Competition is key to innovation in a range of industries and fields, and this is certainly true in the world of finance.
An excellent example of this has emerged recently, with online-only banks like Monzo acting to disrupt the market and shift customer expectations forwards, forcing established rivals to up their game in response.
This is particularly apparent in the context of encouraging and facilitating responsible gambling, putting customers in the driving seat and giving them access with the tools they need to play on sites like Casumo online casino with confidence.
Here is a look at how this played out and how long it took traditional banks to respond with their own responsible gambling offerings.
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Empowering customers through self-exclusion
Monzo was one of the first banks to allow customers to pick and choose the types of transactions that were allowable on their accounts, introducing the concept of self-exclusion for gambling transactions way back in 2018.
It was able to roll this feature out smoothly thanks to its app-focused approach to providing account holders with personal finance management tools. An entire section of the app is dedicated to controls and it can be turned on in a couple of taps.
Starling Bank, another online banking brand, introduced similar merchant-blocking features aimed at gambling at around the same time as Monzo, and in fact managed to pip it to the post in this respect.
In both cases, customers who want to disable the block after it has been enabled will encounter an extra layer of protection designed to help with impulse control and ensure that they are gambling responsibly rather than putting themselves and their money at risk unnecessarily.
With both Monzo and Starling Bank bringing these game-changing features to the table, it quickly became apparent to high street banking brands that they would need to embrace this approach or else seem seriously behind the curve.
It did not take long for a cavalcade of other operators to begin implementing customer-controlled blocking mechanisms within their apps and online banking services so that gambling transactions could be monitored or halted altogether.
Today everyone from RBS and Lloyds to HSBC and Natwest have followed in the footsteps of their smaller digital competitors, demonstrating that innovation does not just have to come from the biggest players and is in fact more often stimulated by start-ups.
It is also worth noting that the trend for banks embracing the responsible gambling ethos has had wider implications for the kinds of features and functions that customers can expect to encounter when they fire up their personal finance app of choice.
Today it is possible for customers of the vast majority of mainstream banks, both digital and traditional, to block multiple different types of merchants from being able to complete transactions using their details. In addition to gambling operators, this can include supermarkets and even fast food chains.
All of this is about making sure that customers are in charge of their own financial destiny and are therefore able to live their lives more responsibly without requiring any other intervention other than their own in-app adjustments.
Digital banks have seen their boundary-pushing app features of other kinds also adopted elsewhere. Being able to pause a payment card rather than cancel it outright when it goes missing is a good example of this; it overcomes one of the longest standing binaries of personal finance and saves customers and banking brands alike time and money.
Using banking apps to spearhead responsible gambling culture is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what digital operators are doing to the market at the moment.