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Microchip to allow wallet-free drinking

London Telegraph | January 17 2005

A Scottish nightclub is about to become the first in Britain to offer its customers the chance to have a microchip implanted in their arm to save them carrying cash.

The "digital wallet", the size of a grain of rice, guarantees entry to the club and allows customers to buy drinks on account. Brad Stevens, owner of Bar Soba in Glasgow, said his customers had responded enthusiastically to the idea.

The VeriChip is inserted by a medical professional and then scanned for its unique ID number as a customer enters the bar.

"There are a number of advantages, from instant access, to not having to carry money or credit cards, to letting bar staff know a customer's name and favourite drink," said Mr Stevens. "By the time you walk through the door to the bar, your favourite drink is waiting for you and the bar staff can greet you by name."

However, he said the bar would also have to make sure that customers with the chip had a limit on how much they could spend to prevent them drinking beyond their ability to pay.

The scheme was criticised by a spokesman for the Scottish Executive, who said the microchip could encourage excessive drinking, and by Notags, a consumer group set up to resist the spread of radio frequency identification devices.

A spokesman said: "The chip contains your name and ID number and, as this could be read remotely without your knowledge, that is already too much information."