Martin: ‘Making something difficult slows people down’
Responding last month to Barclays’ announcement, Martin said: “This is one reason why I set up the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity – and its detailed research shows the power of giving people more options for control tools that can add ‘friction’ to this type of spending.”
In a further Facebook post explaining why ‘friction’ matters, he added: “Making something more difficult to do slows people down, and gives time to consider. This is important when you’re dealing with impulse control.
“It has long been used in other sectors, eg, blocking pharmacies selling people more than 32 paracetamols makes it more difficult for someone to buy enough to overdose. Of course people can go to more than one store, but the conscious act of having to do that because people are trying to prevent it is a barrier.
“With blocking gambling transactions (or premium phone lines as Barclays also allows) on a card, the fact you chose to do it, adds an emotional significance to working around it – ie, you’ve committed to not gambling, and now you’re changing.
“So friction is just as much a behavioural blocker as a transactional one. It isn’t perfect. It won’t stop everything, yet hopefully it is another tool to help people control themselves.”