finder.com.au unveils next generation smart bag to curb impulse spending: iBag2
- iBag2 uses custom technology to deter shoppers from impulsive spending
- Created in response to Australia’s staggering $52.22 billion credit card debt
- New research finds majority (79%) of Australian credit cardholders make unplanned purchases
25 August 2016, Sydney, Australia – Australia’s most visited comparison website finder.com.au today launched the iBag2, a programmable handbag designed to monitor impulsive spending and avoid buyer’s remorse.
The latest iBag is self-powered and comes with a more sophisticated locking mechanism since it was first launched in Australia in 2014.
creditcardfinder.com.au worked with a female-led team of engineers from Ireland to supercharge the robotic handbag which can stop people overspending in moments of weakness.
The Australian invention has drawn international attention since it was unveiled in New York this week.
The iBag2 (http://www.finder.com.au/ibag) emits physical cues through vibrations and flashing lights to refrain shoppers from impulse purchases. When they reach for their wallet, it self-locks as the owner nears a pre-programmed danger zone or during their most vulnerable spending moment.
The company created the smart bag in response to alarming signs that Australia’s credit card spending is out of control. Australian credit cardholders have set a new record debt of $52.22 billion as at June 2016, according to the latest Reserve Bank data analysed by finder.com.au.
Research commissioned by finder.com.au, surveying 1,078 Australians in April-May 2016, found that Australia’s credit card habits have worsened .
It revealed eight in 10 (79%) credit cardholders make unplanned purchases each month, averaging 4.11 purchases per month. Alarmingly, almost one in four (23%) don’t pay off their balance in full each month. There are over 16.5 million credit cards in circulation in Australia, according to Reserve Bank data, which means there are an estimated 3.8 million cards paying unnecessary interest.
Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at finder.com.au, says the survey results highlight the need for some credit cardholders to take extreme measures to curb their spending.
“Credit cards have the convenience factor, especially in case of emergency. However they need to be used responsibly and with a little more self-control.
“It’s concerning to see overspending continue with the average Aussie making 3.25 unplanned credit card purchases per month. Those who spend over $2,000 per month make even more impulsive purchases (5.97).
“These figures reveal that some Australian cardholders need to adjust their shopping habits which could be achieved through an extreme solution like the iBag2 to kickstart a spending detox,” she says.
“It forces them to be responsible for their spending habits in a way that no other fashion accessory has ever done.”
According to the study, the most common unplanned purchase is going out/entertainment (27%), followed by shopping sprees and emergency expenses (both at 20%), then unexpected bills (18%).
Australian women are less likely to pay off their credit card balance each month than men, while Gen Y (aged 18-34) are the most likely generation to have a credit card debt out of age groups.
Cardholders in New South Wales (NSW) are the biggest impulsive spenders, making on average 3.6 unplanned purchases on their credit card each month. It was followed by those in Queensland (QLD) with 3.4 unplanned purchases on average per month, then Victorians (VIC) with 3.3. South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA) had the most responsible credit card spenders, making 2.8 unplanned purchases on average per month.
Ms Hassan explains the smart bag is programmable to self-lock to physically deter shoppers from accessing their funds when they are nearing their favourite stores or during known hours of weakness.
“While the iBag2 will help you become more conscious of accidental shopping splurgers, it is a short-term solution.
“Knowing all the details about how a particular credit card works is key. Cardholders need to consider all the features, read the fine print, and understand how cards differ to make sure they choose the right one for their needs.
“It’s also a good idea to set yourself a budget and reconcile it with your statement at the end of the month to see how you’re tracking. Where credit card debt is concerned, one option is to consider balance transfer cards where you can transfer debt to another card with a much lower rate for a certain period of time.
“There are currently 137 credit cards which offer a full 0% balance transfer and no balance transfer fee on finder.com.au/balance-transfer-credit-cards. Of these, there are 83 cards offering an interest-free period of 12 months or more.”
Powered by an Arduino Uno microprocessor, the iBag2 features five components:
- A timer connected to electromagnets that lock the bag according to your most vulnerable spending moments;
- An RFID system connected to LED lights and vibration motors, which light up and vibrate each time your wallet is taken out as a reminder of spending goals;
- GPS tracking that warns you via amber lights and vibration when you are nearing one of your pre-programmed vulnerable spending zones;
- A locking function that turns on if you proceed to enter your danger zone;
- A bluetooth tracker Tile that will alert your phone through an app if the bag is a certain distance away from you.
The iBag2 also comes with a fast charging power bank, battery capacity of 10,000 mAh, with two USB ports (one to power the bag and one to charge your smartphone or any USB-chargeable device. It also includes a backup 9V battery attached to the microprocessor.)
The robotics for the iBag2 were custom-designed by a female-led team of engineers from Colmac Robotics Ltd in Ireland, and the bag’s couture design is by renowned New York-based designer Geova Rodriguez.
Images left to right: the bag’s two exterior designs; Arduino Uno microprocessor attached to GPS, which are both hidden inside the bag’s base.
The iBag2 is an upgrade of the original iBag which launched in Australia in 2014 (www.finder.com.au/ibag1), with a higher powered microprocessor and added features including couture design, vibration motors, electromagnets, sunscreen reminder and bluetooth tracker.
Australians can register their interest to order the iBag2: https://www.finder.com.au/credit-cards/ibag
Click here for our multimedia library which includes images and video: https://www.finder.com/ibag2-media-gallery
For further information
The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.
More than 3 million Australians turn to finder.com.au every month to save money, time and make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.
Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, we’ve helped our users make more than 17 million decisions.
We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.