Shopaholics can breathe easy, help is at hand. A new handbag is promising to stop impulse buying by locking, flashing and vibrating when users reach for their wallets.
The iBag2 is packed with an Arduino Uno microprocessor, vibration motors, a timer, GPS, bluetooth, RFID technology and LED lights to make it is as difficult as possible for users to spend money they know they shouldn't.
The bag is the brainchild of personal finance site Finder, which says that Brits owe over £63.3 billion in credit card debt, up by £2.3 billion on the previous year. Furthermore, the firm's own survey of 2000 people shows British credit cardholders spend £43.2 billion on impulse purchases using plastic - with half of the items not even wanted.
Having launched an iBag1 in Australia two years ago, Finder is hoping to bring the upgraded version to the UK, if it attracts enough interest to go into production.
The new effort - which ironically Finder does not appear to have yet priced - is designed by New York-based fashion designer Geova Rodriguez, with Dublin's Colmac Robotics providing the tech.
The bag's timer is connected to electromagnets that lock the bag via a magnetic field and two steel plates at the times of the day that the user identifies as their "most vulnerable spending moments".
Meanwhile a RFID card that is placed in the owner's wallet works with the bag's RIFID reader. This is connected to LED lights inside the bag and vibration motors in the handle, which light up blue and vibrate each time the wallet is taken out as a "discreet" reminder of spending goals.
The GPS tracking warns via amber LED lights and vibration when people get near to one of their pre-programmed vulnerable spending zones. On entering a "danger zone" the locking function turns on until a safe zone is reached.
On the non-shopaholic front, the bag offers a reminder every two hours via yellow lights and vibration that it's time to reapply sunscreen, and a tracker using a smartphone app and Bluetooth helps find lost and stolen bags.
Michelle Hutchison, Finder, says: "The iBag2 is one possible solution to impulsive spending as it features in-built technology to make shoppers aware of their spending urges in the moment and can even physically deter them from accessing their wallets when they are at their most vulnerable by self-locking."