Barclays, the U.K. bank, announced Tuesday (Dec. 11) that customers of its mobile banking app now have the power to prevent spending at certain retailers.
In a press release, Barclays said it was the first for a traditional U.K. bank to offer the service, which is aimed at customers in circumstances that they are financially vulnerable. The feature, said Barclays, could help all customers gain greater control over their spending and make them less at risk to fraud and scams.
“We are always looking for new ways to support our customers and make it easier for them to manage their finances,” Catherine McGrath, managing director at Barclays, said in the press release. “We work with a range of advisors and partners, as well as consulting with our customers, to identify how our customers’ needs are changing and what works for them. 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.”
Based on research Barclays said it has identified a group of customers who can benefit from the feature, such as those with mental health issues, those suffering from addictions and those who rely on caregivers or a guardian to handle their personal finances. The mobile banking app now includes a button that lets customers choose which type of retailers they can spend with. That means any purchases in categories that are turned off won't be approved and will automatically be declined. Customers are able to control spending in five categories including groceries and supermarkets, restaurants, takeout, pubs and bars, gas and diesel, gambling and premium rate websites and phone lines.
Barclays worked with advisors from the Money Advice Trust and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute to identify groups of customers who could benefit from the feature.