CHANGE KEEPERS PF2125NA
Original Publication Date: 2001-Apr-27
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Apr-27
CHANGE KEEPERS PF2125NA
by Srinivas Miriyala
Carrying change (Pennies, Dimes, Nickels and Quarters) in the pocket or wallet can be an inconvenience to some people. Another problem that people often experience with change is that they either loose it or accumulate it for a long time before using it, loosing value of the money. This paper proposes a solution that will let the change issuers create and manage accounts in which consumers can save the change. The consumer can use that change at any time towards payment for goods or services.
The need for a solution to save change efficiently is further evident after watching trends in the retail industry, which are:
Retail companies like Sam's club, Tom Thumb and Kroger use membership cards to retain their customer base by offering discounts and other special privileges to the cardholders;
Store cards are used for identification purposes and are checked at the entrance;
Cash is still a dominant method of payment (Very high in Asian countries).
The proposed system would allow the consumers to save the change rendered after paying cash in their store accounts. The consumers can use the money in their accounts at a later date towards their purchases.
This solution not only helps consumers by allowing them to carry digital change but also helps companies by providing access to much needed working capital. (Pennies can add up to several thousands for a nation wide chain company.)
This extra benefit could prompt companies to offer more discounts for users willing to keep the change in their store accounts.
The companies that are planning to offer this solution should create and manage accounts for the users. For identification purposes users should be provided with cards that need to be shown at the counter.
These cards would allow the user to access their account when scanned at the point of sale.
Variations to the above system can be made if companies issue cards that can store account information. Since cards carry the balance information, companies can implement this solution without a centralized user account system. In order to use smart cards retailers may have to upgrade their point of sale systems to allow users to make changes to the their balances in the smart card.
The picture shown below illustrates how a user manages his/her change account.
[see the accompanying PFD file for the Figure]
In this section we will discuss some of the variations that can be made to system illustrated in Figure 1.
Option to credit only portion of the balance to the store account (For example, if the balance after the payment is $1.25 user may choose to deposit only $.25)
Balance stored in the card itself (Smart cards).
Retail companies can tie up with other service providers. For example Kroger can tie up ...