Google, PayPal, Visa, American Express — they’ve all jumped on the mobile digital wallet train as a way to usher in commerce through their electronic platforms and reinvent how people pay for items and services. With more than 100 million users of its virtual purse, PayPal predicts the physical wallet will cease to be carried by the year 2015. And as digital currency transactions begin to proliferate the consumer market, merging opportunities for non-profits to create more successful fundraising campaigns with corporate sponsors are ripe for the taking.
In the same vein that online donation destinations and text-to-give initiatives, like MobileCause, have raised millions for natural disaster relief, mobile digital wallets can be used to make contributions at any digitally connected businesses that promote philanthropic programs. The seamless transactional value of digital wallets is extremely convenient for donors and organizations. Many people interested in donating to a cause through a website may be concerned with having to enter their contact and credit card information or with receiving follow-up phone calls that some text-to-give campaigns require in order for financial information to be verified.
The luxury of mobile digital wallets is that they contain all of that information in one protected place, which eliminates any multistep process that may deter prospective charitable gifts. Just as phone carriers facilitate SMS donations, players in the digital wallet space can partner with retailers and brands to promote and expedite transactions for social good. In addition to circumventing the aforementioned issues, mobile wallets can potentially send alert messages, reminding people to make donations with nothing more than a tap on their smartphones.
One of the biggest issues a number of fundraising efforts and charities face when it comes to mobile giving is the enormous decrease in attention to a cause as soon as buzz of a tragic incident or big campaign begins to die down. By partnering with mobile digital wallet providers, non-profits could foreseeably seek micro-donations from users on a regular basis. Since a number of people around the world have their checking accounts set up to allocate electronic funds on a monthly basis, why couldn’t the same concept be applied to digital currency for non-profits?
The Major Players
For a deeper understanding of philanthropic possibilities via mobile wallet, here’s a look at four of the major platforms.
Google Wallet: Using near-field communication (UNFC) technology, the Google Wallet mobile app enables shoppers to make payments by waving their smartphones over cash register scanners. With Google Wallet, checking out at a brick-and-mortar store becomes nothing more than tapping a phone at the point of purchase. On the charitable front, retailers could team up with Google, brands, non-profits, or all three, to process donations made at check out registers.
PayPal: PayPal has joined the competition in the physical retail world by developing a way for consumers to pay for products by entering their mobile phone numbers along with a pin number. PayPal also happens to be trusted by many non-profit users for processing credit card payments and checking transactions. Perhaps, the same organizations that have already-existing PayPal relationships could use PayPal’s answer to the digital wallet for processing and receiving funds.
Visa’s V.me: Visa’s solution to the virtual wallet, V.me, allows users to connect to other monetary sources, such as credit cards, and make payments without ever giving the seller any personal information, thus making online mobile purchases quick, easy and secure. All consumers have to do to make a transaction is sign into V.me with their username and password. Visa is also rolling out an innovative product designed to enable cellphone users in the developing world to make mobile payments.
American Express’ Serve: American Express has dished out it own version of the digital wallet with Serve. Using Amex’s security and data systems, Serve makes digital transactions possible by bringing multiple payment options together into a single account that can be funded by bank accounts, debit cards and charge cards. The American Express Members Give program connects people to one million different non-profits and allows Amex cardholders to make recurring donations throughout the year. Imagine how much more tractions the campaign would get if it enabled users to donate via Serve?
Ultimately, all of these mobile wallet services have the ability to empower corporate social responsibility initiatives as well as amplify the fundraising efforts of non-profits that have aligned missions.
Overall, any currency trends that penetrate the digital consumer market can be adopted by fundraisers worldwide, and non-profits who take advantage of the increase and potential of mobile wallet transactions will see their charitable giving numbers rise equally as high.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, coreay
More About: american express, corporate social responsibility, google wallet, mobile payments, non-profits, paypal, Social Good, Visa
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