Banks to Give Customers Option to Block Certain Types of Payments to Restrict Spending
January 10, 2019
Several of the UK’s foremost banks are planning to give their customers the option to block certain types of payment in order to help them gain greater control of their spending habits.
Lloyds, RBS and Santander will join Barclays and the digital banking service Monzo in giving their customers tools that could be helpful in significant ways to people who struggle to manage their finances and avoid problems with debt.
It’s expected that large numbers of consumers will start using the new tools in 2019 to stop themselves from spending more money than they’d really want to via gambling websites or retailers of various sorts.
Campaigners including the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute have been calling for consumers to be given more powers to control their spending for some time and feel that the rollout of these options could have a major impact on the lives of many thousands of people.
“These plans for new spending controls – if put in place – could help millions of people across the country to better manage their finances, and to avoid spending or gambling problems,” commented Helen Undy, a director at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.
“In particular, it could make a big difference for people with mental health problems, who are more at risk of impulsive spending and compulsive behaviour.”
Ms Undy also said that she’d like to see banks making it more difficult for individual customers to switch off the blocks on payments to specific companies or websites once they’ve been activated.
“That will help many more people across the UK to avoid the devastation that problem spending and gambling can bring,” she said.
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute campaigns for changes to government policies and regulations that are relevant to personal debts and has highlighted the links that are often found between debt and poor mental health.
The organisation released a piece of research in December that suggested as many as 100,000 people with problem debt in England now attempt suicide on an annual basis.
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