Within a few years a service will be available that will allow consumers to pay for merchandise using a microchip embedded beneath their skin. The VeriChip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is Applied Digital’s new subdermal chip that could someday replace the use of all credit and debit cards. Instead of standing in long checkout lines customers could make purchases by scanning themselves with special readers. Although the VeriChip holds the possibility of added convenience, there are already problems on the horizon. The most obvious one is the squeamishness of potential users, as customers will have the VeriChip embedded in their skin, which means elective surgery. Also, Applied Digital is attracting attention from some fundamentalist Christians whobelieve the Verichip relates to the biblical “mark of the beast.” It is said that Satan will someday force people to “receive a mark” on their foreheads or hands in order to purchase or sell goods. Applied Digital officials say such concern is unfounded because people have a say in whether they want to have the chip surgically implanted (http://www.mercola.com/2003/dec/6/verichip.htm#).