The Brightoneers Message Board › Local currency and payment smartcards

Local currency and payment smartcards

Tom N.
tomnixon
Group Organizer
Brighton, GB
Post #: 2
There are some really interesting possibilities around local currency and smartcards as a way to keep money circulating around the local economy, making everyone here better off. If you're interested in this and would like to be involved in discussions, please add a comment below.

We now have a meetup organised for this. We'll continue to use this forum thread after the event to keep the conversation going: http://www.meetup.com...­
Emily O.
user 70559802
Brighton, GB
Post #: 1
I'd be interested. There is some embryonic discussion at the moment (via the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership & BH City council) around the food vouchers which the local authority will be offering to people in crisis when they take on the administration new social fund. Possibly a paper voucher or perhaps a smart card, it is seen as important that this is able to be accepted in local shops i.e. to support the local food economy, not just ASDA or Sainsburys. There may also be the chance to stimulate community level food buying groups, or even a city wide social enterprise helping to provide very low cost food.
Daniel W.
user 53397962
London, GB
Post #: 1
That’s really interesting, and relevant to our project ☺

We’re planning to create Smart Card Ecosystem in Brighton & Hove. At the heart of it is a smart card and online payment platform that can host multiple complementary currency and entitlement purses, making it easy for local organisations to launch new schemes and initiatives, tackling specific challenges.

The application will enable staff cards, membership cards, student cards, charity cards, or credit union cards to be used like an Oyster Card on public transport, and to access a wide range of local initiatives. And of course help new schemes and initiatives reach communities of cardholders.
james t.
user 9679166
Hove, GB
Post #: 1
Hi there, thanks Tom for letting me know about this thread. Good to see you here Daniel and hello Emily.

We've just completed a 4-month pilot of a digital project to recognise and reward social good in Brighton & Hove. Local community and voluntary groups have been thanking their volunteers and members with virtual reward points, which they have been redeeming for rewards from the council and local businesses. See our pilot site here: www.sunshinebank.co.uk. We're looking to take this forward with One Planet Living, Neighbourhood Councils, and/or City Clean.

Our virtual social reward currency would work brilliantly on Daniel's smart card and we are in touch about this. Emily, maybe we could have a chat to see if there's a fit with your work and plans?

Thanks.
Daniel W.
user 53397962
London, GB
Post #: 2
The more local schemes that can operate on smart cards, the more likely it is that local businesses will install card readers. There’s a lot to be gained from collaborating on this.

What makes smart cards so interesting is that unlike prepaid Mastercard and Visa cards, the value loaded onto them can be very specific. For example, a few years ago the government gave pregnant women £100 for fresh fruit and vegetables. My partner received £100 directly into her bank accounts and could spend it on anything. A smart card would have been more effective as it could have distributed entitlements just for fruit and vegetables.
Emily O.
user 70559802
Brighton, GB
Post #: 3
Most of the local authorities who are considering smart card food voucher payments are restricting them so people can't buy alcohol or cigarettes. In practice this seems to mean dealing with ASDA or Tesco so a system that allows for this restriction but can be used with local retailers would be v helpful. I was doing some research yesterday and realised that ASDA/Tesco are also offering a discount to local authorities which is proving a big incentive - as it makes the extremely tight budget that local authorities are being given to take on the scheme go a little bit further. I imagine local retailers will be less keen on offering discounts. There is at least one major company (allpay) touting for business across several local authorities, and hence intending to make use of their greater buying power to secure bigger discounts.
Daniel W.
user 53397962
London, GB
Post #: 3
Yes I think you're right, I believe that restricting purchases presently has to be done after committing to a particular retailer. ie the local authority issue a Sainsbury's gift card with a magnetic strip and the value on that card cannot be redeemed for cigarettes and alcohol. It would be preferable to use a smart card that isn't tied to a particular retailer, but can still restrict the purchases. This would level the playing field for local organisations, and give the recipients more choice to purchase local and organic.
Tom N.
tomnixon
Group Organizer
Brighton, GB
Post #: 10
We're going to be doing some Brightoneering at the Conscious Business meet-up on Monday evening (21 Jan.) I like the idea of the local currency / smartcard idea to be one of a small number of topics that we work on together. You can register for the meet-up here: http://www.meetup.com...­
Graham L.
user 13853493
Brighton, GB
Post #: 2
I'm interested in alternative economics, local currency, and more recently Bitcoins on the net, but still trying to work out what works and what doesn't, rather than anything overly practical. Definitely happy to chat ideas and play Devil's advocate ;)
Gerald H.
user 11424732
London, GB
Post #: 1
I am interested in keeping up with developments in this idea, also to see if we can be of practical help in spreading the word to local people and businesses via thebestof Brighton and Hove.
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