Kiwi startup revolutionises payments using NEM blockchain

This NZ-based startup is giving you a choice to make a difference every time you pay.

Choice is a new way to pay in New Zealand that reduces and redistributes transaction fees for businesses, giving those savings to Kiwi charities of your choice.

So basically merchants will have lower transaction cost, and you as the consumer will be able to allocate the percentage you want to donate to a charity of your choice.

A win-win-win situation for merchants, consumers and charity.

So how does all this work?

The NZ social enterprise is aiming to build a better system with cutting-edge technology. Hence they are deploying blockchain for this.

Utilising blockchain technology they are creating a trust-based, transparent value transfer for New Zealanders.

To validate this event further, Choice recently secured $1m NZD in non-equity funding from the Foundation and community. 

The contactless payment system is simple and designed for the user, with NEM blockchain at the heart.

How Choice works.

An important cause

Transactions fees are a real issue for merchants, every time we use the ‘easier’ way to pay like, Apple Pay, payWave or even just your credit/debit card, merchants are directly charged a 2–4% fee for the convenience. 

Furthermore, this fee will be sent offshore, not benefiting anyone in the country.

Choice believes that this system is a broken relic of the past and understands the struggles of smaller businesses and the rise of contactless payment.

Taking into account all these aspects, they will shift this transfer of value to the people in a measurable and impactful way.

This way it also brings awareness to consumers that their preferred way of payment is not entirely benefiting the businesses.

According to a report by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand,

“Between May 2016 and April 2017 approximately NZD80.6 billion of electronic transactions were processed by New Zealand financial institutions, which corresponds to about NZD221 million per day in roughly 4.4 million transactions.”

The transaction fee would be roughly 2-4% per transaction, and if you do the math, that is a lot of money taken away offshore.blockchain, NEM, Choice, Choicetopay

So Choice is stepping in.

We caught up with co-founder Alex McCall to gather more insight on why blockchain is the way to go and if there are any plans on expanding overseas.

Why did you guys choose to utilise blockchain? 

Choice started with our purpose; it didn’t start with blockchain at all. The three co-founders Fraser McConnell, Ossie Amir and myself aligned with our social values and the change we wanted to see in the world. From here we landed in the world of payments and the unfathomable cost to the consumer and lack of value that current transactional systems are providing in this world. 

Jointly deep in the blockchain world, it was a no-brainer that this was a perfect use case for blockchain technology and a solution to our problem. At Choice, our vision defines the technology we use, and it is only fitting that we are using blockchain.

You guys clearly believe in the blockchain technology. However, many might not be too convinced with the new technology, what would you say is the crux of blockchain that we all should be on board on? 

The exciting part about blockchain is the enablement of trust transparently. Society thrives on trust, which we do business with, where we store our money, how we account for our money and who controls our assets. Blockchain provides transparency with every single value transfer in an immutable ledger.

Imagine a world of charitable giving where you can actually see the places your funds go to. Or imagine a world where you can see who exactly gets the slice of the pie every time you transact. Now imagine combining trust and transparency every time you transact with social impact, we think that’s something pretty exciting.

What’s the plan for 2018?

The Choice team is currently based in Wellington, New Zealand as part of the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator programme. The team is working hard towards our first pilot later this month starting with one conscious consuming cafe. We are not out to scream and shout from the top of the hill saying we are going to take down the payments mafia. We simply want to enable the consciously consuming individual to start having a tangible social impact every time they purchase a coffee.

Coffee is the most socially consumed beverage in the world, so let’s start a conversation about the issues that we face every day one coffee at a time.

Do you guys have any plans on expanding overseas? 

The team at Choice is focused on utilising New Zealand as a global incubator for payment with social impact.  Our proximity to regulators and openness of conversation with them positions us really well to create a global example of blockchain integration within current societal pillars.

We see New Zealand as the perfect testing ground for blockchain technology due to our small size and location at the bottom of the globe. Multinationals such as Snapchat and Facebook often rollout and test their updates on New Zealand first before taking their updates global, so why not just build here in the first place! Thinking global and acting local, we are looking to roll out here one consciously consuming coffee store at a time. Did we mention that Wellington, New Zealand is rumoured to have the most bars and cafe’s per capita globally – yes even more than NYC!

Utilising the blockchain, our infrastructure will be able to scale globally from day one. With that in mind, we have our eyes set on the horizon yet our feet on the ground, focusing on adoption and usability. We want to get it right here before expanding overseas; all good things take time.

So here we have a social enterprise with an aim to evolve the way we pay and have their sight on solving problems for multiple people, that’s definitely something to keep an eye out for.

Don’t forget to keep up to date with them on their website and social media, so you know when their beta will be released.

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Kiwi startup revolutionises payments using NEM blockchain
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