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First Brit gets microchip in his hand – here’s why

Computer chip. (Gulnara Mandrykina/Dreamstime/TNS)
October 24, 2022

A man recently became the first in the United Kingdom to get a microchip in his hand, allowing him to pay at card readers with a tap of his hand, according to the Sun.

In an operation that took about five minutes, surgeons inserted a half-millimeter-thick chip the size of a safety pin into the hand of Arnie Szoke, a 40-year-old father of two, the Sun reported.

Magnetic fields allow him to pay cashiers and even vending machines, and he imagined that it “could be used for anything – even passports, tickets or driving licenses.”

It may sound like sci-fi, but similar chips are already under the skin of thousands of Swedes, according to NPR. A Wisconsin company also put microchips in 41 employees to do things like open doors, log onto computers and purchase snacks.

Szoke said there’s a bit of a learning curve and that “you have to be more precise with where you tap” than a normal card, but he told the Sun he’s already experiencing the benefits.

“It means I don’t have to keep a wallet with me all the time,” he said. “The last time I used cash, £40 went missing along with my work pass card.”

He paid £350, or about $394, to have the operation done in Germany. Just like the card in your wallet, the chip in Szoke’s hand will expire. He’ll need to undergo another, cheaper procedure to install its replacement in 2029.

The chip came from UK-based Walletmor, which sells what it calls the “world’s first entirely safe implant” for contactless payments online for just $250.

After you buy the microchip, you’re supposed to download a digital wallet app and schedule an appointment at a “medical aesthetics clinic” to have it implanted, according to the product listing.