Nearly 223,000 customers have activated their Monzo gambling block

By Aisling Finn on Wednesday 22 July 2020

Digital Banking

The number of customers using the block has more than doubled in the past year.

Nearly 223,000 customers have activated their Monzo gambling block
Image source: Aidan Howe/Unsplash

Monzo first introduced its gambling block function over two years ago in June 2018. 

To date, just shy of 223,000 customers, or roughly five per cent of Monzo’s total customer base, have enabled the gambling block in the Monzo app, the digital bank told AltFi. 

Meanwhile, just eight per cent of customers who activated the block later disabled the feature. 

When the digital bank first announced the introduction of the gambling block, it estimated that roughly 5,000 of its users would be identified as problem gamblers, under research from industry body GambleAware. 

The block, when activated, lets users stop transactions to bookmakers, both in-person and online, and limits on cash withdrawals. 

If a customer wants to turn off the function, they have to first go through a 48-hour cooling off period and even have to speak to someone in the customer support team, with the added friction hoping to deter problem customers. 

When it was first announced, Monzo said the block was part of a wider initiative to help its customers who are vulnerable to financial debt, with roughly 80 per cent of people seeking help for a gambling addiction also reported being in debt. 

A year after its inception, Natalie Ledward, a vulnerable customer analyst at Monzo and the Monzonaut responsible for the block, was named ‘Your Consumer Champion’ at the Which? Awards 2019. 

In 2020 alone, an average of 2,314 people every week have turned on the gambling block for the first time. 

The highest number of customers turning on the gambling block for the first time in any month was 17,474 in August 2019, a figure that Monzo puts down to heightened press coverage of the feature. 

As more and more people face financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic, Monzo’s gambling block could be a welcome feature for the most financially vulnerable Monzo users. 

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