1. Milk Money Molly
Synopsis: In this story, Michelle, Molly’s mom, registers Molly’s phone for CommunityVcash through the new feature on her updated mobile banking app. This allows Molly to download funds up to authorized limits set by Michelle for Molly to be able to use in and around school and town versus having to give her cash which Molly could lose, have taken from her, and/or spend on without knowing what it was really used for. Many others parents and students at the school as well as merchants around the community have started to use CommunityVcash as well and the banks offering this service have noticed a huge increase of adoption of their mobile banking app since the addition of CommunityVcash.
Full Story: Molly is 10 years old and has had an iPhone for the last two years. Her parents struggle with the fact that they are promoting the use of a smart phone with their child at such a young age. Their decision was not made based on Molly’s friends having similar devices, but based on the fact that they live in the suburbs of Baltimore County and Molly waits to be picked up on a rural bus stop. Molly’s mom Michelle feels the phone decision was a way of providing safety to Molly. Molly sends a text to Michelle when she is reaching her destinations to and from school daily. Molly, like other Gen Zs have grown up with phone technology and uses it daily to communicate with friends, and play games.
Molly each day buys milk at school for lunch. On days that Michelle is needed at work early she gives Molly cash to pay for her lunch at school. Michelle also at times needs to send cash with Molly for school fundraisers, club fees, and other school activities. Molly has sometimes lost her money. She has also had it taken from her by Mean Mildred, although the money was returned it was quite the ordeal.
Michelle’s Bank has recently sent her information about a new service she could utilize to make payments within her mobile banking app. The new service allows for Michelle to download funds to Molly’s phone. The service is called CommunityVcash, since it is mobile cash which can be in and around the community. The bank explains the funds are available for use even if the phone is not connected to the Internet. They explain that they even have a way to recover the funds if her phone is lost or damaged. Although Michelle is not often in an area without Internet access she wonders if she could use this service to give Molly her school funds. She likes the idea of not giving Molly cash because she feels Molly would be less likely to lose the money and would not make her a future target for Mean Mildred. She also would like to send the money to Molly’s phone once she receives the text that Molly has reached the school. She thinks this would have been a great way to get Molly cash when she forgot to give Molly money the morning of her school trip to the zoo. MIchelle is able to enable Molly to download CommunityVcash for pre-set limits she can authorize through her mobile banking app. Michelle can also opt to be notified of all of the transactions in and out of the cash on the phone. She loves this ability to monitor appropriate use of these funds and help Molly learn about proper spending.
Michelle decides she will call the Bank today to discuss options, security and safety for Molly. Once Molly started using CommunityVcash, this started to go viral around the community. Many others parents and students at the school as well as merchants around the community have started to look into and use CommunityVcash. The banks offering this service have noticed a huge increase of adoption of their mobile banking app since the addition of CommunityVcash.
2. Farm-to-Table Fred
Synopsis: This is a story about Fred, who shops for what he needs for his Farm-to-table meals sold off of his food truck and then begins to expand through bike couriers who can deliver the orders. The farmers prefer cash and many are “off the grid” where the ability to be able to transact offline solves the issue that currently limits many of these to cash only sales. The issues for the bike couriers to accept credit card on delivery was going to either eat into the profits too much. Accepting payment via COD for many purchases had other issues as well. The ability to accept CommunityVcash with no transaction fees became a natural choice over card based merchant services fees for both paying for goods at the farmers markets and for the alternative to COD for the courier deliveries. The implementation of CommunityVcash was so successful, then Fred also partnered with a package courier company. All of this expansion has led to additional needs for more of the banks services to help Fred and his partnership continue to grow and replicate throughout Baltimore. With all of the growth, the bank has seen a huge increase in the demand and use of CommunityVcash and how it has become a whole new, higher margin, and lower risk to their traditional merchant and consumer card issuance services.
Full Story: Fred is a 26 urbanite. He is a foodie at heart. He graduated from Culinary School and has latched onto the Food Truck craze. Fred talked his parents into letting him pursue a culinary school instead of college. While convincing them to forgo a University education shows Fred’s salesmanship, his greatest sales job was convincing them that he was entitled financial support since they invested more money in his sister Fredericka’s college. His parents settled on partnering with him to fund his first food truck. Fred’s truck “Wheels on Meals” has had initial success. His farm to truck strategy has hit home with other city millennials wanting to support local farming and ingredients. He has arranged for a strategic location in Harbor East, the newest hot spot for large corporations in Baltimore. His clients walk to his location to pick up lunch daily.
