Barclays has become the first High Street bank to allow its customers to “switch off” certain categories of spending.
The bank is hoping this will get customers used to handing over their money with no expectation of ever seeing it again. Similar to the scheme Northern Rock very successfully trialled back in 2008, several high street banks have already registered as charities in anticipation of customers turning off all types of spending.
The original idea was to help vulnerable customers, particularly problem gamblers, or those in serious debt.
However, a number of customers – primarily men – have chosen to switch off other types of spending such as spending time with their wife and kids or spending a penny so they can get a good night’s sleep.
All account holders can now block their own spending in a number of categories, including supermarkets, restaurants, pubs and petrol stations.
The scheme has been welcomed by PSA (Petrol Stationaholics Anonymous).
In a statement they said, “Petrol Station addiction destroys thousands of lives every year. One of our members lost his house after stockpiling cans of diesel he didn’t need. Another is suffering from depression caused by massive wine gum-related debt.”
Customers who want to switch off any categories of spend can do so via the Barclays app.
Unfortunately there are early indications that less tech-savvy customers will experience problems, with several already accidentally turning off ‘groceries and supermarkets’ and having to subsist instead on expensive restaurant meals.
Barclays’ idea has also been welcomed by the Money Advice Trust.
They said, “People are essentially too stupid to have money and the sooner they have absolutely no control over how their cash is spent the better.”