223,000 customers activate Monzo gambling block

Digital bank Monzo has revealed that 223,000 of its customers have activated its gambling block feature, with the number of users having more than doubled in the past year.

Reported on AltFi, the digital bank confirmed that approximately 5% of its total customer base had activated the gambling block feature which allows users to stop transactions to bookmakers, both in-person and online, in addition to limiting cash withdrawals.

This year, an average of 2,314 people each week have activated the feature for the first time. The bank also stated that approximately eight percent of customers which activated the feature for the first time later disabled it.

August 2019 saw the greatest increase in customers signing up to the feature, with 17,474 bankers activating the gambling block. The bank attributed the increase to heightened media coverage.

In order to disable the feature, customers must undergo a 48-hour cooling off period, as well as discussing their decision with the customer support team.

Following the introduction of the feature, Monzo – in collaboration with GambleAware – predicted that roughly 5,000 of its users would be identified as problem gamblers. The digital bank emphasised that the feature formed part of a wider initiative to support its customers affected by financial trouble.

This July, GambleAware published sanctioned research by the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC), stating that approximately 60% of UK current accounts were covered by blocking services.

Despite strong take-up from banks in providing blocking services, GambleAware stated that it had observed numerous flaws in how the applications had been built, labelling safeguards as ‘more like a light switch than a lock’.

Following its study , GambleAware has provided UK Finance with a blueprint to provide to banking incumbents, detailing how to ensure that vulnerable consumers do not engage with gambling services.

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