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ChipIn: Fundraising meets social networking

chipin logoWe were excited to hear about ChipIn, a micropayment service, that just went live on the Facebook platform. The application lets you accept payments for a cause that you set up, and promote to your friends, via a widget that you can embed into your website.

While it is a clever app that people are already using for all sorts of purposes including raising money for a birthday gift, or supporting a charity, it is not a true “micropayment” system per se. It is more of a social vehicle that allows you to get the word out about your cause, and conveniently collect the payment.

A while ago we lamented the fact that no one is coming up with a true micropayment system for transactions that are about a dollar or less. Paypal and credit card carriers apply a transaction charge of 0.30 or so, along with a percentage on the amount collected (2.9% to 5.0%). These charges can add up quickly for the merchant. We also talked about Payoneer, a new entrant in the debit card market, that was focusing on streamlining the processing of online payments for small merchants, while charging lower fees than the standard issuers.

Honolulu based ChipIn does not charge for its service, other than pass on Paypal’s fees to the fundraiser. The site mentions that payments can be collected via Paypal or ACH, but the sign up screen does not provide any option other than to enter information for a Paypal account.

While ChipIn does make it easier to give to, and collect for charities, and has some spiffy tools that allow you (and your donors) to track the progress on your fund raising, one problem still remains - how to find a worthwhile charity where you can be sure your dollars are actually making a difference!

ChipIn : Would You fund it, (if you had the money)?
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June 25th, 2007 Posted by Toni DasGupta | Technology, New Media, Startup | 2 comments