FORGOTTEN your bank card? Is your phone out of charge? Don’t worry. You can still pay for that coffee. Just use your hand.

A British-Polish company Walletmor has launched the first microchip that can be inserted under the skin and then used to make contactless payments. It has sold more than 500 of such chips.

A microchip under the skin? That sounds really icky, no?

Any ickier than a pacemaker? It’s actually not a new development. Kevin Warwick, Emeritus Professor at the University of Reading, became the first human to host a microchip back in 1998.

But since last year Walletmor have been selling implantable payment chips which you can use to carry out contactless payments in the supermarket or at the garage.

How does it work?

In exactly the same way as when you use your phone to make a payment. Walletmor use “near-field communication” (NFC), which is also used in smartphones. Debit and credit cards use an alternative tech, radio-frequency identification (RFID).

How micro is micro, in this case?

The Walletmor chip weighs less than a gram and is slightly bigger than a grain of rice. This is typical of microchips that are inserted under the skin.

Do you mean there are more of them?

Yes, certain European countries are a little further down the line when it comes to this kind of human-tech crossover. In Sweden, for example, thousands of people have had microchips inserted into their hands. They provide access to homes, offices and gyms and can also be used to store emergency contact details, social media profiles or e-tickets for events and rail journeys.

In Sweden people have even hosted chipping parties.

Makes a change from tattoos and piercings, I suppose. Are there any concerns?

Well, yes, of course. People have raised security concerns over the idea of us all having personal information literally to hand (or literally in hand). However, proponents argue that a payment microchip is the equivalent of the fob in your car keys. That said, perhaps is it only a matter of time before we store our bank records and entry codes beneath our skin?

This is all a bit sci-fi, isn’t it?

Isn’t it just? It won’t be long before the bionic man, and woman, won’t be just an old TV series. And it might not even cost six million dollars. Time for a Lee Majors comeback?