Photo source: www.finder.com/uk

Personal finance website finder.com/UK launched United Kingdom’s first IoT handbag with in-built robotics designed to help shoppers avoid impulsive spending.

The iBag2 handbag features physical cues to remind shoppers of their spending goals whenever they reach for their wallet and it self-locks, flashes and vibrates when they enter their “danger spending zones.” It is powered by an Arduino Uno microprocessor, vibration motors, a timer, GPS, bluetooth, RFID technology and LED lights, which work together to provide six distinct components:

  • A timer connected to electromagnets that lock the handbag via a magnetic field and two steel plates according to your most vulnerable spending moments during the course of a day;
  • An RFID system connected to LED lights and vibration motors, which light up blue and vibrate each time your wallet is taken out as a discreet reminder of spending goals. The bag comes with an RFID card for placing inside your wallet and an in-built RFID reader;
  • GPS tracking that warns you via amber LED lights and vibration when you are nearing one of your pre-programmed vulnerable spending zones. The LEDs are located on the inside of the bag to give the user a visual warning before the bag locks. The mini vibration motors are installed in the handle of the bag;
  • The locking function turns on if you proceed to enter your danger zone. The GPS coordinates activate the electromagnets to cause a magnetic field between the two steel plates installed inside the bag’s opening. The electromagnets lock the bag until you enter a safe zone, switching the magnetic field off;
  • A reminder every two hours via yellow lights and vibration that it’s time to reapply sunscreen; and
  • A Tile tracker that helps you ‘find my iBag’ using bluetooth technology and a smart phone app if you misplace the handbag or it’s stolen.

The handbagalso comes with a fast charging power bank, battery capacity of 10,000 mAh, with two USB ports (one to power the bag and one to charge your smartphone or any USB-chargeable device. It also includes a backup 9V battery attached to the microprocessor.

The robotics for the iBag2 were custom-designed by a female-led team of engineers from robotics firm Colmac Robotics Ltd, an award-winning Irish Ed-tech business based in Dublin. The bag’s couture design is by renowned New York-based fashion designer Geova Rodriguez.

finder.com/UK created the iBag2 in response to alarming signs that credit card spending is out of control. Brits owe over £63.3 billion in credit card debt, up by £2.3 billion in 2015 compared to the previous year[1]. More than half of credit card debt (58 percent) is accruing interest, worth £36.7 billion.

Furthermore, British credit cardholders spend £43.2 billion on impulse purchases using plastic – half of the items are not even wanted, according to a finder.com/UK survey of 2,000 Brits, conducted by Mortar London.

The study found that the average Brit spends £1,394 on impulse purchases on their credit cards each year – 2.6 times every month. That’s 7 percent of the UK’s £600 billion annual spend on credit cards.

One in six cardholders (16 percent) have kept their credit card spending a secret from their partner. One in 10 (10 percent) do it by lying about the price they paid for something. One in 20 (5 per cent) even intercept the postman so they can hide the bills. Others take the tags off their shopping to pretend the item is not new (6 percent) or hide new things in the wardrobe or under the bed (5 percent).

Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at finder.com/UK, said the survey results highlighted the need for some consumers to take extreme measures to curb their credit card spending.

“At finder.com/UK, we are committed to using technology to make it easier for consumers to manage their personal finances, whether it’s by enabling them to compare different financial products online or innovating to create out-of-the-box solutions like the iBag2.

“As a fintech firm ourselves, we understand the incredible problem-solving power that technology can provide, which is why we are so excited to have partnered with experts in robotics design to be able to offer an innovative solution to the very real problem of mounting credit card debt.

“With credit card debt increasing, it’s vital Brits understand the financial impact of overspending and not paying off credit cards on time. For example, minimum repayments of 2 percent on a £2,000 credit card debt with a 18 percent interest rate will take 24 years to pay off and an extra £4,397 in interest.

“The iBag2 is one possible solution to impulsive spending as it features in-built technology to make shoppers aware of their spending urges in the moment and can even physically deter them from accessing their wallets when they are at their most vulnerable by self-locking.”

Register your interest to order the iBag2 or for further information including videos, images, FAQ: www.finder.com/UK/ibag.