How Charities Can Overcome the Challenge of a Cashless Society

October 4, 2016


What’s in your wallet? A steadily growing selection of credit, debit and loyalty cards? Your driver’s license? Your gym card? An ever-expanding bundle of receipts? But what about bills and coins? For most of us, the one thing that we’re carrying less and less of is cash.

The host of reliable payment alternatives available today has moved us towards a more cashless world. Credit and debit cards – contactless or not – and digital banking options have almost totally removed the need to wait in line at the bank or even pass by the ATM. For consumers, it’s made things more convenient. And banks are happier too. It’s made it possible for them to avoid the heavy costs associated with supporting cash by helping customers transition to cashless options.

But this shift away from bills and coins has not made life easier for everyone. It’s presented a real challenge to charities who rely on spontaneous in-person donations. The very fact that we carry less cash in our wallets has made us more reluctant to part with it. It’s especially problematic for people fundraising or collecting donations door-to-door, on the street or at events.

The average person in the US carries just $22 around with them. As a result, the little cash we do have in our wallets becomes more precious. We tend to hold on to it – saving it in case we encounter something that we can only pay for with cash.

The fact that people carry around less expendable cash with them is particularly challenging for individual or part-time fundraisers and smaller charities. Larger organizations may have the resources to provide their collectors with mPOS devices, but this is not possible or practical for people gathering funds in a more informal way.

Left without an alternative, people collecting donations often have to resort to a more analog solution: taking down potential donors’ credit card and banking details. Removing cash from the equation, therefore, turns a quick and anonymous action into a more time-consuming and intrusive transaction.

For charities, lengthening the time it takes for someone to donate and requiring them to offer up some element of their personal or private information can have a major impact. Not only does it mean that each individual donation takes more time to complete, it also diminishes the likelihood of someone actually making a donation in the first place. For many people, sacrificing time and personal information is a deal breaker.

Faced with the new reality of a more cashless world, charities need to harness a digital solution that enables donations to be made quickly and does not require the donor to share banking information. Such a tool must be an open-loop solution – meaning that only the person collecting donations needs to be signed up to the service.

Mobeewave’s technology can provide charities with the digital solution they need as it enables an individual to collect money, in person, from anyone, using just their phone. By leveraging a smartphone’s NFC capability and secure element, this technology makes it possible to safely accept money from a contactless card – or even a mobile wallet – with a single tap.

Beyond providing a digital solution to the problem posed by a cashless society, Mobeewave’s technology may even yield higher donations. Rather than being limited to the change they have on them, a donor could choose whatever sum they wanted and make the donation with a single tap of their credit card.

Mobeewave’s technology has already been harnessed to facilitate fundraising efforts. As part of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation’s 2015 ‘Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer’ tournament, Mobeewave partnered with Visa and Global Payments to offer the organizers the option to collect donations by a tap of a card on a mobile phone.

You can learn more about the technology here.

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