London-based fintech start-up VeeLoop has solved the payment problem volunteers experience when shopping on behalf of vulnerable people during the Covid-19 lockdown. VeeLoop, an online approval and payment service originally developed to help young people shop online, started working on a solution only four weeks ago after contacting Sara Hill, a freelance business consultant who was volunteering for her local Covid-19 Mutual Aid group in North London.
Hill was experiencing problems taking payments for essentials like food from the vulnerable people she was supporting and posted a request on various fintech forums to ask if anyone had a solution for the payment problem.
The VeeLoop team contacted her and they teamed up to create vHelp.
In 4 weeks vHelp is up and running, vHelp helps safeguard vulnerable people whilst ensuring volunteers are getting reimbursed. The service also provides insight and an audit trail of volunteer activities for coordinators and organisations. With vHelp volunteer coordinators and volunteers will register with us. Coordinators will be given card readers to be used by volunteers who help with shopping.
Then volunteers will be able to shop and take it to the vulnerable person, who will pay using the card reader, without contact. Volunteers upload receipts to our system and get paid immediately. A transaction record and audit trail is created within vHelp.
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A small pilot is currently being run with mutual aid groups in North London. The initiative has received support from a number of other businesses including iZettle, a PayPal service, who kindly donated card readers and covered the transaction fees for the pilot; Ignition Law, who helped develop the data protection policies, SimplyPayMe, who has donated their payment technology for the pilot and ‘Improve my UX’ who are helping us design the user experience.
As vulnerable people will possibly be in lockdown and need support for months to come, the next step is launching the vHelp app to enable co-ordinators to set up jobs, allow volunteers to upload receipts and family of the vulnerable to have visibility of card charges, so all records are kept within the app.
The team’s vision is for vHelp to become the main payments and records systems for volunteers and voluntary organisations supporting vulnerable people during the Covid-19 crisis in the UK.
They are looking for more volunteer groups to use the service so if you think we could help, please contact VeeLoop on [email protected]