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Barclays' move to let customers block payments to bars and supermarkets welcomed by Christian charity
A Christian debt counselling charity has welcomed Barclays becoming the first major bank in Britain to let customers block chosen retailers on debit cards.
The feature on the app aims to help people struggling with addictions.
Rachel Gregory, Social Policy and Relationship Manager at Christians Against Poverty told Premier: "I think this is a really exciting step that we're seeing from Barclays.
"I think this will make a really huge difference for people whose spending is driven by addiction."
The new feature could help those dealing with gambling problems, for example, to cut off their spending in betting shops and on gambling websites.
People can also curb their own spending in pubs, supermarkets, takeaway shops and bars.
Barclays said it has developed the tool to turn off certain types of spending with vulnerable customers in mind.
A button within the Barclays mobile banking app enables customers to choose which types of retailers they are able to spend with.
Attempted payments that fall within the "turned off" category will be automatically declined.
Gregory said non-addicts could also benefit from the new tool.
"This isn't that same as some of the budgeting tools that are coming out of new technology innovation in the financial sector which are all about helping you set limits and be aware of what spending you're doing," she explained.
The new feature is now available to all Barclays debit card customers and will be rolled out to credit card holders in the near future.
Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, also responded positively to the new app.
He said: "Using technology for good must be a priority for all businesses.
"I support this move from Barclays that can help people protect themselves from the risk of gambling-related harm.
"This is an area where both industry and Government have important roles to play.
"I urge others in the banking sector to follow suit."
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