Hello everyone, I'm Tom, the founder of Streetpal. www.streetpal.uk
After working in the card payments industry for a number of years, I have become well aware that the number of people who carry cash is rapidly falling, a trend that has been accelerated by the Covid -19 pandemic. A victim of this transition is our 280,000 + homeless community, who still very much rely on cash donations from the public. It is about time we modernised the way we support them.
I initially explored if it was possible to give homeless people their own card machines to enable them to accept public donations, however, due to complex risk and fraud regulations, the banks wouldn't allow it. Further research concluded that 95% of homeless people have their own mobile phone, of which 80% are smart phones. Then came along the idea I am asking you all to back, the Streetpal app.
So what is Streetpal?
Streetpal is an app which facilitates contactless donations direct to homeless individuals. These donations will be automatically transferred into e- vouchers which can be used in local supermarkets. The purchase of alcohol and tobacco is excluded, so the public can rest assured their donation is being spent on necessities only. The app can be downloaded for free by both homeless individuals as well as the general public.
The two main ways of donating on the Streetpal app are:
QR code donation - In this instance, only the homeless individual needs to download the app.
Online donations - In this instance, the public will also need to download the app.
QR code donation
With a click of a button, the Streetpal app will produce a QR code which is specific to the user of the app. Any member of the public can scan this code using their smart phone. A donation page will pop up allowing you to choose how much you wish to give, and thats it. Once the payment goes through, the app will automatically convert this into an e-voucher, with which they can pop into a local supermarket to exchange for food, soft drinks, or clothing. The app settings will allow them to choose a supermarket that is most convenient for them.
Online donations require members of the general public to download the app as well. By doing so, they can search a postcode, for example, their home post code. This will bring up any homeless Streetpal users in their local area, and allow them to donate to an individual of their choice. Homeless Streetpal users will have the option to include a bio section to allow others to read their story. This will build a connection between the homeless community and the general public, encouraging repeat donations.
Benefits of the Streetpal app:
- Peace of mind that your donation can only be spent on essential items.
Unfortunately with donating cash, we all know that sometimes this money is spent on alcohol & drugs. With Streetpal, this issue is eliminated.
- Donations can be made in a matter of seconds
The modern world is a busy world, which is why Streetpal enables super fast transaction speeds to allow you to tap & go.
- People tend to donate more when it's contactless
-Research shows that people tend to spend more when paying via contactless technology, which is good news for those receiving the donation.
Our long term vision?
After rolling the app out UK wide, the long term plan is to release the app on a global scale. If we can make a difference to the 280 thousand homeless people in the UK, there are a further 150 million worldwide who could also benefit from using Streetpal. Eventually, we want the app to evolve so that it not only enables homeless people to purchase food & drink, but also helps them book accommodation.
Please give what you can so that we can make an app that really makes a positive difference!
QR code payments
- What does QR stand for?
- What is a QR code?
A QR code is basically a bar code with vertical and horizontal lines that contain data.
- What is a QR code payment and how exactly does it work?
QR code payment is a contactless payment method where payment is performed by scanning a QR code from a mobile app. Once the code is scanned and a donation amount chosen, the transaction is processed just the same as any other contactless payment, such as tapping your card on a card machine.
- Will the app be safe to make donations through?
Yes! The app will be using an FCA( Financial Conduct Authority) approved QR payment gateway so that you know you are safe to tap your phone to make a donation, as well as donating online.
- How will fraudsters be prevented from downloading and using the app to pose as a homeless person?
To sign up, individuals will need to provide verification, such as correspondence with a homeless shelter, local council, or homeless charity. We will work with our partners and the app developers to ensure the sign up process is fast and secure.
- Will there be a limit on how much an individual can receive in donations?
Yes. We will be working with the app development team and partners to ensure the app can not be abused. The core purpose of the app is to enable a homeless person to purchase an adequate amount of food and drink on a daily/ weekly basis, for themselves only.
- Where will the money raised go?
Most of the money raised will be going towards the development of the Streetpal app. Apps are expensive to develop, especially financial apps that facilitate transactions. The remaining amount will be spent on raising awareness of the app through advertising. Whilst Streetpal is a business, we care deeply about the homeless community & therefore we will match the 5% fee charged by Crowdfunder and donate 5% of the funds we receive from donations to Shelter and Crisis ( two very important charities).
- What costs will Streetpal incur and how will it profit?
There will be costs to keep running & updating the app, as well as transaction charges from the bank for each donation. Streetpal will therefore take a flat percentage of each donation to cover these costs as well as be profitable so that it can continue to evolve and improve. Once the app has been developed and tested, we can then work out the financial brackets we operate within and decide on a percentage that is both ethical and economically sustainable.
- How long will it take to develop the app?
Initial forecasts suggest 3-6 months, however app development is a very complex process and timeframes are constantly altered.
- Who will be developing the app?
We are in conversations with 3 very reputable London based development companies. Until we successfully crowdfund the target amount we respectfully will not be naming the chosen developer.
- How much will the app cost to develop?
Quotes that we have received and market research of other banking apps point to the £200,000 mark, however this can increase along the way subject to a wide variety of reasons. If the app development costs fall under £250,000, the remaining donations will go towards raising awareness of the app through advertising.
- How will the homeless find out about this app?
We intend to partner with multiple major homeless charities to spread the word and help homeless people download the app. We will also be using targeted advertising.
How can I get in contact with Streetpal?
If you have any questions or queries, please contact [email protected] and we will get back to you asap!