World’s first payments system which stops you overspending when drunk

MAY 2017

  • DrnkPay: an app which connects your credit and debit cards to a breathalyser or biosensor wearable to curb inebriated spending
  • Each payment is authenticated to ensure users are under their self-imposed limit
  • 50% of UK drinking age millennials have spent money while under the influence and regretted it
  • To see DrnkPay in action, watch and download the launch video here

Today sees the launch of the world’s first mobile payments system which stops people overspending when they are drunk.

DrnkPay, which has been developed by iBe TSE, is an app that connects the user's credit and debit cards to a breathalyser or biosensor wearable so it knows how much they have drunk and limits certain purchases if they have had too much.

How does it work?
1. Users link cards to the DrnkPay app (iOS and Android), then select the number of drinks they wish to have in advance (e.g. 3 pints of beer).
2. The types of payments to block are selected (e.g. bars / pubs, food, online, flights, shopping or all categories)
3. All cards are then blocked for 12 hours.
4. A breathalyser, which is connected to the system via bluetooth, is used before each purchase to authorise payment.
5. If the user is under their pre-defined limit, the relevant cards are activated and payments can be made.
6. If the user is over their limit, their cards are blocked and cannot be used.

Alternatively, if people do not want to carry around a breathalyser, they can use Quantac Tally, a wearable biosensor which constantly analyses the alcohol content in the user’s bloodstream.

The technical development for DrnkPay was carried out by Vipera, the specialist provider of mobile financial services and an iBe TSE partner. Simon Pearce, Chief Marketing Officer, said: "When we were first approached with this idea we could immediately see a benefit for the end consumer. We believe that this coming together of payments and smart devices will spur the next big payments revolution.

Morning-after regret
iBe TSE, a financial services consultancy with a pan-European blue chip client base, saw the need for the new system after research¹ revealed half of UK alcohol drinkers aged 18-34 admitted they have regretted a purchase made when drunk. Unusual examples of drunk purchases include 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 even a live chicken.

Francesco Scarnera, CEO of iBe TSE explains, “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.”

Publicly available within 12 months
iBe TSE is currently in discussions with a number of banks and card providers about rolling the technology out to their customers within the next 12 months. The aim is for the system to be offered for free by providers looking to help their customers control their spending.

Helps control alcohol consumption
DrnkPay not only helps control spending, but also creates awareness as to how much the user is drinking. When setting up the app ahead of a night out, the user selects how many drinks they plan to have, which DrnkPay converts to units of alcohol in the background. Before every purchase, the user blows into the breathalyser, which, as it’s connected to the app, will inform the drinker how close to their limit they are before they get to the bar. This stops the user from getting carried away, and ordering more drinks than they intended.

The app includes a ‘Help me out’ feature, where users can book an emergency Uber to get home safely.

– ENDS –


Notes to editors:

  • Launch video and images can be downloaded here, feel free to use them on your site.
  • Demos are available for the media (alcohol will be provided!)

The science behind DrnkPay
DrnkPay was born out of robust academic research on behavioural economics from Stanford and New York University. The two broad themes informing the technology are:

1. People spend more when it’s easier to make purchases (e.g. credit cards make physical cash invisible)
Psychologist Dr Priya Raghubir (Stern School of Business at New York University) and Dr Joydeep Srivastava (Robert H Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland) wrote a widely cited paper in 2008 that revealed “people are willing to spend or pay more when they use a credit card than when using cash".

2. Computers have the ability to change what you think and do
According to Dr B.J. Fogg, director of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, computers can motivate you to stop smoking and persuade you to buy insurance. Fogg has coined the phrase "Captology" (an acronym for computers as persuasive technologies) to capture the domain of research, design, and applications of persuasive computers. Fogg has written a leading book on this topic. You can read more about designing for behaviour change with persuasive technology in this excellent Wikipedia article.

Examples items that respondents have purchased when drunk, then regretted:

  • A DVD boxset of every Dungeons and Dragons episode, 8 years later they have only watched one episode
  • Expensive holiday, which the respondent is still paying for
  • Lifetime membership to a Rowing Club - and the respondent doesn’t row
  • Drinking game bought off Amazon
  • More alcohol
  • Gambled £1,000
  • China clock bought on eBay which cost 10 times the price to ship because it was made of china and sold by a Chinese supplier
  • Caravan
  • Flying lessons for a partner and they didn’t release they had purchased them until the morning
  • A four figure redundancy package spent in 24 hours after going down the pub, getting drunk and wasting the remainder on an expensive watch on the way home
  • Stress ball in the shape of a slice of toast with a face
  • £1,500 DJ mixer
  • Cow shaped salt and pepper shakers
  • Boat
  • £250 on three vintage Ewok Star Wars toys
  • Dog
  • Bouncy castle
  • Live chicken
  • 30 pairs of flip flops
  • Ace of Base CD

Survey conducted with OnePoll of 1,000 UK adults that drink alcohol. Survey conducted March 2017.

For more information, please contact 10x:
Hew Leith, / 0772 557 5183
Sonali Makanji, / 0755 112 9418

About iBe TSE:
iBe TSE is a consultancy for financial services organisations seeking to address digital disruption. Its experienced team works with blue chip financial institutions to ensure their change and digital ambitions deliver tangible business outcomes. It’s also invested heavily in building an innovation ecosystem, from its team of data scientists and partners in research houses to its growing network of fintech start-ups. It recently expanded its offering by acquiring LOC Consulting in 2016 and Paystrat in 2017. iBe TSE is part of Be Think Solve Execute S.p.A. The Group employs more than 1,000 people across Europe and is listed on the STAR segment of the Borsa Italiana with reported revenues in excess of €100m.