Internet of Things bank shocks over-spenders

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 19th May 2016

It sounds like a joke, but the UK’s first Internet of Things (IoT) banking platform (not really a bank) is an app that connects to your current account and enables you to choose ways to be notified if you spend more than a self-set limit.

Two ways it suggests you might wish to be notified are to:

  1. receive an electric shock via a Pavlok wristband
  2. turn your home thermostat down a few degrees to save on the energy bills

Harsh though the first iteration of this idea might be, Intelligent Environments, the makers of the app, are clearly on to something. You can imagine it taking off a bit more when, say, they’ve worked out how to automatically order your food shopping when you get paid, but the IoT is still in its early stages, meaning the number of ways you can connect your banking with real life smart objects is quite limited.

(For the uninitiated, the term IoT refers to how you can interact via the internet with every day objects, for example, smart meters in the home to encourage energy efficiency.)

Intelligent Environments cites research showing that only a third of 18 to 24 year-olds feel their banks provide them with necessary digital budgeting tools to help them stay on top of their debt and finances, while 22 per cent said they would be less likely to go into debt if their bank provided them with better digital money management tools. The company also says it wants to help people save money.

Call us old-fashioned, but a text message saying you are near your overdraft rather than actual bodily harm normally does the job. Although for fans of sustainable money, perhaps there would be some demand for a Pavlok shock every time you invest in something harmful.

David Webber, Managing Director at Intelligent Environments, said: “With cashless payments like contactless, direct debits, and Apple Pay, it’s unsurprising we lose track of spending, so we decided to solve this by enabling smart devices to manage our overspending for us. This means customers can now get complete control and oversight of their finances without having to lift a finger.”

“Both Pavlok and Nest Thermostat are opt-in services so consumers can decide whether to switch them on or not. However, with the Pavlok integration users have told us they love it. They think it’s much better to get a little shock now, instead of a nasty one later.”

Intelligent Environments launches world’s first Internet of Things Bank from Intelligent Environments on Vimeo.