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Homeless in Amsterdam try on contactless payment jackets

One headline calls it "ingenious." Others wonder whether the concept can scale. Either way, you have to give the Dutch ad agency N=5 kudos for creativity. It designed a jacket with a built-in card reader that enables the increasing number of people who don't carry cash to simply tap their contactless payment cards to make a donation to a homeless person wearing the "Helping Heart" jacket. – Liz Enbysk


In an interview with NFC World, the ad agency's Merel Hoogendor explained that the Helping Heart jacket is a way for people who carry little or no cash to help others. A prototype jacket has been trialed by several homeless people in Amsterdam and Rotterdam and Hoogendor suggested feedback has been positive from the homeless community and organizations that help the homeless.

"In a warm and comfortable winter coat, we integrated a device which allows people to donate one euro by tapping their card on it," Hoogendor said. However, the homeless don't receive cash; they redeem their donations at official shelters where they can spend it on a meal, shelter, a shower, even vocational training. That requirement is to ease worries about how donations will be spent.

Seeking potential partners
Still in the prototype phase, Hoogendor said they want to test it, improve it and identify potential partners to roll it out at scale.

According to the Irish Examiner, the high-tech jacket looks like your average warm winter coat, except for the patch on the front people can tap to make a donation.

Related topics…
Seattle homeless wear electronic beacons that tell their stories to passersby
Social media powers efforts to help the homeless – and they're working

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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