Carrying cash is going the way of the boombox. While some research might tell us that 40% of all consumer transactions are still done in cash, watching people cycle through a Starbucks for an hour will tell us that most consumers are choosing plastic over paper.
A reality which presents an issue for tipping, as Dr. Hector Rodriguez and his wife Maria Luna discovered after hiking in Utah. They wrapped up their tour and had no cash to tip the guide. So the guide got stiffed and the couple vowed to help others avoid a similar penny-pinched fate.
This past December they launched Bravo, a proximity-based payments application. The idea behind the software is to offer service professionals an easy alternative to banking entirely on cash. Its knockout feature is that because of its GPS technology, no personal information needs to be exchanged between the parties to facilitate a transaction. No email addresses, no goofy transit numbers, no hassles.
When the app is opened, it just searches for enrolled pros in range. The customer picks the desired pro, picks the amount and then the transfer is made immediately.
The consumer user has already stored their credit/debit card number, and the professional user has already stored their baking information. The exchange is triggered right away and most deposits are completed within 24 hours. A small “convenience fee” is tacked on the consumer’s tip and cut back to Bravo’s team of three.
And just in case you have Scrooge’s remorse, there is a search function in the app that also lets you find and pay people that aren’t close by.
The app now has thousands of users including valets, baristas and bands and won the “Wildcard” award at this year’s Disrupt SF conference.
Which is what makes this app so exciting; the wildcard factor.
Bravo has nothing but upside and if positioned, expanded and managed effectively, could stir up some great big changes in the world of money exchange. Not just with service professionals, but literally everyone.
The founders say that they are now working with several charities to help them accept digital donations and hope to grow the application into the world of peer-to-peer payments. But as far as I can tell, marketing is the only thing in the way of Bravo already being a peer-to-peer celebrity.
There is no particularly good reason why I shouldn’t download this app. The same goes for my friends. Especially the ones who make a habit of posting up ludicrous turnaround times for debt payments.
You’ll get me the money “sometime this week”?
How about right now instead? If you’re selectively broke, this might just fix you.
Ben is a Toronto-based writer and public speaker with more than a soft spot for 90s hip hop. He has spent over 10 years in business & tech, more than 20 in the arts, and an entire lifetime in a state of perpetual judgment (highly recommended). He is the author of the blogs This Is Your Brain on Dating and Love Gone Cray and can be found pontificating on Thought Catalog, Notable.ca, The Toronto Standard, Offline Magazine, Gasm.org and Huffington Post.
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