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Calorie-Counting Cell Phones

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Barclaycard Health Tech of the Future

— September 9, 2008 — Tech
As part of a musing about the future of credit cards and the possibilities of contactless technology, the UK credit card company Barclaycard has floated the idea that a credit card chip embedded in a mobile phone could also allow shoppers to interact with goods on the shelves of stores.

In this way the calorie count of your daily sandwich could be displayed before you pay for it (via the phone) - and there would be no need to take the sandwich to the checkout. Soon, viable contactless-enabled mobile phones will be available widely, following trials that have already taken place in the UK and elsewhere.

The company is also developing other ‘paperless’ ticketing applications, that might for example be used for train journeys or at the movies. There is already talk of enabling mobile phones to also hold travel tickets for London’s public transport system and tube network.

“The chips on credit cards now have incredible untapped capability but the plastic around the chip limits its potential” said Barclaycard chief executive Antony Jenkins.

“Take the plastic away and the possibilities are endless, allowing the customer to pay by using something that they are already carrying, be it a mobile, key fob or even via biometrics.”

The firm already has the UK’s only contactless credit card, currently being rolled out nationwide, and a three-in-one card called OnePulse which brings together a standard credit card, a contactless Oyster card for public transportation and a contactless payment card for small value transactions.

But will credit card statements of the future show calories consumed as well as dollars expended?