IBM helps to accelerate growth of charity micro-donation channel Pennies


 

Today Pennies, the electronic charity box, announces an agreement with IBM (NYSE: IBM) that will make enabling consumer micro-donation at the point of sale easier, quicker and more efficient for High Street retailers. IBM is playing an active part in the growing micro-donation movement by incorporating ‘Pennies donation’ functionality into the latest version of its EPS retail point of sale payment software.

Pennies is a simple idea that went live in November 2010. It is proving popular with consumers with more than half a million donations so far made through three participating retailers, with more poised to go live. The donations made to date – many under 10 pence – exceed £126,000, money that has benefitted 14 charities.

The Pennies electronic charity box has now been turned into reality for many more customers shopping on the high street thanks to IBM, which has worked with Smart Technology Solutions (STS) to develop a Pennies software solution for IBM retail customers that provides an easy way to donate money when paying in-store by credit or debit card. Now donating a few pence to charity through Pennies couldn’t be easier: consumers just press ‘YES’ on the Chip and PIN machine and their payment is automatically rounded up to the nearest pound sending the additional small change to charity. It’s quick: one small step in the payment process, it’s the consumers’ choice every time and it’s private too, there’s no pressure or commitment to give.

The ‘Pennies donation’ functionality uses EPS Chip and PIN technology already available at the point of sale so retailers who upgrade to IBM’s latest EPS software have the option to offer Pennies to their customers. Alternatively, retailers can simply take the Pennies component and integrate it into their existing version of the software. The convenience brought about by Pennies inclusion in this software means that retailers need to spend little time and effort managing the technology changes and can focus on the decisions which support and magnify their corporate responsibility strategy.

Commenting on the announcement, Stephen Leonard, Chief Executive, IBM UK and Ireland said: “Pennies has brought a great idea to fruition, helping to make a smarter use of technology to make donating to charity easier for people. Making things more relevant, easy and straightforward for our customers to deliver in more intelligent ways has been a core tenet of our business for 100 years. I’d encourage more retailers to get involved and help to drive micro-donations.”

Steve Turner, CEO of STS said: “STS is extremely proud to be part of the Pennies initiative. We believe that social responsibility should be a key area for businesses and supporting responsible charities is a great way of doing this. We are a technology company and it has been very satisfying to apply our technical skills in pioneering a solution with The Pennies Foundation that can benefit multiple charities.”

Also Alison Hutchinson, CEO of The Pennies Foundation, which created Pennies, said: “We are delighted that IBM has included the Pennies donation functionality in the latest version of its payments software. We have worked closely with IBM for some time with a view to providing retailers with a ready-made solution for Pennies. We see this as a springboard which will make a micro-donation option increasingly available through retailers. Since we launched the consumer response has been overwhelming with hundreds of thousands choosing to donate pennies to a range of charities through Pennies. We look forward to being joined by many more retailers in the coming months.”

 

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