Ain’t Gonna Shop On Saturday

Fark links to this BBC article about Bank Leumi developing a credit card which will not work on Shabbat.
First, I’m curious how would this apply to people traveling overseas or for Internet purchases? Does it go by Shabbat in Israel or where the purchase was made?
On a more serious note, I have no idea what the point of this is. The Orthodox don’t shop on Shabbat – or at least shouldn’t.1 Secular Jews (or clever Orthodox) will either use a different card – either from Bank Leumi or someplace else or just use cash or cheque. Certainly if the bank forces all clients to use the restrictive card, they would only increase the animosity towards the Orthodox.
Provided that the bank doesn’t force people to use the cards, this plan seems fairly innocuous. If it makes you happy, go for it – certainly no issurim are being violated by having it. However, I’m troubled by this quote: “Reports also say it may not work on any day in shops which do not honour the Sabbath.”
I have no idea how they would manage to do this from a technical perspective. The only thing I can think of is that “certain authorities” would create a blacklist and send that in to Bank Leumi. I can’t even begin to enumerate the problems with such a system (think corruption, fights over authority, payoffs, blackmailing, etc.)

1. Perhaps it’s like the content cell phones and the Orthodox can’t be trusted to be shomer Shabbat on their own such that they need external techinical restrictions to keep them on the proper path.

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5 Comments

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