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  • Writer's pictureMagdalena Gołębiewska

The bank that likes to say no to bad habits (gambling, fast food, alcohol, cigarettes - stop!)

Monzo chief executive Tom Blomfield, says self-administered ‘blocks’ could prevent people buying alcohol and cigarettes

It’s almost inevitable that best-laid plans go awry, from avoiding fast food to resisting a Tuesday night bottle of wine or a sneaky cigarette on a night out. But technology could soon be set to intervene and protect us from our worst impulses – via the bank.

The chief executive of Monzo, one of a raft of new digital banks that has changed the way the younger generation handles its money, has said he would like to put in self-administered “blocks” preventing people from spending on alcohol and cigarettes. Another move towards premeditated self-exclusion could be for people to prevent themselves from indulging in late-night carb binges by placing a block on their card from spending in fast-food joints, he said.

Last year London-based Monzo, which has 2.6 million customers, put in place a tool that allows users to stop spending on gambling transactions. In an interview with the Observer magazine, chief executive Tom Blomfield said a similar block could be put in place for McDonald’s.

“You could do a McDonald’s block quite easily,”

he said.

“But alcohol and cigarettes are the two I would really love to put a block on.”

Blomfield said Monzo does not have the data at present to put a booze block in place, which would need the participation of retailers.

“But what Tesco could do is send entire receipt data through the Mastercard and Visa networks, which would then enable us to say: ‘Aha! There’s alcohol on that!’ Then we could decline the transaction until you take the alcohol out of your cart and reswipe your card. It’s entirely possible, it just needs all of the shops to adopt it.”

Recently, Monzo told almost 480,000 customers to change their pins after it left information exposed to unauthorised staff for six months. The bank said it usually stored pin records in a “particularly secure” part of its internal system where it could tightly control which staff members could access them. But it discovered that pins were also being copied onto files, that while encrypted, that could be accessed by about 110 unauthorised engineers.

Source: The Guardian.

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