Getting the Drop on Cash: Mezu’s Sweet Spot
It won’t be news to most consumers that cash may no longer be king, at least in terms of how people prefer to pay for most day-to-day transactions. Credit cards offer reward miles and cash back benefits. Smartphone point-of-sale payment app like Apple Pay or Android Pay are quick and convenient and don’t require taking out your wallet. Apps such as Venmo, Cash App or Zelle claim to be secure and easy to use. And maybe you’ve noticed that ATMs are becoming more and more scarce, meaning ready cash is harder to access.
But many of us still cling to cash for its immediacy, anonymity, and acceptance almost anywhere. In late 2018, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco reported that cash still represents 30% of all transactions and 55% of transactions less than $10. Still, most Americans carry less than $50 at any given time, and cash does have its drawbacks. For one, it’s not in your pocket and ready to use unless you go and get it (and pay for the convenience: ATM fees have been on the rise for the last decade). It’s also easy to lose and can feel, and basically is, insecure.
But most mobile payment apps don’t quite fit the bill for things like small impulse purchases, tips, or flash donations, either – mostly because you need to exchange some type of personal information or search for a user, exposing you to risk and inconvenience. Ideally, tipping with a mobile payment app should be as quick and secure as handing someone over a five-dollar bill.
The ongoing necessity of cash, contrasted with the inconvenience of getting and carrying it, means there’s a sweet spot for mobile payments – one that most apps ignore or can’t adequately serve. Mezu’s Drop function meets this “cash gap” by enabling privacy-centered mobile payment transactions that are just as easy as cash. Simply put: you can pay, tip, or donate on the spot by using a MezuBox, which is unique to each user – like bartenders or valets. Convenience and privacy are key.
Beyond tipping, when it comes to impulse purchases or other traditionally cash-based transactions, is another area where the ease and immediacy of mobile payments fails. Even in the age of Stripe and Square, there are still places where cash rules: estate sales, flea markets, street fairs, and farmers markets, to name a few. During special events like concerts, school fundraising events, fairs or parades, charitable organizations are often set up to accept small cash donations – but collecting cash is risky, and people who don’t carry it simply can’t donate, no matter how motivated or tied to the cause they may be. And in addition, maybe they don’t want the receiver to know their personal information. Convenience and privacy are core.
With Mezu’s Drop feature, users set up their own MezuBox – like a PO box, but for money – and other Mezu users can easily Drop payments into it – privately. There’s no need to stand by a busy valet stand or holding up the line at a farmers market, asking for or sharing personal information like a phone number or email address. Donations are also more easily made and collected, with no risk to a volunteer who must carry a cashbox through a chaotic public space. Mezu also offers additional protection by using location services, so users must be within a short distance of each other to conduct the transaction.
The ultimate consideration of any payment system must be to make things safer and easier for the user. Mezu’s triple end-to-end encryption keeps users’ identity and transactions safe – and users don’t compromise this safety by being forced to disclose personal information unnecessarily. Closing the cash gap isn’t just possible, it’s inevitable.
To learn more about how Mezu protects your privacy, check in with CEO Yuval Brisker.