Monzo is increasing the gambling block to incorporate funds through open banking

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Monzo is strengthening its mission to help customers struggling with gambling addiction and is working with TrueLayer to expand the block to open banking-enabled payments.

Monzo was the first bank to launch a gambling block in June 2018, with which more than 275,000 customers have so far stopped card transactions on gaming dealer accounts.

Other banks have since copied the move, which blocks card payments for certain “merchant category codes” assigned by card systems. These codes tell the bank what type of business their customer is trying to pay for before sending their money.

However, the codes only apply to card payments – not to payments with open banking.

As part of the new initiative, TrueLayer Monzo will automatically notify Monzo via an extended API call whenever its customer tries to make an Open Banking transfer to a specific gambling company. This additional data access allows Monzo to suspend payment on behalf of customers when their game block is activated.

"This is a relatively simple change that Monzo and TrueLayer engineers could make in a matter of days," says the bank. "But it could make a world of difference for those struggling with gambling addiction."

The launch of the new tool follows the publication of an open letter from Monzo boss TS Anil earlier this week calling on the UK government to mandate the use of gambling access blocks on all UK bank accounts.