You can now pay with an implant in your hand

A 37-year-old from the Netherlands has implanted a microchip in his hand that allows him to pay for items in shops and restaurants.

Patrick Paumen, a security guard, doesn’t need to use his contactless phone or bank card and simply places his left hand near a contactless card reader.

“The reactions I get from cashiers are priceless!,” Paumen told the BBC.

A microchip was injected under his skin in 2019, with Paumen claiming that the procedure “hurts as much as when someone pinches your skin.”

When Paumen comes into close contact with a contactless payment terminal, his chip lights up beneath his skin.

The first microchip implanted into a human body was back in 1998, however in the past decade, the technology has been made commercially available.

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British-Polish firm Walletmor claimed that last year it became the first company to offer them for sale.

“The implant can be used to pay for a drink on the beach in Rio, a coffee in New York, a haircut in Paris – or at your local grocery store,” Walletmor CEO Wojtek Paprota told the BBC.

“It can be used wherever contactless payments are accepted.”

The chip that Walletmor use for implants weighs less than a gram and is comprised of a tiny microchip with an antenna encased in a biopolymer – a naturally sourced material, similar to plastic.

Paprota said that the chip is entirely safe and has regulatory approval. It also works as soon as it is implanted and will firmly stay in place.

The chip does also not require a battery or any other power source for that matter. Walletmor has said it has sold over 500 of the chips.

The technology used in the Walletmor cheap uses the same system that is found for contactless payment apps in smartphones, near-field communication, otherwise known as NFC.

A survey conducted last year of over 4,000 people across the UK and EU found that 51% would consider a biometric chip similar to the one that Pauman has.

Despite the high figure of respondents claiming that they would consider an implant, the report found that “invasiveness and security issues remained a major concern” for respondents.

Paumen did not share those concerns however, saying: “Chip implants contain the same kind of technology that people use on a daily basis.

“From key fobs to unlock doors, public transit cards like the London Oyster card, or bank cards with contactless payment function.

“The reading distance is limited by the small antenna coil inside the implant. The implant needs to be within the electromagnetic field of a compatible [NFC] reader.

“Only when there is a magnetic coupling between the reader and the transponder can the implant can be read.”

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