Online Banking Tech Firm’s Truly Shocking Idea


Going into your overdraft could get you an electric shock if one company’s idea takes off. It could also mean coming home to a colder house.

Both are suggested uses for a new banking technology platform, though there’s no sign yet of any banks implementing the idea.

The suggestion comes from Intelligent Environments, a specialist in financial services technology. While the new ideas are somewhat wacky, it does already do some more mundane work with banks, including developing secure technology for using smartwatches for online banking.

It’s now come up with Interact IoT, a technology for other smart devices to connect to a user’s bank account. The idea is that the devices wouldn’t allow access to the funds themselves, but rather would simply read the current account balance and respond according to the user’s chosen settings.

The company describes it as the banking equivalent of IFTTT and has already added compatibility for two devices. The first is the Pavlok wristband, which gives an electric shock in specific situations such as when you visit a social media site while you should be working, or in the morning as an alarm clock. With Interact IoT, the shock would be triggered when the user’s bank balance fell below a predetermined level.

Although the shock is at up to 340 volts, more even than a bad-ass European power outlet, it’s delivered at a low current for only a fraction of a second and is described as feeling like a particularly noticeable shock from static electricity.

The Interact IOT platform also supports Google’s Nest smart thermostat, the suggestion being that if your bank account falls below a certain level, it will turn the heating down as a money-saving effort.

Even if you buy the idea of device-based consequences as a way to shape your financial behavior, the big limitation here seems to be using bank balance as the trigger. Somebody who is financially stable and fundamentally living within their meansĀ could still have big variations in their balance over the month, for example if they aren’t paid on a regular schedule.

The other big problem is turning the idea into reality. The company says only that it “anticipates many discussions with banks and credit card companies in order to bring the Interact IoT platform to their customers in the near future.”


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