We’ve written before about the initiatives becoming available for homeless people to give them the opportunity to take donations and payments in a society that is increasingly cashless.
People just don’t tend to carry cash very often anymore, if at all. That doesn’t mean however that people don’t want to give charitably. What needs to change, and is changing is the way we approach accepting donations and mobile payments.
You’ve probably heard of PayPal’s solution to this issue – iZettle. They’ve done some high profile trials with the homeless across London and Bristol, as well as Sweden and seen successful results.
The Big Issue helps homeless and other vulnerable people start, in essence, their own enterprise, giving them the opportunity to earn money through their own small business. They buy in copies of the magazine, and then sell it on at profit. By equipping their vendors with these payment card readers they are acknowledging the trend in cashlessness and giving people an alternative way of paying.
Vendors saw their sales increase for one simple reason – They were giving people the option of paying by card. By offering this service, they are attracting more people to buy copies of the magazine that possibly wouldn’t ordinarily choose or be able to.
Only 30% of UK transactions use cash, and with this figure expected to drop to 10% in the next 15 years, mobile payment technology is vital for helping the homeless and other charitable organisations keep the donations coming in.
There are some big pluses for digital payments:
- They’re quick and convenient
- Can discourage tax avoidance
- Enable sellers to be less susceptible to robbery
However, whilst the iZettle has undoubtedly opened a window of opportunity to increase sales via card, it isn’t a solve-all solution.
There are some obstacles that this technology can face. And fortunately, Donater’s Smart Sticker technology can overcome them.
Obstacle: Bank Accounts
iZettle technology relies on the vendor having a bank account for the money to go to. This is very difficult if you have no fixed address or proof of identity as banks have to adhere to anti-money laundering processes which demand proof of residence and ID. This then becomes a bit of a vicious circle – Homeless people cannot get a bank account to save money to help get them off the street, because they need an address to get the bank account in the first place. For this reason, the people chosen for the pilot study already had bank accounts.
There are ongoing talks with banks about how homeless people and other vulnerable members of society could get bank accounts without a fixed address in order to try and better their life, but it isn’t clear how this will happen yet.
Donater Smart Stickers don’t have this issue. We could provide a homeless person with a Smart Sticker which would enable someone to donate using their smartphone. The money would then go to a homelessness charity we are partnering with, enabling the money to be used for good and directly benefit the homeless people in that area.
Technological services like iZettle that enable cashless payments tend to charge large fees for transactions. If you are a business then these fees might not be too troublesome, but for homeless people and charitable organisations, every penny counts to the cause.
Donater don’t charge large fees to use the Smart Sticker technology. When we help organisations with our stickers, they receive more of the money. This is because we have special agreements in place with payment providers, meaning that we don’t have to pass large charges down to the people who need the money most.
Unfortunately, we do live in a society where we often hear about cards being swiped, personal information being stolen, and people being defrauded out of their hard earned money. This has happened to most people in some way, therefore it makes sense that people can be wary of using their card on the street, particularly with people or organisations they don’t know.
Using our Smart Stickers is a safe way of making mobile payments. This is because the transaction takes place on your own device – Your smartphone – rather than the vendors device. They merely provide the Smart Sticker – You scan it with your phone and pay safely knowing that everything is encrypted and your details are safe from being stolen.
The world is changing. There will always be a place for cash, but with a global trend for digital payments on the rise, mobile payment technology is becoming increasingly important, in particular for charitable organisations who rely on donations.