PayTechTalk 51: Small donation – Big impact: SmallChangeCard – OpenStreetPay brings digital change to homeless people

PayTechTalk 51 | OpenStreetPay | PayTechLaw
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Every crisis hits society‘s most vulnerable members the hardest. The Corona crisis is no different and consequences of the lockdown are being felt and discussed everywhere. However, one group of people who is regularly left out of the public debate is homeless people and how they are affected by the crisis. People are not out perusing the high street shops so homeless people stand next to no chance of any passers-by tossing a few coins into their hat. This is where OpenStreetPay comes in. OpenStreetPay (under development) is a digital platform for cashless donations to homeless people.

The idea: Donations to homeless people can be made for any amount, indirectly and contactless via app or a QR code – and with this conform to Corona rules. The intention is that people in need will receive the SmallChangeCard via a network of charitable organisations. This is then used to distribute a set amount every day from all donations received to all card holders. They can redeem this at participating partners, such as supermarkets or food stands. OpenStreetPay wants to enable cashless payments for homeless people via a non-stigmatising and contactless method to pay, thereby also enabling them to participate more in society in post-Corona times.

This video shows how all this can work:

The team behind OpenStreetPay comes from a multitude of different backgrounds and includes volunteers from various industries such as developers, service, UI, UX, communication, brand and interface designers as well as scientists  and project managers from all over Germany. They met during the “wirvsvirus hackathon“ organised by the Federal German Government, where they developed a first prototype within 48 hours.

Now, during the project implementation phase, technical problems as well as ethical have come to the fore. Legal issues, in particular, need to be considered. In particular, the team faces significant challenges under payment services law.

In our 51st episode of PayTechTalk I will be talking to Larissa Gebken, one of OpenStreetPay‘s organisers as well as my colleage Kemal Ahmedi who is looking into the project from a legal perspective.

By the way: OpenStreetPay is still looking for participants from the payment industry who would like to support the project with their know how, or via a cooperation or with any other good ideas. Maybe one of our listeners would like to join this great project and support it with their expertise and get socially engaged. Simple contact us and we’d be happy to forward your contact details!

Enjoy listening to our 51st episode of PayTechTalk.

Please note that the podcast is in German.

About Larissa Gebken

Larissa Gebken is a research associate at the University of Hamburg and a volunteer member of the OpenStreetPay team. Her research includes such topics as digital social innovations and how they can be sustainably and responsibly integrated into an existing ecosystem.


About OpenStreetPay

OpenStreetPay is a team comprising members from various different backgrounds who met during the “wirvsvirus hackathon“. It is their goal to develop a digital platform that enables cashless donations to and payments for homeless people. Donations can be made directly and contactless to those in need via app or QR code.

OpenStreetPay online


Cover picture: Copyright © PayTechLaw

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