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."