Monzo calls for mandatory gambling blocks on bank accounts
According to Monzo, about 2 million people in the UK experience harm caused by gambling such as getting into debt, losing your job, and falling out with family and friends.
It says gambling blocks are a powerful way that problem gamblers can get their gambling under control.
A gambling block allows you to block your bank account or bank card from being used for gambling transactions.
It has been illegal to use a credit card to gamble in the UK since April 2020.
Problem gamblers often install gambling blocks when they are trying to stop or reduce their gambling – having a block in place can stop them giving into temptation in the future. Blocks can be removed but there is usually a cooling off period of 24 or 48 hours.
According to research by the University of Bristol, 50% of people who turned on a gambling block had spent less or no money on gambling since.
Monzo launched its gambling block in April 2018 and says it’s used by more than 275,000 people. The bank blocks up to 585,000 gambling transactions a month – this equates to one or two attempted gambling transactions for every person who uses it.
Other banks which offer the facility to block some gambling transactions include Halifax, Natwest, Lloyds and RBS. However, 40% of UK current accounts don’t let you block gambling.
Monzo is calling on the government to make sure everyone can access a gambling block.
Together with researchers, charities and other organisations, the bank has sent an open letter to the government.
The letter asks the government to: “Introduce a new requirement for account providers in the UK to make sure every consumer can access a friction driven, card-based gambling block – regardless of who they bank with.”
Under Monzo’s proposals, gambling companies would also be made to hand over their own bank account details, which could be stored on a central registry. This would help banks block all forms of payment for customers who want the feature, preventing them from using other means to circumvent card blocks.