First Direct savezap: The ultimate financial wearable
One thing that’s been consistent throughout my career: it doesn’t matter how much I get paid, by the end of the month my bank account has a level of cash in it likely to induce a heart attack in any financial planner. My problem, you see, is the proximity of Alphr’s offices to the two most dangerous places for any nerd: Tottenham Court Road, home of cheap laptops; and Regent Street’s Apple Store, where even a glass of water is probably Apple-branded and costs you £10.
That’s why, when First Direct called up to tell me about a new wearable wristband designed to stop shopping addicts like me from overspending, my ears pricked up. Or at least, they would have done had I not had to pawn my phone temporarily to keep myself under my overdraft limit. However, once they did get hold of me I was curious: could this be the product that changed my life?
savezap (annoying lower-case name aside) turned out to be exactly what I was waiting for. The principle is simple: it tracks your location via built-in GPS and, thanks to some smart algorithms and Big Data on the bank computer side, it knows when you’re near a shop that you’ve overspent in previously. When you go near a branch of that shop, it gives you a mild zap to the wrist – not enough to hurt (much), but enough to discourage.
Of course, we had to put savezap to the test. Using the device for a few days – including the all-important payday – I found it surprisingly useful, although the range of shops where I apparently overspend was remarkably broad. It is, as I found, incredibly hard to avoid Starbucks in central London, and after a while, like Pavlov’s dog, the familiar green sign that I once so loved struck terror into my heart every time it loomed in the distance.
To put things to a decent test, I then left the savezap off for a few days. The results were unfortunate and costly.
Overall, savezap is a remarkable innovation in banking. For the financially ill-disciplined like myself, it could end up saving you a lot of money.