Fred drives the truck through rural areas where he purchases his ingredients direct from local farmers on his way into the city where he prepares and sells the healthy and fresh meals from his truck. The farmers prefer he pay in cash since they either do not or cannot accept credit card or just prefer cash. Cell phone and internet access is very limited at the roadside and local markets these farmers setup their stands at.
Fred is more than a salesman. He is also a keen businessman. He keeps track of his sales volumes and is constantly monitoring what impacts his bottom line. He has quickly identified weather as a major impact on his business model. Rainy days are the worst. His customers don’t want to walk to his location in rainy weather. Fred worries this may be magnified with the upcoming winter with dropping temperatures and snow.
Last week while at his truck, Fred noticed that he had a number of bikes lined up outside his truck during lunch time. He had trouble believing his customers were riding their bikes to his truck even if they biked to work. Fred decided to take a step back and look at his truck’s customers. Over the next couple of days he watched as bike couriers moving through the streets of Baltimore seemed to be open to his local eating options. This made sense to Fred, couriers are mostly young and healthy individuals. That evening while Fred pondered ways to drive more bike business, Fred realized that one of his observation days it was raining. These couriers continued to come because they still needed to deliver to local businesses.
A light bulb went off!!! Wheels on Meals was based on mobility and bringing meals to customers. Could he take that up a notch? Could he make deliveries using bikes from his truck to local businesses? Could this help when his clients were office bound by weather or meetings? As Fred started to envision a pivot in his business model he started to hit roadblocks in his plan. How does he handle payments? Currently he has a square setup in the truck. Would he need to buy square devices for all his bikers? Would he need to buy cell phones for drivers? Could he expand his website to accept orders and payments? Crap…that will increase his processing fees because he still has cash clients at the truck. “Oh!!! What about cash…will he now need to supply cash to bikers to give change and trust that they bring it back the cash and not otherwise loose it or have it stolen from them?” Fred started to get overwhelmed. He decided to walk away from the thought and do some email…
Fred noticed an email from his small business banker about a new service they provide, called CommunityVcash. It is a service that allows for merchants to accept digital CommunityVcash from customers using their smartphones as they approve the purchase for their delivered meals. The app could even be loaded onto the biker’s smartphones with admin level controls set by Fred on his mobile merchant app. Fred could limit the bikers to only accept CommunityVcash payments from customers and be able to upload this back into Fred’s business account.
Fred also realized that the farmers he purchases from regularly might benefit and prefer CommunityVcash, as some of them were recently robbed by those that targeted these cash carrying farmers as they left the local farmers market. The ability to be able to transact offline solves the issue that currently limits many of these to cash only sales.
Could this be a solution to the issues with his food bike delivery? Could he make this option available to customers to reduce and eventually eliminate cash purchases? Could Fred offer his customer incentives for paying with CommunityVcash? Could this be a cheaper solution to his rising merchant fees and all of the other expenses he was thinking about before? Fred decided to call his small business banker and activate the CommunityVcash merchant app extension to his merchant mobile banking app.
Fred’s bike deliver has been a success. It has turned into the ideal digital replacement to COD. With the adoption of the mobile CommunityVcash service, he has seen less fall off of sales due to weather and feels he is in a good spot for the upcoming winter. He has also reduced his credit card expense and increased his business due to the expanded reach of the bikers.
Fred even hired a few of his courier clients to become employees. One of these new employees has asked Fred if he should partner with his old courier company to utilize their bike delivery since they are already delivering to the same businesses. They end up forming a partnership where they get paid by their customers using CommunityVcash for both food and package pick up and delivery services. All of this expansion has led to additional needs for more of the banks services to help Fred and his partnership continue to grow and replicate throughout Baltimore.
With all of the growth, the bank has seen a huge increase in the demand and use of CommunityVcash and how it has become a whole new, higher margin, and lower risk to their traditional merchant and consumer card issuance services.
