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Monzo and TrueLayer team up to launch industry-wide gambling block

The pilot scheme will block gambling payments and card transactions to any operator supported by TrueLayer.

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

The two fintechs have launched a pilot scheme using open banking to block gambling payments and card transactions to operators supported by TrueLayer, with the hope that other players in the industry will follow suit.

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

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

In a blog posted this morning, Matthew Parish, product manager at TrueLayer and Albert Cabre Juan, open banking lead at Monzo, wrote: “Open banking providers offer a unique opportunity to help gambling operators seamlessly support those experiencing gambling harms - and empower consumers to stay in control of their finances.”

“Initiatives like affordability checks to flag at-risk players earlier, spending limits to help ensure players do not overextend themselves, and friction-free identity checks can all be improved using open banking.”

According to the fintech dream team, the new function was built by Monzo and TrueLayer engineers in just a matter of days.

The blog post continued: “By enabling the right types of protections for all players, gambling can remain a purely social activity, rather than one with life-altering negative effects.”

The latest update to Monzo’s app comes after the digital bank called on the government to ensure everyone has access to gambling blocks, co-authoring a petition asking for gambling blocks to be made the norm. 

To date, more than 275,000 Monzo customers have activated the gambling block and less than 10 per cent have ever switched it off permanently.  

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

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

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