Started in 2019 in Portsmouth, Support Street is a new platform for cashless donations and payments. In a world where physical cash is disappearing at record levels, their mission is to help local charities and social enterprises to continue to receive donations and take payments for their events and services.
The technology is designed to be as secure, affordable and straightforward as possible. Unlike electronic card readers that must be purchased or rented and can be lost, stolen or damaged, Support Street uses QR codes that can be scanned by any smartphone.
Organisations are provided with laminated boards that show their branding and a unique QR code – anyone with a smartphone simply needs to scan the code to be taken to a profile page where they can read more about that organisation and make a donation or payment. They can pay with PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as credit and debit cards. For donations, Support Street can also capture gift aid details. All connections are encrypted and the payment details securely pass through a PCI-compliant gateway without being revealed to either Support Street or the organisation themselves.
A major benefit of this approach is the cost – the boards are very cheap to produce and replace, and can be left unattended in public places too. The QR codes themselves can also be printed on other surfaces such as posters, leaflets, and even t-shirts.
It’s our hope that this technology will prove hugely beneficial to the smaller charities and social enterprises struggling to keep up with cashless society Britain. From 1988 to 2018, the UK lost nearly two-thirds of its bank and building society branches – from 20,583 down to 7,586, and ATMs are disappearing by their thousands. We’ve now seen debit cards overtake cash as the UK’s favourite payment method, and alternative payment methods like PayPal are also hugely popular – Chris, Director
Support Street is currently free to use, with no upfront or monthly fees and no transaction fee. Their payment providers Stripe and PayPal do charge a standard processing fee, but this is not influenced by Support Street and they receive no benefit from it.
Our current plans are to partner with as many local organisations as possible and get the technology out there. We want to see what works and what doesn’t, and get as much feedback as possible. We don’t charge for our time or the service itself; we’re really just doing this to help the local community. In the future we would like to explore how we could make the platform more self-sustaining – perhaps ‘pro’ accounts with additional features, or advertising, but our ambition is to find a model that allows us to offer the core value of cashless donations and payments for free forever – Pat, Director