If you’re trying to get a grip on your spending, or you’re looking to manage what an authorized user can spend on your account, Barclays’ new granular card control features may be just what you’re looking for.

Several issuers already offer their own versions of card locking or freezing. But Barclays’ “control your card, control your spend” functionality — publicly announced this week and available via the issuer’s mobile app — “goes above and beyond card locking,” says Sagar Dalal, head of digital payments and innovation at Barclays US Consumer Bank.

It allows a primary cardholder to:

  • Freeze or unfreeze an account, using the SecurHold feature on Barclays’ mobile app.
  • Restrict or limit you or an authorized user from spending a certain amount and/or in a specific merchant category.
  • Opt to receive real-time notifications when your account is used to make a purchase or is declined for a purchase.

With the new feature, cardholders can set not only financial limits but also limits on the spending categories where a card can be used. For example, parents of college students can give them a card that can be used only for certain school-related expenses and not on entertainment. Or someone actively trying to stick to a budget can set a spending limit on the card for food and drink vendors to avoid overspending.

Limiting the amount or type of transaction may also be a good fraud deterrent, Dalal says. Even if you don’t realize your card is lost or has been stolen, your risk of exposure may be mitigated if a potential thief can’t use the account to fraudulently charge up pricey electronics, jewelry or other big-ticket items.

Setting these restrictions won’t interfere with recurring payments like subscriptions and automatic bill pay; it will apply only to new purchases and cash advances, Dalal says.

In addition to toggling various restrictions on and off via the mobile app, users can also call Barclays to make their request.

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