ChangeJar, an Ottawa-based mobile solution to carrying pesky coins, has just added two mainstream functions that its founder says will rapidly help with user adoption.
The ChangeJar app lets users pay merchants using the service with cash and then, instead of getting back quarters and dimes, receive change into an anonymous digital wallet on their phone.
Now, that jar of digital change can be loaded by Interac e-transfers thanks to a partnership the firm has set up with the massive fintech institution. Users can send e-transfers to a pre-set email as a way to automatically send money from their bank account to their mobile ChangeJar.
That digital wallet can now also be connected to Facebook Messenger through a bot the Ottawa firm has developed, allowing Facebook Messenger users to send and receive cash from their contacts without ever downloading the app. Searching for ChangeJar on Messenger will allow users to activate a built-in extension to send money.
Founder and CEO Tom Camps says ChangeJar is currently the only mobile cash solution on the Messenger platform anywhere in the world. Camps says that, combined with the fact that Messenger users don’t even have to download the ChangeJar app to have a digital wallet with the service, will speed up the onboarding process for new users.
“1.3 billion (monthly) Facebook Messenger users in the universe could just type ‘ChangeJar’ into their search bar and get ChangeJar,” he tells Techopia.
Camps adds that ChangeJar Pay, the solution integrated with Messenger, is being tested on three other messaging apps. Once those applications are live, funds from a single ChangeJar account can be sent across apps with a quick message on any platform, allowing friends to settle up debts or pay for a group purchase from a single person’s phone.
While the solution itself seems simple, reaching this point was no easy task.
“This thing has been defined by hurdles,” Camps says.
Facebook, for example, is tricky for developers because at any one time, there are thousands of versions of the social media platform operating around the world as its developers test new designs and functionalities.
“You’re writing for a platform that can, at any point in time, have multiple versions.”
Camps concedes that e-transfer fees could prove a barrier to entry for some ChangeJar users, but he believes that forward-thinking banks might waive those fees in the future, as some already do.
Now, with a version of ChangeJar’s application fully operational with both Facebook and Interac, Camps says the firm is ready to aggressively tackle its target market.
Bake sale change
ChangeJar launches this week at Carleton University, an opening for the firm to reach a demographic that Camps believes will be early adopters: millennial students.
Its partnership is not with the university itself, but rather with the Carleton University Students Association, which operates a number of businesses on campus including a convenience store, a cafe and a bar. ChangeJar functionality will be available at each of the CUSA-run businesses.
Beyond formal storefronts, the students association hosts a number of clubs and societies that could make use of ChangeJar in their fundraisers. Clubs often solicit donations through events such as bake sales, which rely heavily on customers having spare change to pay for cupcakes.
Assuming a mass adoption of ChangeJar on campus, clubs could go mobile and push their sweets on students whether they’ve got coins on hand or not.
“At the simplest level, all you need is a phone at the bake sale and they can take the transaction.”