Digital banking

The pilot project blocks gambling payments and card transactions to all operators supported by TrueLayer.

Image source: Aidan Howe / Unsplash

Two and a half years after Monzo became the first bank to introduce a gambling block, the digital bank teamed up with TrueLayer to create an industry-wide open gambling block for banks.

The two fintechs have launched a pilot that uses open banking to block gambling payments and card transactions to TrueLayer-supported operators in the hopes that other players in the industry will follow suit.

When enabled, users can stop transactions with bookmakers both in person and online and restrict cash withdrawals.

If a customer wants to turn the feature off, they have to go through a 48 hour cooling off period and even speak to someone on the customer support team. The additional friction is intended to deter problem customers.

On a blog posted this morning, Matthew Parish, Product Manager at TrueLayer and Albert Cabre Juan, Open Banking Director at Monzo, wrote, “Open banking providers offer a unique opportunity to help gaming providers seamlessly target those who experience gaming damage support – and empower consumers to stay in control of their finances. “

“Initiatives like affordability checks to flag vulnerable players earlier, spending restrictions to ensure players don’t overexert themselves, and smooth identity checks can all be enhanced with open banking.”

According to the Fintech Dream Team, the new function was developed by the engineers at Monzo and TrueLayer within a few days.

The blog post continued, “By enabling the right levels of protection for all gamers, gambling can remain a purely social activity and not one with life-changing negative effects.”

The latest update to Monzo’s app comes after the digital bank asked the government to ensure everyone has access to gambling blocks and co-authorizes a petition calling for gambling blocks to be made the norm.

So far, more than 275,000 Monzo customers have activated the gambling block and less than 10 percent have ever switched it off permanently.

In 2020 alone, an average of 2,314 people per week activated the gambling block for the first time.

One year after its inception, Natalie Ledward, a vulnerable customer analyst at Monzo and the Monzo-author in charge of the gambling block, joined Which? Awards 2019.

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