If you ever get bored of searching through the same ‘Top 25’ lists in your smartphone’s app store, and want to discover an app that will revolutionise the way you use your mobile phone, then this week’s App of the Week is ideal.
With all the talk of NFC chips and cashless payment technology, a Birmingham-based company has launched an app that outperforms current payment systems and aims to transform the way we pay for goods on a daily basis.
Droplet is a mobile money app, which essentially allows you to load money onto your smartphone, enabling you to send payments to absolutely anyone, whether it be to your landlord to pay your rent, or to pay for your morning coffee on your way into work.
What is unique about Droplet is that it is entirely unrelated to the traditional banking or credit card systems, and doesn’t require you to spend hours entering all of your personal details. In other words, the app works somewhat like a cash machine; instead of transferring withdrawals to your pocket, you load them onto your phone, instantly available to use on the high-street. Another great feature of the app is that you don’t get charged at any point for using the service.
The concept initiated in a Birmingham coffee shop last year, and has since been developed into a successful app which has taken the region by storm. Although it is currently only available in Britain’s second city, it has over 50 merchants signed up to the scheme, meaning that Birmingham residents can use the app to pay for goods almost anywhere within the city. It is also a great way to access tens of great offers that the participating shops, bars and restaurants are offering Droplet users. Participating stores include Urban Coffee Company, Bodega Restaurant and Loki, to name a few, and there are plans in the pipeline to expand to stores in the Touchwood shopping centre in Solihull, to Centro and Chiltern Trains, and even Birmingham City University.
Due to the success of the app in the West Midlands, Droplet is set to expand across the UK, and a concerted effort is being made to launch the app in London, Brighton, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester later this year. One of the founders is even set to meet with firms in the US technology capital, Silicon Valley, where it is hoped he will raise up to $10m dollars of investment.
Co-founder Will Grant spoke of the app’s recent success in Birmingham: "When we started Droplet we genuinely didn't know whether people would want to take part, but everyone's been telling us how simple and easy it is to use and how they're happy to try anything that's not tied to the banks.
He added: “One user even tried living for a month by just using Droplet payments and she managed everything but transport. Something we’re already addressing.”
One downside is that Droplet is only currently available on the iPhone, though an Android version will be launched at the beginning of February this year. While the app is currently only limited to one geographic location in the UK, we think that Droplet is sure to take off, and given time, should sweep across the whole of the UK. So if you are getting fed up with the complications of online banking and are looking for a simpler, hassle-free way of making payments on the high-street, keep your eyes peeled for when Droplet comes to a town near you.
The app is available to download for free from Apple’s App Store. Simply install Droplet and off you go; just choose the way in which you would like to load cash onto your phone and start spending! As soon as the app is downloaded you will be able to view the full list of all 50 participating merchants.
For more information about the app, its history, or for support, visit: Dropletpay.com or follow @dropletpay on twitter.
Written by Charlotte Kertrestel