It’s not often I watch the local news these days, nor do you see much on TV about payment technology, so imagine my surprise when I was fortunate enough to see BBC Midlands Today run a news story on Birmingham’s very own mobile payment startup, Droplet, last week.
Droplet is an app that allows you to load money onto your iPhone (an Android version is in the pipeline), and send money to your friends for free, or to pay for items in shops that accept it.
Payments to friends can be made with just an email address (they’ll also need Droplet on their phone though), whilst paying in shops and restaurants etc. is achieved by scanning a special bar code at the till. There’s a map of merchants who accept Droplet within the app.
To add funds to the app, you can deposit amounts in multiples of £10 from a debit card (so although Droplet is trying to circumvent the traditional banking system, it is still relied on to get the money onto the app in the first place). There’s no charge for adding funds.
Here’s a video explaining more about Droplet:
Droplet is currently in testing at over 60 merchants in Birmingham, with 2,000 users signed up. Plans are also under way to sign up Centro, Chiltern Trains, Hotel La Tour and Birmingham City University, whilst a deal is imminent with Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull to launch it in the first mixed retail space.
Now, one of the founders of Droplet, Steffan Aquarone, is going out to Silicon Valley in the US to raise funding from venture capatalists in order to push the tool nationwide.
Co-founder Will Grant said the team were thrilled with the response to the recent Beta Test in Birmingham: “When we started Droplet we genuinely didn’t know whether people would want to take part, but everyone’s been telling us how simple and easy it is to use and how they’re happy to try anything that’s not tied to the banks.
“Our model is unique. Instead of charging for payments, we make money if companies choose to offer extra services through the app. For example, we are working with some major organisations on projects ranging from parking your car to ordering drinks on the way to the theatre.”
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Confirmation of a payment:
Droplet is available for free in the app store.
- Droplet Signs Up Chiltern Railways & Airparks To Mark London Launch (March 21, 2013)
- Use PayPal To Send Your Friends Money On Facebook (November 18, 2011)
- SellSimply: Buy, Sell & Donate On Twitter (November 21, 2011)
- O2 Wallet: Yet Another Mobile Wallet (April 26, 2012)
- PayPal Here: Here In The UK “Soon” (March 16, 2012)