3. Unbanked Construction Worker Jose
Synopsis: This story describes a typical cash dependent worker Jose. He gets paid in cash and uses it for all of his purchases in and around Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Every Friday Jose goes to the local grocery store (El Colmado), which also sells other services of the well know financial services firm for the unbanked, UBFS. Beside groceries, they sell phone top ups, lottery tickets, and more. On Friday after hours, the colmados around town become social gathering locations for playing Dominos and drinking beer. Jose notices a new CommunityVcash service from UBFS on a poster at his favorite colmado. It describes how CommunityVcash can be topped up just like the minutes on his phone and then how it can be used in place of cash in and around town at a growing number of merchants. It further explains that it can be used even if the phone is not connected to the Internet, which is not available everywhere, especially during power outages. It also enables recovery of funds if his phone is lost or damaged. The colmado clerk describes how it has the flexibility of cash without any of the risks and limitations of cash and they actually prefer it over cash and costly card payments.
Jose immediately activates CommunityVcash on his phone and feels safer now that he doesn't have to carry around lots of cash. Over time, he is able to use CommiunityVcash for more things and places that he only used to use cash for before. Eventually his employer starts to pay him in CommunityVcash. UBFS has had much success with the CommunityVcash addition to their mobile app and have been exploring additional use cases with Vments to use for paying bills and offering micro loans.
Full Story: Jose lives in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with his wife and two daughters. He works for a construction contractor that pays him in cash on a weekly basis. Like most unbanked (or cash) individuals in the town, Jose uses his local grocery store (El Colmado) as the go-to merchant for many of his shopping needs. There he buys his groceries, recharges his cellphone, plays the lottery and even sits to throw back a few beers.
Each Friday after getting off of work, Jose has a ritual. He picks up his wife and proceeds to go the colmado to buy the customary $1,500 pesos worth of groceries for the week. He pays using cash, then proceeds to walk his wife home with the groceries. After having dinner with his family, Jose heads back to the colmado which by now has transformed into a full functioning bar. Loud bachata music is playing, occasionally interrupted by the loud voices of other customers playing dominos while enjoying some beers and other drinks. He greets the other patrons and puts his name on the list to join the domino game, next.
While Jose waits for his turn at the game, he walks over to the counter and asks the merchant for $100 pesos of minutes to top up his cellphone, a $50 pesos lottery ticket and a beer. He uses cash again and proceed to enjoy playing dominos and drinking with his buddies into the wee hours of the morning.
On any given Friday, Jose spends a couple of thousand pesos while at the colmado. This represents a safety issue for him, as places such as this one, are often frequented by sketchy individuals looking for an opportunity for some quick cash.
At one point during the evening, Jose sees a poster hanging on the storefront. It has information about a new service he could utilize to make payments using his mobile phone. The new service has a mobile app from a well know financial services firm for the unbanked, UBFS, which features CommunityVcash, which allows Jose to top up the cash equivalent onto his phone and then be able to use at all of the colmados and other street merchants in and around town. The poster explains that the funds are available for use even if the phone is not connected to the Internet, which is not available everywhere, especially as you go to some of the smaller merchant locations and during power outages. It also explains that it even has a way to recover the funds if his phone is lost or damaged. Jose immediately sees great value in this service and proceeds to ask the clerk about it. The clerk describes how they love CommunityVcash since it has the flexibility of cash without any of the issues, risks, and limitations of cash. The clerk says that they only pay a low monthly fixed fee for the service and actually prefer it over cash and it does not involve any of the costs associated with accepting card payments as only some of the larger stores around town accept.
Jose immediately activates CommunityVcash on his phone as already being an end customer of UBFS, which provides the top up phone minutes he buys. Jose becomes part of the digital transaction community. He feels safer now that he doesn't have to carry around lots of cash to make his weekly purchases.
Jose continues to be a loyal user of CommunityVcash as over time more and more merchants begin accepting it as a form of payment in their establishments. Soon he purchases his bus tickets, pays for his laundry and even buys his medicine at the local pharmacy. Eventually his employer starts to pay him in CommunityVcash pesos versus having to handle all of that cash and be a target to robbers which have hit many cash paying employers as well as cash only merchants.
UBFS has had much success with the CommunityVcash addition to their mobile app and have been exploring additional use cases with Vments to use for paying bills and offering micro loans.
4. Chain Store Owner Claudia
Synopsis: This story is about Claudia, who started a money transfer business 20 years ago in the El Barrio area of NY for sending funds to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. She shortly added check cashing and long distance cards when those were still popular.
She later on added bill payment, mobile top ups and other prepaid products as she expanded to several other locations in NY and into NJ where there were a high concentration of customers that she focused on. She started feeling competitive pressure and new technologies which could drastically affect her business.
