VITAband is a cash/I.D. combo you wear on your wrist
By Ben Coxworth
February 6, 2012
There's one thing that everyone should have on their person when they venture off on solo outdoor activities - their I.D. That way, should they end up injured and unable to communicate, first responders will know who they are, and who to contact. While the various cards kept in one's wallet are a good form of identification, a lot of people don't want to lug a bulky wallet around in their pocket while doing things like running or rock-climbing. That's where the VITAband comes in. Not only does the waterproof bracelet provide a link to its wearer's full Emergency Response Profile, but it also allows them to make cash-free purchases.
For the I.D. function of the device, VITAband users go to the company website, where they create their profile. Along with basic information such as name, address and next-of-kin, they can also include data such as prescription history, existing medical conditions, drug allergies and insurance information.
When EMTs find a bracelet-wearer crumpled in a pile of climbing rope at the bottom of a cliff face (as an example), they will presumably notice the medical symbol on their VITAband, along with the toll-free phone number. Upon calling that number, they will then be instructed to provide that user's unique I.D. number, also displayed on the bracelet. This will allow them access to all of the information on their Emergency Response Profile.
Besides getting hurt, outdoor solo athletes sometimes also find themselves unexpectedly having to pay for things - these could include bike repairs, cab fare, band-aids, or that extra energy bar that they didn't think they'd need. For that reason, the VITAband also incorporates a Visa Prepaid Chip and Companion Card.
Users can load the card with anywhere from US$25 to $500, once again via the company website. As with PayPal, the card is linked to a funding source such as a debit card or credit card. It can then be used to make purchases, simply by waving it near an RFID-reading device at businesses that use Visa's payWave system. Although such contactless payment technology is certainly catching on with many retailers, it's hard to say just how likely it is that the corner store near your broken-down bike is going to be one of them.
The VITAband is available in two sizes and five colors, at a price of US$34.90 - that includes a a one-year subscription to the Emergency Response Profile service. Renewals cost $14.95 a year.