclays worked with in coming up with this new feature on their banking app, said: “Mental health and debt is a marriage made in hell. Many with mental health issues struggle to control their spending. I commonly hear from people with thousands of pounds of debt as a result.”

He went on to say their research showed “the power of giving people more options for control tools” has been shown to help people stop spending in areas in which they struggle to limit themselves.

The helpful feature is currently available to Barclays debit card users, but will soon be introduced for credit card users as well.

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