Starling Bank adds 48-hour delay to gambling block

31 March 2020

UK-based mobile-focused bank Starling Bank has strengthened its gambling block by adding a 48-hour delay for customers before gambling payments will be reactivated.

This means that if players wish to disable the block, transactions to gambling sites will only be restored after a 48-hour “cooling-off period”, which is intended to stop players from making impulsive decisions.

Starling said the delay cannot be overridden by speaking to customer services or redownloading the Starling app. Customers will be told about the 48-hour delay when they first deactivate gambling and betting payments.

In addition, the bank said it will add gambling as a new category when tracking spending habits so that customers can see how much they spend on gambling. This change will be introduced in an upcoming update to Starling’s app.

The bank first introduced the block - which allows customers to block transactions from all merchants with a gaming licence - in June 2018 after receiving a suggestion from recovered gambler Tony Franklin. The bank said that currently 17% of customers have activated the block.

“Whether gambling is an ongoing problem for you or if it’s just something you do occasionally but want to stop completely, the gambling block is a simple tool to help you with that financial goal,” the bank said.

This move created a ripple effect through the UK banking industry, with Monzo, Barclays, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, MBNA, NatWest and HSBC all introducing gambling blocking features.

However, within a month of introducing the block, a Starling spokesperson told iGB that the bank was looking to make it more difficult to turn the block off.