The number of customers using the gambling block mechanism offered by the British online bank Monzo has more than doubled over the past year.
Monzo Bank was the first to introduce the gambling transactions block function in June 2018 as part of some efforts to help its customers better control their gambling habits. However, the number of users who have taken advantage of the feature remains relatively small.
At the time when the bank launched the feature, it explained that it is able to identify when a gambling transaction is being made by codes that accompany payments. The special feature provides the bank’s customers with the chance to exclude themselves from making gambling transactions. It also includes a 48-hour “cooling-off” period before users of Monzo’s application are allowed to disable it.
The digital bank revealed that to date, only 222,993 of Monzo’s customers, who represent approximately 5% of the bank’s overall customer base, have switched on the gambling block available in the mobile application of the financial establishment. Furthermore, Monzo Bank revealed that 8% of its customers, who enabled the gambling transactions blocking option disable the block at a later stage.
This means the feature was switched on by a monthly average of 2,314 customers so far in 2020, with the number of new users who took advantage of the gambling block rose to 17,474 in August 2019.
Gambling Transactions Blocking Mechanism Launched by Monzo Bank in June 2018
Monzo was the first bank in the UK to announce the launch of the gambling block in June 2018. At the time, thanks to a research held by the country’s largest gambling charity, GambleAware, it estimated that approximately 5,000 of its customers would be identified as gambling addicts. The launch of the new feature followed its rival digital bank Starling’s decision to roll out a similar feature later in the same month. Since then, other banks, including some of the British high-street giants HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland have followed suit.
When activated, the feature allows users to block their money transactions to gambling operators, both in-person and online, and to impose limits on cash withdrawals. As mentioned above, in case a customer is willing to turn off the blocking feature, they are required to first go through a 48-hour cooling-off period and to address the customer support team on the matter.
At the time when the digital bank first announced the implementation of the gambling transaction block feature, Monzo revealed that the move was part of a wider initiative aimed at helping customers who are more vulnerable to suffering financial debt. According to reports, about 80% of individuals who seek help for their problem gambling behaviour are also in debt.