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Looped in payments app turns charitable for Boston Food Bank

Mobile payments application looped in is hosting a fundraiser to raise awareness of the app and encourage users to purchase in-app meals for donation to the Greater Boston Food Bank, suggesting that smaller payments apps could stand to leverage live events and fundraisers to reach new audiences.

On March 31, consumers are encouraged to visit Boston’s SA PA Modern Vietnamese Restaurant and purchase a meal via looped in to receive 15 percent off and fuel the app to donate $5 per meal bought. The event, titled “Loop In to End Hunger,” is taking place from 10 am to 11 pm.

“We hope that the awareness we raise for looped in’s participation in all charitable events and campaigns is that we are a company that cares about community and being an involved corporate citizen,” said Rivka Tadjer, chief marketing officer and strategic business development at looped in, Boston, MA. “We hope other organizations reach out to us for our help.

“We do believe live events are critical to raise awareness for causes, and perhaps equally important, create the energy and momentum needed to get people involved. These events are about the causes, not about us, except to the extent that we can help more people the more members of the looped in community we have,” she said.

“Our company truly believes in tithing as a key responsibility.”

Corporate social responsibility
Looped in is engaging in corporate social responsibility by assisting the Boston-based food bank in helping residents in need. Consumers are encouraged to download the app, which is powered by PXT Payments and is billed as a payment app for college life, to offer help to their community in an easy and effective way.

Users are offered the incentive of 15 percent off their meals at the event, a tactic that will likely resonate with those wanting to combat hunger in Massachusetts.

Looped in believes this turns the simple process of purchasing a meal into a charitable act, and also ramps up awareness for mobile payment apps and rewards, which looped in has a strong commitment to.

To participate, customers should download the looped in app from the iTunes App store or Google Play and arrive at the Beacon Street location of SA PA Modern Vietnamese Restaurant. They may then pay for their meals directly within the app.

“The Food Bank fundraiser appeals to a small, but highly engaged segment of consumers who want to do business with firms that they believe share their values,” said Ron Shevlin, senior analyst at Aite Group, Atlanta, GA. “So from this perspective, this can be a smart move on looped in’s part.

“But to truly gauge the success of its efforts, looped in should really start with a benchmark of how aware are consumers today of their app, to re-measure that awareness at some point after the event.”

Tapping live events
Although looped in’s current primary audience is college students, the fundraiser could potentially help the app reach other Boston citizens interested in streamlining their payment processes.

“I work with a lot of financial institutions who sponsor live events,” Mr. Shevlin said. “The lesson from their experience is that sponsoring live events can pay off, but that the payoff really comes down the road, after sponsoring an event year after year for a number of years.

“In this particular instance, looped in may not see immediate results. But if continues to sponsor the event year after year, it may very prove to be beneficial.”

Looped in will also likely reach more consumers due to the growing trend of mobile payment platforms, thanks to the popularity of Apple Pay and Softcard.

“I do see mobile payments apps taking off even more in 2015, as the natural evolution of apps themselves and increasing smartphone use lead us there, both domestically and globally,” looped in’s Ms. Tadjer said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York