The service has been launched in a bid to help vulnerable users, such as those with mental health and gambling problems, take more control of their finances.
It will see debit card users able to block spending at five different different types of retailer.
These are groceries and supermarkets, restaurants, takeaways, pubs and bars, petrol and diesel, gambling websites and betting shops, and spending on premium rate websites and phone lines.
Try to make a payment that falls within a "turned off" category, and it will automatically be declined – whether it's made online, over the phone or using the physical card in stores.
Debit card customers can activate and deactivate any spending bans via Barclay's mobile banking app, using its phone service and in branch – you can't do this via
your online banking.
IS BANKING ON YOUR SMARTPHONE SAFE?
- Download any free security software provided by your bank
- Remote deletion means you can delete any data stored on the phone if you discover it is lost or stolen
- Set up your smart phone to be more secure. Use a PIN or password to lock your phone when you are not using it
- Make sure your phone browser does not automatically input your passwords or usernames for you
- Switch off the Bluetooth function on your mobile when it is not in use. This will stop any unmonitored wireless activity on your phone. You can take this further and avoid accessing your bank accounts from public networks
- Delete any text messages from your bank when no longer needed, so that any information they have sent to you is not sat in your inbox
If you've got a joint account, if you activate or deactivate spending – this will only take force on your card – the other card will be unaffected.
You can only impose the ban on yourself – the only way you can activate it for others is if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney which allows you to manage someone else's finances.
At this stage the function only covers debit cards, but Barclays says it will be added to credit cards in the next few months.
The bank claims to be the first UK high street bank to offer such a feature – although HSBC, Nationwide and Santander told The Sun that this is something they're looking to do in the near future.
RBS told us it doesn't have this functionality at present, while Lloyds Banking Group failed to respond in time for our deadline.
Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert, founder and chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said: “Many with mental health issues struggle to control their spending – whether through gambling, shopping or premium phone lines – and I commonly hear from people with thousands of pounds of debt as a result.
"I want to applaud Barclays for being the first major bank to sit up, take note and act. I believe it will make a real difference to people’s lives and I hope the other banks will follow suit.”
Catherine McGrath, managing director at Barclays added: “This new control feature is the latest new service that we have introduced in the Barclays Mobile Banking app that aims to give all of our customers a better way to manage their money in a simple, secure and effective way.”
Barclays customers can also add accounts from rival banks to their app in a bid to better manage their finances.
But the bank's mobile app has been plagued with glitches in recent months that has left customers locked out of accounts.
HSBC's new app also lets you see all your bank accounts at once – but is it safe?
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