Jeffrey R. Powlowsky Develops New App to Prevent Drunken Purchases

Jeffrey R. Powlowsky, a young entrepreneur and IT developer, has created a system that aims to stop people from making purchases they will regret when they have had too much to drink. He has joined forces with financial consultants to create an app that connects to an individual's credit card, stopping him or her from making strange purchases.

"The concept is quite simple," says Powlowsky. "You tell the app what you intend to drink that night, which then gets converted into units. The app is linked to wearables with a breathalyzer, which you need to use after each drink. The app then monitors how much you've had, and how that compares to what you said you would have."

Once the app notices that the user has reached the limit that has been specified, all credit cards that are linked to the app get locked. Users can indicate whether they want to stop their card for any and all payments, or only from specific businesses such as restaurants, clubs, or online auction sites. When the block comes into force, it remains in place for a 12 hour period.

Jeffrey Powlowsky explains: "In effect, the cards are blocked as soon as you activate the app, because they will only work if you use the breathalyzer and are still under the limit. If you go over the limit, you won't be able to use your cards."

To ensure that people do not get stranded after a night out, the app also has a "Help Me" feature. This is linked to the Uber app, for which payment cards will once again be unlocked. In so doing, regardless of how much people had drank, they can always get home.

Jeffrey R. Powlowsky developed the app after he wrote a thesis on digital disruption. He got together with various blue chip financial businesses and with a group of innovators, including research scientists and data scientists. He started a fintech business after graduation, and this is his first product. He says: "When I was at university, I saw just how silly people can get when they have had too much to drink, myself included. I completed a piece of research that showed 50% of people aged between 18 and 34 had made purchases while drunk that they came to regret. This prompted me to create something to prevent this from happening."

Powlowsky is currently in discussion with a variety of card providers and banks, encouraging them to sign up to the new technology. He hopes that, within the next year, the app will be rolled out across the board. His goal is to sell the app to financial institutions, who can then provide it to their customers for free. Powlowsky adds: "I have already had quite a bit of interest from card providers and banks. But mainly, I have had a lot of positive responses from regular people, who feel there really is a need for this type of app."

The app is not just a gimmick, but rather backed by science. As part of his thesis, Jeffrey completed a piece of academic research that included behavioral economics. This revealed two key themes. The first was that, when people had credit cards or other forms of 'invisible cash', they are more likely to spend more. This was confirmed by various other researchers, including prominent psychologists.

Secondly, Jeff Powlowsky found that computers are great influencers, affecting what people do and think. He worked together with a Persuasive Technology Lab on this, demonstrating that computer technology can encourage people to take out certain insurance, or stop smoking, for instance. In fact, this has been called 'Captology', which is now a recognized issue that is being extensively researched at Stanford University and other educational institutions. In fact, a Wikipedia article has already been written on the subject.

Powlowsky says: "The app I am developing is a new piece of technology that aims to change the way people behave when they are intoxicated. I want people to see it as on par with a blood sugar monitor for people with diabetes, or a blood pressure monitor for people with hypertension. The goal of those devices is to alert people about the fact that something isn't right, and this then motivates them to take a different action."

A new piece of research has recently been produced on the reasons why people overspend when they are intoxicated. This has further motivated Jeff, as it has confirmed that there is a clear need for people to have some outside help to stop them from making strange purchases.

Source: Jeffrey R. Powlowsky


Categories: Entrepreneurship, Mobile and Smart Phones, NightLife

Tags: Jeff Powlowsky, Jeffrey Powlowsky, Jeffrey R. Powlowsky