Barclays has introduced a cooling off time delay to its gambling block feature, designed to provide further support to those individuals who are seeking additional control over their spending on gambling sites and apps or in venues.

As a result, customers accessing the feature would have to wait 72 hours before they can make gambling payments, during which time any attempted transactions will be automatically declined.

Lauded as being “the first UK high-street bank to introduce a cooling off period of this length,” the enhancement comes as a result of customer feedback. The new time delay feature will be accessible over the coming weeks.

Anna Hemmings, chief executive of GamCare, said of the development: “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.”

To access the cooling off block, customers need to go into the cards section of their app where they will find the gambling block within the merchant control section. 

Upon switching gambling back on, 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.

Sian McIntyre, managing director at Barclays, commented: “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.”

After first introducing the option to turn off spending on gambling transactions in December 2018, Barclays’ gambling control feature has been used over 570,000 times.