Charing uses circular barcodes to pay via mobile

Cofounded by Italian Michele Silletti, the FinTech startup RingPay has just launched Charing, an application that helps charities collect funding via smartphones.

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“We know that sooner or later everyone will be paying with their smartphones, what we don’t know is how we will do this”. Michele Silletti, founder of the FinTech startup RingPay, begins telling us the story of his new adventures with this initial recognition. He lives in and is talking to us from Rome, but his recently created company has its headquarters in London. The reason for this is well known among those who have entrepreneurial projects in Italy: “There it is much easier. Simply put, in Italy I pay my accountant 6,000 euros per year for my Web agency Intellijam, in London I pay 1,500 pounds. To create my company it cost 15 pounds and took 15 minutes online”.

However, Silletti (computer engineer, born in 1979) also has a wife and two children and continues to consider Italy the best country to raise them in. So he shuttles back and forth between Rome and London to manage RingPay, founded one year ago with CEO Cristina Bonaccurso and CMO Allanah Smith, both residents in the British capital. Incubated in FinTech City, the top nest in London for FinTech startups, RingPay was created to focus on the evolution of payments with a proprietary platform.

“For who are money transfers the product and not just a part of relations with clients? For non profits”, explains Silletti while presenting Charing, the first application that has come out of the laboratory and presented in beta version last 31 October. For now it is available for iOS and in HTML5 for all other mobile operating systems.

This is the case: for a bartender the payment mode chosen by clients, apart from commissions, is insignificant, while for a non profit collecting money is the keystone around which all activities rotate. “Campaigns like Ice Bucket Challenge showed how traditional money boxes don’t work while people who throw buckets of ice water on themselves on social networks can encourage the collection of millions of euros”, he continues. Charing responds to this trend with the possibility, primarily, of selling tickets to benefit events with the application, a mode that is especially popular across the Channel. For non-profits and NGO’s use of the platform is free of charge, the commission that goes to the startup is 5%.

Once the ticket is sold and an electronic scan is sent, the App also acts as a form of recognition to get into the event. Not only: since account information has already been provided, the App can be used to make donations during the event as well, usually consisting of the sale of objects or services. But what truly makes the difference is the experience: the user interested in buying only has to show acircular barcode (see photo at top of page) to pair devices, which, unlike rectangular or square ones, can be captured from any angle. The code appears on the screen of one’s smartphone and corresponds to payment data. Once the data is taken by those who are selling, a list of available products appears and then by selecting what one wants to acquire the online payment via Stripe (the startup that also collaborates with Twitter) proceeds with a commission of 2.5% plus 30 cents per transaction. Subsequently, Charing must raise it to 5%: “Eventbrite, which permits only the sale of tickets, takes a 7% commission”, notes Silletti. So, to sum things up, all the hosts of an event and the participants need to do is exchange data with their smartphones without ever having to take note of anything or use POS systems, cards, or cash.

The security of the system resides in the circular barcode that regenerates itself every 90 seconds and with the use of “asymmetric cryptography and other advanced technology”.

The App was launched during an event for the CMT UK and Alive and Kicking associations. The intentions for the next step, to be accomplished during 2015, is in the direction of tried and true sales, with a bartender who can use a similar App to upload a credit paid with traditional methods by users. Then, over the next few days, still by using the circular barcode, he deducts it.

Further along, anticipates Silletti, “we want to become a true payment institution”. A sort of PayPal that can bypass banks and go directly to Visa or MasterCard. In order to support these projects, a crowdfunding campaign will be launched on Seedrs with the goal of raising 150,000 pounds. Another 500,000 and 2 million pound fundraisers are on the agenda as well. To get started, after all, it only took 15.

How Charing Works