Automatic Transaction Roundup Giving is Here.
By Brad Beckstrom
Remember pocket change?
I used to have a ton of it. As an urban payer of tolls, connoisseur of food carts, dive bars and large beverages in convenience stores, there was never any shortage of it. It would spill out of my khakis and accumulate between the seats of my car or in the ashtray. I would also fill jars of it at home. I purchased my first mountain bike with a bucket of change that amounted to just over $500.
I chose my bank at the time because they had a free service where you could drop off your loose change and they would run it through a machine and then deposit a check into your account. Just picture The Frug walking into a hundred-year-old marble and mahogany bank on Capitol Hill with his mop bucket of change. If I didn’t have a business account with them they probably would’ve laughed me out of there.
The other element of living in DC was that there was always someone to give your change to. Our nation’s capital is home to a large homeless population. So I was the guy to talk to if you had a cardboard sign and you were looking for spare change. One roommate told me that giving money to panhandlers just fueled their addictions and that I should give in different ways. I thought sure, it would be nice if I could give out apples or muffins, but the change was there and a person who needed it was there. So why not? This was something extra.
Years later, things have changed. I am amazed by how little change or small bills I have. Nearly everyone takes credit cards now, swipe, tap, waive. It gets easier and easier. Faster and faster, no signature required. If you have a credit card that gives 2% cash back rewards, it makes sense to use it, as long as you pay off your bill in full every month.
In a few years, the actual card itself will be gone and we’ll simply be waving or tapping our phones to complete touchless purchases. Apps and services like Apple Pay have the potential to be a bad thing (spenders) but potentially a fantastic thing (savers and givers) Here’s why.
SwipeOut Hunger, SwipeOut Disease
SwipeOut is an app that links to your credit and debit cards. Once you add a single or multiple cards, the app will begin rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and puts that money towards a charity you choose when you setup your account.
Think about it. I believe this is an innovative and effortless way to give. Sometimes we forget to give and this helps, a few cents at a time. The total just shows up on your statement.
Once you get a feel for how much all that change is adding up to, you can adjust your monthly giving totals. At the end of the year you’ll get a nice recap email so you can use all those great contributions as a tax deduction. SwipeOut is in beta, here’s a video with more information on how to sign up.
Imagine for a second if #Apple, #Google and #Amazon were to add their own roundups as a simple option on all of the transactions they process for individuals and companies. This would quickly add up to billions of dollars even if the user opt in rate was less than 5%.
JCPenney alone raised over $1 million per month with its optional in-store transaction roundup for charity. The average transaction was rounded up by $0.44 and is effortless for the participants.
If you want to give to a different charity, you can use an app like Acorn. Acorn that applies the same roundup idea but deposits the money to an online investment account where it can grow. A great option for savers as well.
One thing I know about mobile apps is that if one is very successful, there will be 100 imitators. In this case, that will be a very good thing.