Android Powered Bell Ringers
There are many staples that come along with the holiday season. From yule logs to stockings, and even ugly sweaters, there are many recognizable icons that make Christmas what it is. This year however, one staple is going tech. The Salvation Army is dispatching their bell ringers with Android phones equipped with mobile credit card readers.
In the past years The Salvation Army has seen the times change. With most shoppers carrying credit cards instead of cash, there has been a decline in funds collected during the holidays. To help increase donations, The Salvation Army has decided to turn to tech and the growing popularity of mobile payment systems. They are testing the use of Square, a mobile payment company, to allow shoppers to swipe their credit cards and give a donation.
The Android phones have been donated by Nextel and will have the small postage stamp-sized card readers from Square. There will be two apps involved, one for Square and one for The Salvation Army. After the bell ringer gets the attention of the shoppers, the only thing they need to do is swipe their card and sign. The donation will automatically deposit into The Salvation Army’s bank account. The Salvation Army is confident the new method will increase the amount of donation due to the tech appeal and convenience. It will also reduce the amount of theft involved with collecting cash in small amounts.
This is not the first time The Salvation Army attempted to collect donations via credit cards. A few years ago the organization launched donation kiosks which allowed people to use credit cards. However, with cold weather conditions and the amount of time it took to process payments, it was not a big success.
Though The Salvation Army will be the largest non-profit organization to integrate this technology, it won’t be the first. Advertising Age reported on a Girl Scout troop in California that used a mobile payment system to sell around 400 boxes of cookies at Facebook’s headquarters earlier this year.
The Salvation Army plans to have the Android powered bell ringers at 10 locations each in Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. This year will still be a testing phase to see how the public reacts to the new donation method and whether it will increase donations. If all goes well, the sound of coins dropping in the bucket may be a faded memory in the oncoming years.
Square launched in 2010 and hit the ground running. Their small credit card reader has interested many investors, allowing Square to raise $100M in financing to get their company started. With the growing popularity in smartphones as a business solution, it was only a matter of time before they included point of sales. Now your phone can do it all.
Author : Scott Parker writes for an Australian comparison website, which gives side-by-side rates for all the popular credit cards as well as listing savings accounts with high interest offered by online banks.