The “Internet Of Things Bank” Gives You An Electric Shock When You Overspend

Now even our financial conscience can be automated.

If you have trouble saving money, a new platform is designed to help remind help. Every time you spend over your limit, you can program a device to give you an electric shock.


Intelligent Environments, a U.K.-based software developer that makes software for banks, created the project to link bank or credit card accounts to devices like the Pavlok, an electroshock wristband. If you also want to trim your carbon footprint, you can connect your accounts to a Nest thermostat and automatically adjust the temperature to save you money on heating or cooling when you overspend on something else.

The developers noticed that people are increasingly less aware of how much money they’re spending. “A lot of expenditures people do are invisible–maybe they’re using Apple Pay, they’ve got standing amounts leaving their bank accounts, they’re using contactless cards,” says Intelligent Environments chief executive David Webber. “With all of these methods, their connectedness to their money is more and more remote. We felt that people would be interested to wrest back control of some aspects of their life.”

If people don’t want a shock, the Pavlok wristband can also be programmed to buzz or even beep. Warnings could also be tied to a particular location–if, for example, you want to start making coffee at home or work and get an annoying reminder every time you go to Starbucks.

No banks have picked up the platform yet, so it’s still just a concept. But ultimately, the platform could be connected to other types of connected devices in creative ways. “All we’re doing here is taking data, applying rules, making decisions, and allowing consumers through an app to choose how they’re alerted or what they want to be turned off or turned on,” Webber says.

In the company’s research, they found that millennials were most interested in trying the platform–and the over-25 crowd was most interested in giving it to a partner or family member. Certainly there’s no lack of people who need help saving more–in the U.S., most people don’t even have enough money to cover an unexpected $500 bill.

About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.