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DrnkPay app blocks credit cards if you've had too much to drink

17 May 2017  |  11125 views  |  8 drnkpay

A new mobile app is promising to help users avoid drunken late night impulse spending by linking credit and debit cards to a breathalyser and, if too much has been imbibed, barring certain purchases.

The brainchild of financial consultancy iBe TSE, the DrnkPay app asks users to link their cards and select the number of drinks they wish to have in advance of an evening out. Then, the drinker can choose the types of payments which are to be blocked - pubs, food, online shopping - for a 12 hour period.

After that, every time they want to make a payment they have to use the breathalyser, which is connected to the app via bluetooth. If the user is under the predefined limit, the card is activated and the payment can be made. If they are over, the card is blocked.



Drinkers who do not want to carry around a breathalyser can strap a Quantac Tally wearable biosensor to their wrists to constantly analyse the alcohol content in their bloodstream. Meanwhile, a 'help me out’ feature lets users book an emergency Uber to get home safely.

Insisting that its service is more than just a gimmick, iBe TSE cites a poll of 1000 UK alcohol drinkers aged 18-34 which found that half have regretted a purchase made when drunk. Among the addled impulse buys admitted to are flying lessons, a rowing club lifetime membership for someone who doesn’t row, £250 vintage Star Wars toys, 30 pairs of flip flops, a caravan and a live chicken.

The firm says it plans to officially launch the app in around 12 months, adding that it is in "discussions" with a number of banks and card providers about rolling out the technology to their customers.

Francesco Scarnera, CEO, iBe TSE, says: "This is a problem many of us have encountered, so we decided to create a simple solution which uses the latest technology. Once you’ve hit your self-imposed limit, the app will lock your card and prevent you making further payments. It’s up to you whether to block all payments, or just certain ‘weak points’, such as takeaways, clubs, or that flight that seems like such a great idea at 4am."

Comments: (8)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 May, 2017, 09:07

If I am that drunk, I'd use my plastic card - easier to handle than a smartphone, I guess, when "under influence". 

1 thumb up! 1 thumb up!
Simon Pearce
Simon Pearce - Vipera Plc - London 17 May, 2017, 09:32

No problem, because the plastic card would be blocked using the app.  (we (Vipera) built the app for iBe, so the idea is that the App blocks selected payments or channels on the plastic card.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 May, 2017, 09:37

Hm, a third party app blocking an issuer's card?.. Would love to learn more! (See http://bit.ly/2qRMS1U)

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Simon Pearce
Simon Pearce - Vipera Plc - London 17 May, 2017, 09:47

Not quite, this needs to be done in conjunction with the issuer. If the issuer participated then it is possible to allow the user a range of options including block and unblock the card ( useful when you lose it down the back of the sofa), block by channel, i.e. block online transactions or ATM withdrawals etc. plus block by country, or easily inform the bank you are traveling and so they dont block it. Also set budgets, group spending by categories etc etc.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 May, 2017, 10:42

Not sure it would work for small offline in person purchases though (such as a takeaway or club entry that you cite in the article!) - even if the issuer has blocked the card - the transaction would still go through.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 May, 2017, 12:01

Don't most people use cash for social drinking?  What next - Credit Card issuers warning of irresponsible and excessive spending patterns?

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Simon Pearce
Simon Pearce - Vipera Plc - London 17 May, 2017, 13:28

It is correct that small offline purchases will not work because the payment needs to be authorised online. However there is a move towards online authorisation for all transactions, but the larger point is that there a number of tools and functions available from the card schemes and card issuers that when combined with a smartphone can be used in interesting and innovative ways to put the decision making power firmly in the hands of the end user. 

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 17 May, 2017, 17:31

I hope this is one of those breakthrough ideas that sounds harebrained at first. On a side note, whatever happened to MasterCard inControl, which was supposed to do something like this but for many more merchant categories? Seven years ago, I began my blogging on Finextra with the following post on credit cards that stop you from spending:

Credit Cards Come A Full Circle

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