A Tattoo-Based Mobile Payment System May Be Coming

April 18, 2016         By: Steven Anderson

Mobile payment systems have come a long way.

First there was cash, and then checks. Cards stepped in next, and the cards migrated to phones, and now most recently we have wearable devices.

There have been complaints about the wearables being too clunky to really be used, however, and that’s leaving some users looking forward to the next platform: a mobile payment system built around a unique tattoo.

The product of a partnership agreement between MC10, a healthcare firm, and a product solution design firm known as PCH, the end result will produce a set of wearable devices so thin and flexible that it can be applied directly to the skin.

Stretchable and disposable, the end result is to be based on MC10’s Wearable Interactive Stamp Platform, which itself was originally designed as a means to monitor patients’ vital signs, at last report.

This isn’t the first time something like this has come out, though; back at CES 2016, MC10 looked to L’Oreal to bring out a skin-mounted wearable known as the BioStamp Research Connect.

This device contained many standard devices found in mobile phones, including gyroscope and accelerometer, as well as some unexpected bonuses like an electrocardiogram and galvanic skin response system.

With this kind of technology, it might be possible to install a near-field communications (NFC) system that allows payments to be made between the device and terminals in stores.

However, right out of the gate, this design will have serious problems with its image.

It strikes very close to home in some Christian populations, who will almost certainly see this kind of things as the “Mark of the Beast,” a system warned against in the Bible.

While it won’t take long for others to point out that that system obligates use in order to buy or sell, and since a wearable tattoo-based system isn’t compulsory, it can’t really be the Mark, it might just hit too close for a large number of users to be interested in.

Still, the idea is interesting enough—particularly if its sewn into a shirtsleeve or the like instead—and may well represent a major advance in wearable payments technology.