This is a Financial Services innovation from The 70 Best Trend-Driven Innovations of 2019.

UK high street bank Barclays now offers customers the ability to ‘switch off’ certain types of spending on their debit card. The service, which launched in December, is intended to help customers stop problematic spending such as that on gambling or premium rate phone lines, but can also cover spending at pubs, grocery stores and petrol stations. Customers can use the Barclays app to block certain categories of spending, or do so via phone or in a branch. Barclays is the first UK high street bank to offer this service to customers.

Neat idea. And Barclays say the service will soon extend to credit cards, too. But hidden within this innovation are two big takeaways for any business.

Whose side are you on? The most surprising aspect of this example? No one expects a bank to encourage people to stop using their services! Instead, legacy banks have a well-deserved reputation for pushing loans to customers who are spending more than they can afford. Now we see Barclays taking a small step towards redemption on that front. So first question for you; and warning, it could be the toughest question you ask yourself in 2019. How has your business or industry traditionally failed to truly be on the side of customers and their welfare? Could a simple new product feature be a step towards redemption? 

Expectation avalanche. If you’re a regular reader, you already know what’s coming. New innovations and brands fuel new customer expectations, that other (often legacy) businesses must respond to. Check this out: back in June UK startup bank Monzo launched a feature that allows users to block gambling transactions from their accountPeople only have to hear about that new feature to begin asking themselves: why doesn’t my bank let me do that? So gather your team and set each member a challenge for this week: find one innovation, product feature, brand, or business model setting new customer expectations that you should respond to in 2019.

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