Microchips planted under skin to pay bills

Eitb24
Oct. 14, 2006

A recent study showed that almost one in ten teenagers and one in twenty adults would be willing to have a microchip implanted to pay shop bills and help to prevent card or identity fraud and muggings.

The retail industry in the UK is the latest to look at the applications of biometric payment methods. These include fingerprint and iris recognition, along with a personalised microchip, which could be inserted under the skin. A quick scan of the arm would indicate a customer's bank details so that a payment could be made.

A recent study (9 October 2006) carried out by the Institute for Grocery Distribution (IGD), a retail think-tank in the UK, showed that almost one in ten teenagers and one in twenty adults would be willing to have a microchip implanted to pay shop bills and help to prevent card or identity fraud and muggings.

In terms of different payment methods, teenagers still favour paying with credit and debit cards, but many say that in future, they would like to use biometrics (fingerprint (17%) and iris recognition (7%) to purchase groceries.

Fear of mobile-related crimes (last year 710,000 mobile phones were stolen in the UK, according to IGD figures) has created a reluctance to pay with existing mobile technologies, such as mobile phones and watches that automatically link to bank accounts.

There is no indication that those questioned for the IGD report wanted a cashless society in ten years time. 39% of teenagers and 30% of adults said they are still likely to use cash.

So far the only example of a human body chip being used is at the VIP Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, where clubbers wear bikinis and shorts and there is nowhere to carry wallets and purses.

The club offers clients a microchip, injected in the arm, which gives them access to certain areas, and acts as a payment method at the bar.

This chip, made by the VeriChip Corporation, is a glass capsule about the size of a grain of rice, which sits under the skin.

It carries a ten-digit personal number that can be linked to a person's bank account, and has been a success at the club.

The chip emits radio waves that inform the club's cash registers who you are and what you have ordered.

Note: 1000 people - 500 adults aged 25 to 40 and a further 500 13-19 year olds were surveyed for the IGD report.







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