Three years later…

Blink and you miss it. Three years on from putting this blog to rest (do blogs ever die?), I decided I’m going to do something with it again. It will be sporadic (I am not kidding myself that there is anyone out there hanging on my every typed word). A parent now, my time is even more precious, and frankly I have been putting family first since 2014.

Nevertheless and never say never again, here I am. I thought I’d re-post something from LinkedIn just to fill the void…And already it’s a year out of date. Perhaps I’ll see you soon. Cheers, Rob

April 20 2016

This week I had the pleasure of attending a private dinner discussion organised by Consult Hyperion, independent consultants  in digital transaction technologies. My fellow diners were journalists at the cutting edge of fintech and payments, and leading the debate was the inimitable Dave Birch – Director of Innovation at Consult Hyperion, and internationally renowned in his own right for being a leading futureologist in this frantically paced field.

I was there representing Pennies – the digital charity box, a fintech charity that formed five years ago as most start-ups do; to remedy a problem that no-one else was considering. The problem? As consumers embrace cashless – using cards to buy everything from their morning cup of coffee, a round of drinks (or three) on a Friday night, to big splurges on designer goods and holidays – where is the spare change that might once have gone in a charity box? And while we’re at it, where are the charity boxes?

Time and again, the UK public proves to be uniquely generous in their charitable giving, but fewer people (following somewhat of an annus horribilis for charities) are as chuffed to hand over their data with their donation.

Pennies solves that neatly by placing the opportunity to round up / top up digital spare change on the end of a purchase – for charity – as part of that transaction. Neither Pennies, nor the charities that will recieve this cashless currency will be privy to the information associated with that payment card. No follow up calls, mailings or emails.

This new ecosystem of secure, simple and data-free giving by card, combines payments technology, retailers, charities – with a little honest-to-goodness nudge culture to ask customers, ‘could you give a little?’. After all you’ve not even seen this virtual dosh transmit from your pocket to the retailer. Who’s going to miss 23p (or whatever) on a card purchase?

I’m so proud that through my line of work, I get to not only support and celebrate the indisputable good work of hundreds of UK charities, but I get a free ticket to the cutting edge of fintech for good.

The next solution, on its way this year, is for (limited) contactless to be able to offer Pennies; it’s currently only Chip and Pin. And from there, it will surely be wearable fintech technology like bPay bands and smartwatches.

Dave Birch, in his excellent and very readable Identity is the new money, states that in the UK, coins and notes in circulation make up a mere 4.5% of the broad money supply – meaning almost all money is already electronic. This is a fascinating stat when thinking about the future of payments, identity – and charity giving.

For more reading on money potentially losing its physicality for good, and what that might mean for our identities, pick up Dave Birch’s book [Amazon link].

And please do consider giving your digital small change a big purpose, by donating via Pennies when you see it in-store, online or in apps.


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