CommunitySmart raises US$75k for schools and charities
Local consumers and merchants have contributed more than US$75,000 to schools and charities through CommunitySmart, a credit and debit card programme that converts cardholders' reward points into cash donations.
CommunitySmart cards are issued by Summit State Bank in Santa Rose, California. The programme and its card processing technology were developed by Nietech Corporation, also based in Santa Rosa. Nietech launched the programme in Sonoma County, and is now working with major retailers to roll it out nationally.
In addition to contributing the cardholders rewards to designated schools or nonprofits organisations of the cardholder's choice, the programme also generates additional cash donations from participating merchants. Consumers can direct their rewards points to their schools or nonprofits, or still redeem part or all of them for personal rewards.
MasterCard debit and credit cardholders from Summit State Bank can receive a CommunitySmart version of their card. There is no charge to the cardholder, school or nonprofits for participating.
Cash users too Nietech's programme also includes a CommunitySmart non-payment card, enabling consumers who prefer to pay with cash to generate donations. While this card does not generate rewards points for the consumer, participating retailers will swipe it at the point of sale when the consumer pays with cash or cheque, triggering a donation to the cardholder's school or nonprofits of choice.
In all cases, the merchant-funded donation from the transaction is determined by the merchant, and ranges from 1.6% to 6.5% of each eligible purchase.
Automatic The programme uses Nietech's patent-pending Nietech Administrative System (NAS) to automatically collect, route and disperse these cash donations. Consumers can go online to set up their own donation programme, selecting up to three organisations from a database of more than a million schools and nonprofits that are registered nationally. In addition, merchants can go online to access customised transaction reports and analyse programme results. Schools and nonprofits also have online access, free of charge, to monitor programme results and payments to their organisations.
According to Terrance M. Davis, President and CEO for Summit State Bank, "We're just starting to build critical mass with the programme now. A level of US$75,000 in donations to local schools and nonprofits is huge within this community. And it's just the early returns. It really shows the potential of the programme."
And according to Barbara Rambo, CEO for Nietech Corporation, while market adoption is still ramping up, another milestone was reached last autumn when MasterCard International signed an agreement with Nietech to launch CommunitySmart Cash, making the technology available to MasterCard debit and credit card issuers nationwide.