Blocking Merchants


Not sure if this can be done, or will be able to be done in the future, it would be good if you could block certain Merchants from being paid by your debit card, say to stop overspending certain Merchants, say a bar, or even a bookmaker, for example.

You could maybe block them via the app, and unblock them if required, with say, 24 or 48 hours notice (immediate would defeat the purpose).


That could be quite a good idea. For me it would be McDonalds. Or maybe Dominos. Or maybe both…? :open_mouth: But if I was particularly desperate I could always draw cash to get my ‘fix’.

Maybe an alternative approach would be to include a budget by retailer or category, and the associated push notification would warn if you’re getting within a percentage of the budget, or whether you’ve exceeded it….?


This idea seems to fit well with the overall savings targets theme.


Card schemes like Mastercard and Visa use codes for merchants to signify their industry type so perhaps using these codes to prevent card use at say Ladbrooks or Paddy Powers etc?


That would suit me perfectly.

Possibly many others. It might not stop people, as they could withdraw cash, but it would prevent debit card top ups of FOBTs and make it more real, so you are more conscious of what you are spending. You would also be restricted to the cash withdrawal limits.


That is possible, for example Barclays do not allow cards for their under 18 accounts to be used on gambling sites. So the facility is there, and a good idea to use.


I love this idea. It would be good to keep track of how much money is being spent on one particular merchant, i.e. a bar, or your morning coffee etc…


Amazon. Definitely need some blocking action! :joy:


Assuming most people usually have some degree of self-control, I’m wondering whether many of these undesirable purchases are taking place under the affluence of incahol? :smiley:

Maybe we need a breathalyzer peripheral for our phones that connects to Starling to prevent the aforementioned rogue transactions. :grin: I’ve bought so much tat from Amazon after a night out…


Bookmakers are always close to pubs. Maybe you have sussed it.


Thanks all - I’ve noted these suggestions! I’m interested to see why you’d find this useful? If you could just unblock it from the app, it might not be that good at stopping you if you get a real craving for a Big Mac (happens to the best of us :hamburger:). Maybe useful for security though?


And they pay well to ensure they get leases on those properties too. I used to work in a major High Street bookmaker, and whilst I do think people need to be more “money-smart”, these bookies are absolutely a scourge on society.


Hi James.

For me, it is bookmakers. I am probably not the only one who has used my card way too often to top up FOBTs, which are very addictive machines for some. Blocking me using my card in my local bookie would be a tool to help do so less.


There is an element of self responsibility. Ultimately I made a choice.

Most people are fine, which is why I don’t think such machines should be banned, but bookies’ responsible gambling policy is just lip service. They do not actually refuse you, unlike pubs to someone who drinks too much


Sorry, that was in absolutely no way a go at you! I’ve seen first hand the destruction (particularly the FOTBs) that bookies cause… It’s sole-destroying standing watching someone chase and chase, just to get back to an even keel, which rarely ever happens.

I’m all for self-exclusion, to go slightly off-topic (and tell me to p*ss off if you like) but have you tried that route?

Absolutey agree on the lip service, it’s a joke. And with FOTBs now making up upto 70% of their revenues, and the ability for their punter to load (and lose) 100s at any one time, there’s no way in hell they’re going to do anything more than pay lip service, if they can get away with it!

Best of luck kicking it, I’m sure you will!


I know it wasn’t. Sorry if I made you think it was.

I have done that. It can help. It is only voluntary though, on the part of both parties.

I am actually OK at the moment, but past escapades haven’t been. I know there are others even worse than I was.

Anyway, I do think it would benefit people if you could block your cards from Merchants.

For me, it is bookies. Others may have different weaknesses


I think the ability to block merchants by category would be really good - especially things such as online gambling.

It would be best if as others have said it was something we could request support actions so it can’t be undone without a waiting period and takes more than a click of a button.

You could generate some very positive publicity around this as many banks decline to help with blocking of gambling. As said above, this is coded specifically by Visa / Mastercard so should be something you can block.

Going beyond this to fast food etc is tricker - I’d almost see that as a separate desire - have the ability to block gambling via support request and then separately allow app users to block a merchant for a period of time