Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 16, 2011 01:58 PM
Two years ago, we reported that the Salvation Army, a charitable brand best known for its red kettles and bell ringers that appear outside stores during the holiday shopping season, was implementing credit card processing in 120 U.S. cities. The reason? Shoppers just didn't seem to carry much disposable cash around anymore.
The experiment was a bold one for an organization that started 150 years ago. Truth be told, it wasn't a smashing success. Major George Hood of the Salvation Army tells the New York Times, "The credit card terminals really haven't been a blockbuster, I'll be candid. The winter elements have been a negative, people have to go through a process of entering data, and it's just generally more cumbersome."
But that isn't stopping the Salvation Army from keeping up with the times. During this year's holiday shopping season, the kettles will be ever-present, but the Salvation Army hopes to cash in on a new idea — a variation on accepting credit cards that should make it much easier for the consumer.
In ten locations in Chicago, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco, Salvation Army bell ringers will be equipped with Android smartphones, donated by Sprint Nextel, that have a kind of micro-terminal attached to them powered by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey's Square.
Consumers simply swipe their debit or credit card through Square and their donation of any amount they choose goes to the Salvation Army. The tiny reader is portable and allows secure transactions, just like any retail credit card terminal. As the Salvation Army noted in a blog post, "With more families in need of Salvation Army services this year than ever before, we hope implementing this new technology will provide ease and incentive for new and existing donors."Continue reading...