Three more UK high-street banks are to allow customers to control and block specific types of payments via mobile applications, following Barclays’ lead.
Lloyds, Santander and RBS have reportedly approved proposals to develop payment-blocking functions relating to retail and online betting transactions.
The move comes after Barclays confirmed in December its plan to integrate a “gambling block” component into its customer-facing digital platforms.
The trio will follow suit by updating mobile banking apps to ensure customers can control when and where money can be spent.
RBS, which has around 30 million customers, said it would be implementing similar measures to those issued by Barclays late last year.
The Barclays tool means customers can turn off in-app engagements with all gambling-related properties, as well as blocking payments in four further categories: food and drink; petrol stations; groceries and supermarkets; and premium websites and phone lines.
Customers will also be able to implement controls to limit withdrawals from ATMs, as well as credit card purchases both in-store and online. Santander and Lloyds are also due to implement similar controls for their respective 14 million and 22 million customers.
A spokesman for Lloyds said: “Throughout 2019 we will be enhancing our customer communications so customers are informed and alerted to their gambling spend, as well as introducing tools to improve self-service options such as gambling restrictions.
“New card controls give customers more control over debit card transactions for extra peace of mind.”
Following Barclays’ announcement to develop blocking functions late last year, Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware, welcomed the initiative: “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.
“There are no limits to stakes and prizes for online gambling, and credit cards are allowed so it is important to make it easier for people to control their spending.”
Despite the moves from leading banks, responsible gambling advocates continue to campaign for a significantly longer “cooling off” period between deactivating a payment block and the ability to complete transactions.