I’d Put a Chip in Me to Keep My Wallet at Home
“That’s ridiculous,” said one of my friends. “And lazy. It’s crazy that people would do this just to buy some snacks.”
Another friend whom I go rock climbing with was unabashedly enthusiastic when I asked her about it.
These are just two of the most opposite responses I got after chatting with my friend about the news that employees at a Wisconsin-based company called Three Square Market are getting “chipped.”
By chipped, we’re talking about grain-sized radio-frequency ID (RFID) chips, which are injected between the thumb and the forefinger. And of the 80 employees at Three Square, 50 are voluntarily agreeing to put this chip into their body to remove inconveniences from their life.
Chipped employees will no longer need passwords for their work computers, or security cards to unlock doors or copy machines. Also, employees can use the snack room without cash or a credit card … they can just pick a snack up, and it’ll be automatically billed to him or her. That’s because Three Square Market is a self-checkout technology company.
Three Square Market’s customers are companies that provide self-checkout snack rooms … so, of course, getting self-checked-out is really the main benefit of getting chipped for the employees.
Now, many people are against these kinds of technologies, usually because of privacy concerns. However, when you look back at history, the pessimists have been utterly and completely wrong on technological developments.
For example, Conrad Gessner, a respected Swiss scientist, worried about information overload in the 1500s … when books were beginning to be published more commonly.
In 2005, CNN reported that using email makes you dumber and hurts your IQ more than smoking pot.
Freedom From Wallets
Truthfully, we are always afraid of new technology, and the media loves to frighten us about new technology. It’s only in hindsight that we see all the benefits that a technology brings us.
This is why I’m skeptical of media stories that question new technology that can make our lives better … especially when it comes to something that’s as frequent as paying for things, like how RFID chips are being used.
Each week, I take my wallet out and then pull out a credit card or cash 30 times or more. Personally, I’d love to leave my wallet at home, and walk into a store or restaurant and leave without having to pull out my wallet, choose credit card or cash, and then pay.
The bottom line for me on this is that there is a revolution brewing in financial technology. And it’s clear that many people are ready to throw off old ways in terms of paying for things in order to have greater convenience, and the freedom of being able to do things without a wallet or a form of payment.
I believe that this revolution is already underway … as the employees at Three Square are demonstrating by volunteering to be chipped. This is why I have a stock in my Profits Unlimited portfolio that benefits from this trend. This stock is up by nearly 50% in about seven months … and I’m researching a number of others to add in the months ahead.
Editor, Profits Unlimited
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I’ve been investing for more than 25 years. I started my career on Wall Street in 1991 as an assistant portfolio manager at Bankers Trust. I quickly advanced to prominent positions at Deutsche Bank and ING, managing multimillion-dollar accounts. In 2006, the owners of a $6 billion firm named Kinetics Asset Management recruited me to manage their hedge fund.