08 Feb How One Startup is Working to Kill the Coin
Original Article By: Fintech Unltd
Bucket, a digital piggy bank platform, wants to take coins off your hands.
Pennies, nickels and dimes are a hassle, Bucket Technologies co-founder Daniel Kam says, as consumers have them stored in cumbersome jars around the house, often never lugging them off to the bank or coin machine. Much of the $415 billion in coins in circulation is lost or simply unused, his startup says. The average American loses track of about $200 a year—meanwhile $62 million in coins winds up in U.S. landfills.
The bucket platform helps solves that problem, says Kam. It collects change at a point of sale and dumps it into a bucket, or virtual piggy bank, to be cashed out later for purchase or to be donated to charity. Make a cash purchase at a store, as your normally would. Ask or select to “bucket the change” and you’d receive paper currency and a receipt, but no coins. So, if you’re due back $1.29, you’d only get the $1 and a scannable coupon or receipt for 29 cents. Once the Bucket account reaches $50, you can cash out by depositing the funds directly into your bank account, donate it all or partially to charity or put it on a reloadable Visa or MasterCard.
If you lose your receipt, however, you lose out. Although, Kam points out, chances are you’d lose that money anyway if you had it lying around at home.
Bucket, which formed in August, has nine employees. It’s launching early next year in northwest Arkansas, home for Wal-Mart and other yet-to-be disclosed partners, and in Singapore at the end of next year. It’s already working with Chick-fil-A in Arkansas, where president and co-founder Francis Hwang has already relocated from California. The startup’s proximity to the partner retailers allows Bucket to train merchants on the technology and work directly with them. Chick-fil-A, for example, wouldn’t sign until it was convinced that its customers would not experience any extra time at checkout. Bucket had to show them.
The startup raised $500,000 in funding from CCF Brands in Arkansas and seven high-net worth investors and is looking to raise $1.2 million more in seed money. There are no shortage of startups looking to making it easier to pay for purchases in a digital format but Bucket says it has an edge in that it empowers consumers and re-injects idle cash into the global economy.
“Most competitors are designing for the end-game,” Kam says.