Electronic charity box teams up with IBM for donation solution


Pennies: IBM retail solution

Electronic charity box, Pennies, has teamed up with IBM to make consumer donations at the point of sale easier, quicker and more efficient for high street retailers.

IBM will incorporate a Pennies donation feature into the latest version of its EPS retail point of sale payment software.

Pennies went live in November 2010 and is reported to be proving popular with consumers. To date, more than half a million donations have been made through three participating retailers and more are poised to go live. The donations – many under 10 pence – exceed £126,000, money that has benefited 14 charities.

The Pennies software solution for IBM retail customers is said to provide an easy way to donate money when paying in-store by credit or debit card. To donate a few pence to charity through Pennies, consumers 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.

The Pennies donation feature 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.

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.”

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.”