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Getting drunk? DrnkPay cuts off your cards

Jay MacDonald

When you get a little tipsy, do you get a little frisky with your debit or credit card?

Lift a toast to DrnkPay, the cleverly named new app that takes the “you” out of “drunk” and lets you limit your largesse well before you don your beer goggles, thus avoiding that gnarly after-party financial hangover. Currently being introduced in Great Britain, its developers expect this subtle, sober wingman to cross the pond soon.

Here’s how DrnkPay works: First, load the app onto your iOS or Android phone or device and link your credit/debit cards to it. Next, select the number of drinks you might typically consume before spontaneity gets the better of you. Finally, choose the type of payments you’d like to take off the table once you’re under it; choices include bars/pubs, restaurants, shops, online shopping — or all of the above. Once you exceed your liquor limit, DrnkPay blocks all card purchases for 12 hours.

How does DrnkPay know when you’ve had too much? The app is wirelessly connected to your choice of a handheld device to test blood-alcohol level or a Quantac Tally biosensor wristband that tracks your alcohol content through your skin. That interface allows you to check your sobriety/card status before your wingman jerks your cards.

The Tally wristband may already ring a bell for some, thanks to its unorthodox marketing introduction last January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In a city not exactly known for its sobriety, Quantac co-founder and chief technology officer Jack Sattell agreed to strap one on and drink lights out to demonstrate in real time the Tally’s alcohol accuracy.

As Jack drank, Quantac streamed his Tally’s tally on its website and via Twitter under the hashtag #howdrunkisjack. For the record, Sattell downed 17 drinks in four days, moderate by Vegas standards, and took the following week off to recover.

Stay financially sober, my friends
British-based financial consultancy firm iBe TSE says it developed DrnkPay after research revealed that half of UK alcohol drinkers ages 18-34 admitted they have regretted a purchase made while drunk. Why target cards? The firm cites the classic 2008 paper by New York University psychologist Dr. Priya Raghubir and University of Maryland Dr. Joydeep Srivastava, which concludes: “People are willing to spend or pay more when they use a credit card than when using cash.”

“The introduction of technology like DrnkPay helps people actively change their behavior when it comes to spending money while drunk,” the firm says. “Think of it like someone with high blood pressure using a blood pressure monitor so they are alerted to issues and are then motivated to take action.”

Lest DrnkPay be labeled a buzzkill (for potentially stranding an over-imbiber without cash) or worse (for putting a drunk behind the wheel), the developers inserted a Help Me Out page that hails (and pays for) an Uber to drive you home.

There are numerous apps out there that can help you avoid an SUI (shopping under the influence), either by tracking your drinking (R-U-Buzzed) or calculating your blood alcohol level based on your biometrics (Alculator, AlcoDroid, Drinking Buddy, et al). But DrnkPay is the first to put these measures to a positive, proactive financial use.

Fingers crossed, we’ll soon be able to tighten our wallets before we get loose!

See related: Biometric scanner lets you pay bar tab by giving the finger, Techy I0T Malibu rum bottle will drive you to drink, Credit cards best at removing drunk UK wasp stings, Japanese teen takes Dad’s credit card on a $54,000 bender, 4 tips to minimize impulse buying

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