Would you plant a small debit card chip in your hand?

On LinkedIn, entrepreneur Vojtek Papruta calls himself a “believer in transhumanism.”

It refers to a radical, yet growing, movement that wants humans to use technology to evolve beyond their physical limits.

The British-Polish entrepreneur is the founder of Walletmor – which claims to be the world’s first company selling contactless bank card chips that can be implanted in humans.

Releases: London-based Walletmor claims to be the first company in the world to sell contactless bank card chips that can be implanted in humans

The procedure is simple, if bloody, and leaves clients with a small stitch just below the wrist.

Once the chip is inserted, users will not have to worry about debit or credit cards. To make a purchase, they can wave their hand over a contactless reader. It may sound like a dystopian fantasy, but Walletmor is proof of how quickly the payment industry has progressed.

From chip implants to facial recognition software on your mobile phone, this new technology aims to send cash and bank cards into the history books.

But is this fast-growing sector dangerously out of its depth? Walletmor certainly seems to be, too.

Money Mail can reveal today that the company – which has been featured on both the BBC and Forbes – has been embroiled in controversy after it was found to have misled customers.

Paprota was reusing chips from a third-party supplier, MuchBetter, which is linked to Mastercard.

Once alerted to Walletmor’s actions, both companies pulled the plug — citing “health and safety” concerns.

Customer accounts were closed overnight in the UK.

Results? Some redundant chips were left under their skin. Their only option for now is to remove them — although Walletmor insists it is looking at ways to reprogram the chips already implanted for future use.

A microchip was first inserted into a human in 1998. Professor Kevin Warwick – better known as Captain Cyborg – performed the procedure to connect his nervous system to a computer as part of an experiment.

But other than that, there was little appetite for commercially available chips — until Walletmor stepped in and started selling them as an alternative to bank cards.

The device is about the size of a grain of rice and costs €200 (£169).

Walletmor was unable to perform the implants, and instead referred clients to piercing specialists.

The chip is linked to a smartphone app operated by MuchBetter, where customers can deposit money. In April, Walletmor bragged on social media that it had been featured in more than 450 articles worldwide.

“The transplant could be used to pay for a drink on the beach in Rio, a coffee in New York, a haircut in Paris – or at the local grocery store,” Papruta told the BBC earlier this year.

From chip implants to facial recognition software on your mobile phone, new technology aims to send cash and bank cards into the history books

From chip implants to facial recognition software on your mobile phone, new technology aims to send cash and bank cards into the history books

But in a Facebook group dedicated to Walletmor’s 434 “ambassadors,” customers regularly posted videos of card machines struggling to read their chips.

It’s a great concept but for something like this to work people have to want to use it, says Gary Prince, chief strategy officer at software company SimplyPayMe.

‘What’s the use of paying on your hand? If it could also be loaded with identity documents, that would be a different story. But this would also open up a larger discussion about privacy.

Interest in ‘biometric’ payment solutions – which use physical characteristics to identify a customer and authorize a transaction – is steadily growing.

Well-known examples include fingerprint and facial recognition technology, which is used among banks, tech giants, and even at airports to authenticate passports.

In the late 1990s, Nationwide experimented with an ATM that could scan eyeballs to confirm identity and allow customers to withdraw money—though it never got past the initial experiment.

In 2016, Apple Pay introduced a “selfie pay” feature that allows customers to authorize transactions by taking a photo of their face.

The following year, Santander became the first UK bank to use voice recognition technology. And in 2019, Barclays introduced “finger vein scanners” that can identify customers at their fingertips using infrared technology.

The hope is that these types of technology can eliminate fraud because criminals are unable to replicate these unique characteristics.

However, card payments remain the most popular payment method, with 1.7 billion debit and credit card transactions recorded in February this year, according to UK Finance.

As for Walletmor, he now finds himself in a hot mess.

Card payments remain the most popular payment method, with 1.7 billion credit and debit card transactions recorded in February this year.

Card payments remain the most popular payment method, with 1.7 billion credit and debit card transactions recorded in February this year.

The company says only two customers in the UK have had the chips implanted. Dozens of others have paid, but they have not entered it yet.

Around the world, chips have been implanted for hundreds of others. But they don’t have the same problems because the company uses a different account provider, iCard.

“Walletmor’s legal department has done a great job of protecting themselves according to their terms and conditions,” says Dmitry Kondratyev, a lawyer who specializes in body modification ethics.

The company is not responsible for any complications associated with the installation and is not responsible for the correct banking.

Walletmor points out that it technically does not provide a financial service, which means that it is not beholden to regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority.

“We ask our users to be patient once the chips can work flawlessly also in the British Isles,” Paprota told MoneyMail. Walletmor is a transparent, honest and professional company. We openly promote our ideas about transhumanism. We don’t hide anything and act accordingly. to the law.

The fallout left division among Walletmor’s devotees. Many of its “ambassadors” treat technology as if it were a religion. “I trust Walletmor to solve this problem,” one wrote on their Facebook page. Every new technology encounters problems along the way.

Others are less forgiving. One writes: “What emerged is a failure to perform due diligence.”

Walletmor toured the media and confidently claimed that they were making implants mainstream. The reality was completely different from that.

It’s tempting to dismiss those eager to jump on board.

However, around 51 percent of individuals across Europe and the UK would consider having a chip implanted in their hand, according to a 2021 survey by payment solutions service Marqeta.

But when Money Mail approached MuchBetter and Mastercard for data on their relationship with Walletmor, their responses were telling.

A Mastercard spokesperson says: “This is not a product that we participate in or endorse. This is an area that requires significant review to ensure the integrity of the transaction and the individual.

“We only allow transactions on our network using devices that meet our certification and testing requirements. Human chip implants do not meet these requirements. We have no relationship with Walletmor, commercial or implied,” adds a MuchBetter spokesperson. Walletmor infringes the MuchBetter trademark.

The companies are clear: Without effective regulation, implant payments will not be embraced beyond the petty cult of “transhumanists.”

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