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As payment technology continues to develop towards electronic methods and away from physical currency, a particularly vulnerable section of society is being left behind. For obvious reasons, most homeless people are unable to accept card-based transactions and still rely on cash donations. An innovative new coat is currently being tested in Amsterdam that will hopefully improve this situation.
In the Netherlands, it is becoming increasingly rare for people to carry around loose change or even bank notes. In fact, many shops and cafés now refuse physical payments or at least encourage customers to use their bank cards rather than handing over legal tender. Over the past few years, many Dutch banks have also introduced contactless payment options, meaning that small transactions can be taken care of instantaneously and cash is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Therefore, it is significantly less likely for passersby to hand out spare change to homeless people on the street, simply because they aren’t carrying anything other than their bank cards. To tackle this growing problem, a pair of Dutch advertising professionals put their minds together and created a new way for homeless people to collect donations – a large, winter coat that is equipped with contactless payment technology.
This garment is fitted with an LCD screen that instructs potential benefactors and enables homeless people to indirectly receive a €1 bank transfer. Although this money is eventually given to the coat’s wearer, it is actually sent to an official homeless center, where it can be exchanged for food or lodging. Apart from these necessities, wearers can also choose to save their donations and put aside funds for housing opportunities or vocational training.
The coat is currently being tested out in Amsterdam, and if these trials prove successful, it will hopefully start appearing in more cities in the near future.