There is a trend for financial and retail companies to offer additional benefits at the checkout – whether it’s spreading payments for large purchases, insurance or charity donations. Some banks are offering ‘save the small change’ functionality, rounding the purchase up to the nearest dollar or pound and putting that change into a holding account.
I know a few people who collect small change (or a particular coin). Every day they put it in a jar, then at the end of the year they donate it to charity or buy themselves a gift. This is obviously harder to do with electronic payments at the moment.
With new challenger banking apps appearing on users’ smartphones, retail banks are starting to offer their customers value added services at the point of payment.
Enter Qapital, a great new mobile app from the USA spotted by a colleague in our US office. The land of consumerism has cracked the challenge of encouraging consumers to save rather than spend. Essentially, users set up Qapital to link to their payment cards and whenever they use a card, money is automatically rounded up either to the nearest dollar or $2 or $3 and so on.
They’ve gone one stage further and linked the app to Apple Health and even IFTTT. With Apple Health, a user can request that each time they walk a certain distance money is deposited into their Qapital app.
With IFTTT, the rules can be even more customised. Examples include “every time I take a photo with my phone deposit some money” or “each time I use a specific hash tag on Twitter deposit some money” – or deep integration with Strava and other cycling/ fitness tools.
Qapital’s business model is solid. They use the interest on users’ “savings” to fund the company. Both the company and user have the same goal – to keep the money in Qapital rather than being withdrawn.
I really like Qapital and am looking forward to it being released in the UK. I’ve often thought that each time I cycle or run into work, I should put the money I would have spent on the Tube into a separate bank account to see how much I’ve saved (or buy a nicer bike…). Qapital takes this to another level.