Recently she read about an offering from UBFS based out of the DR offering Vments CommunityVcash Dominican Pesos which could be used for merchant purchases and person to person transfers.
She contacted them about providing exchange of cash, check, or equivalent for these digital Dominican Pesos which her customers could send to their family back home as well as use it when this visited there. This money transfer alternate eliminated the need to have to distribute her transfers to the DR through the physical locations of the distribution network and the huge cost that this entailed. Claudia further read about Vments beginning to work with US banks and alternative financial services companies like hers to offer cash in and cash out of CommunityVcash dollars.
She started working with UBFS and Vments and to offer these all of these new services to enhance her competitive edge to the rapidly changing world of financial services. Vments connected her with one of their partner US banks offering CommunityVcash dollars. The bank was grateful for the new business that effectively allowed them to reach the unbanked and provide “human ATM” services through partners like Claudia.
Full Story: Claudia came to the US 20 years ago and started a money transfer business in the El Barrio area of New York City. Her primary customers were Puerto Ricans and Dominicans who lived and worked in the area and typically sent funds back home on a regular basis.
Since many of the customers came in on their pay day, they also needed their checks cashed before they were able to pay for their money transfers. Claudia added a check cashing license in addition to her NY money transfer license. In Puerto Rico and in the DR, Claudia had to depend on partner distribution network locations, which is part of the reason for having to charge so much for money transfer services.
She also sold long distance cards with the best rates available to call the countries of her primary customer base. In 2005, Claudia signed up as an agent of a provider of bill payments, mobile phone top ups, and other prepaid products typically attractive to the unbanked and underbanked customers she serviced.
Claudia’s expanding product lines enabled her to open additional locations and now she has over 40 locations in NY and 25 in NJ. She also started to offer a simple mobile app for her customers to register to begin to do some of their transactions using stored value account funds as well as debit and credit card funds for the growing number of customers which had these.
Recently, she started feeling competitive pressure and new technologies which could drastically affect her business. Claudia read about a new service from UBFS which she used to resell their long distance cards They began to offer money transfer companies servicing the DR to be able to use their mobile app to be able to sell digital Dominican Pesos which could be transferred to back home to family in the DR where they can use it as CommunityVcash. (See story # 3 for more about how CommunityVcash can be used in the DR.) Claudia spoke with UBFS and found out that she could add the CommunityVcash extension to her mobile app which her customers could download CommunityVcash Pesos to their phone and then transfer it for free to their family back home in the DR where they could begin to use it or exchange it back for cash. It would also be good for them to use themselves when they traveled back home to the DR. This money transfer alternate eliminated the need to have to distribute her transfers to the DR through the physical locations of the distribution network and the huge cost that this entailed. Claudia’s customers could transfer the funds for free after paying small fees for the download. This allowed Claudia to offer the download fees at significantly lower rates than her current DR money transfers. Every transfer would only be with contacts pre-registered in the their app with the same information already captured for their current money transfer transactions. Claudia realized that this would enable her to expand her business as she could now better compete with other money transfer services to the DR and also compete with the new Fintech companies beginning to offer new low cost and free money transfers.
The UBFS announcement also mentioned that it also planned to expand its CommunityVcash to other Hispanic countries, including Puerto Rico, in partnership with Vments as they begin to expand their CommunityVcash offering in these other countries as well.
To top it off, Claudia read about plans that Vments was working on with other US banks and alternative financial services companies like hers to offer CommunityVcash dollars and associated services. This gave Claudia new ideas of how she could partner with UBFS for money transfers and with Vments to offer CommunityVcash dollars to her customers to use in and around NY and NJ locations (for more about CommunityVcash dollars, see use case stories 1 and 2).
Claudia could then not only provide cash in, stored value, and check exchange for CommunityVcash DR Pesos and other CommunityVcash currencies over times. She could also become a cash out location for CommunityVcash dollars to use in place of having to find ATM machines. Cash in and Cash out for CommunityVcash dollars could become a whole new revenue stream to enable additional expansion. She started working with UBFS and Vments and to offer these all of these new services to enhance her competitive edge to the rapidly changing world of financial services. Vments connected her with one of their partner US banks offering CommunityVcash dollars. The bank was grateful for the new business that allowed them to reach the unbanked and provide “human ATM” services through partners like Claudia.