Money and Mental Health response to Barclays’ announcement on gambling blocks

11 December 2018


Today Barclays has become the UK’s first high street bank to give its customers the power to block gambling transactions and other retail payments using their debit cards. The announcement follows a concerted campaign by Money and Mental Health to improve the support available to people struggling with mental health problems and gambling, which has already seen digital banks Monzo and Starling launch similar tools.

Customers using the Barclays mobile banking app will now be able to ‘turn off’ payments for five different categories of spending, including gambling websites and betting shops. This is designed to give people greater control over their spending, helping to minimise the risk of harm associated with problem gambling.


In response, Martin Lewis, Founder and Chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute said“Mental health and debt is a marriage made in hell. Many with mental health issues struggle to control their spending – whether through gambling, shopping or premium phone lines – and I commonly hear from people with thousands of pounds of debt as a result. This is one reason why I set up the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity – and its detailed research shows the power of giving people more options for control tools that can add friction to this type of spending.

“I want to applaud Barclays for being the first major bank to sit up, take note and act. I believe it will make a real difference to people’s lives and I hope the other banks will follow suit.”




To find about more the links between mental health problems and gambling visit:


Brian Semple, Head of External Affairs,0207 848 1448, [email protected] for all media enquiries including interviews with spokespeople.


Notes to Editors

About Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in spring 2016, registered charity number 1166493.
  • It conducts research and develops policies for essential services firms, regulators, the health service and government to help people with mental health problems protect themselves from financial difficulties and get out of debt.
  • Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is an award-winning campaigning broadcaster, newspaper columnist and author. He founded in 2003 for £100 and remains its full-time Editor-in-Chief. It is now the UK’s biggest money site, with more than 14 million monthly users. Martin has his own prime-time ITV programme – The Martin Lewis Money Show – and is resident expert on This Morning, Good Morning Britain and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Consumer Panel, among others.