Barclays UK customers will have to wait up to 72 hours before reactivating their debit cards to play. In 2018, the UK bank became the first to allow its mobile banking customers to switch off card spending in a series of activities such as gambling in any of its forms (bookmakers, casinos, games of online gambling, racetracks and lotteries).

While this is happening in Britain, Australia during the pandemic has seen an unusual increase in card lock registrations.

To undo its decision to block debit card use, Barclays customers will have to wait 72 hours before being authorized again, PA Media reported this week. In the following weeks this functionality will also be added to the bank’s mobile application.

The new feature introduced by the bank stemmed from feedback from some customers who were looking to get “a real pause to think and help when they are tempted to get back to gambling,” Barclays Managing Director Sian McIntyre revealed.

Before Barclays introduced this gambling exclusion system, the Monzo mobile bankers had already done it. Six months before other larger banks like Lloyd, Starling Bank and HSBC followed suit.

A recent study published by the charity GambleAware suggested that given the effectiveness of card locking systems, banks should apply more friction to customers before lifting unlocking orders. According to the study, the unlocking period had to be at least 48 hours and at the request of the customers.

According to figures from Barclays, the bank’s clients had disconnected access to their accounts to play more than 570 thousand times after the function was introduced in december 2018. And some 187 thousand requests occurred after the blockade ordered in the United Kingdom by the coronavirus pandemic.

Something similar happened in Australia where the number of applications has been impressive. This was evidenced by the National Australia Bank (NAB) upon receiving thousands of requests to block gambling payments since december 2019. The bank executive Rachel Slade revealed last week that since then this restriction has been activated for more than 50 thousand credit and debit cards.

The NAB initially added the lockout feature to its iOS app and in february some 10,000 Apple users proceeded to disable gaming payments. The bank added this functionality to its Android app this month as well.

When NAB customers want to reverse the gambling lock, they must wait 48 hours for the bank to give them permission. The delay allows players to think better of it before making a final decision.


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