Mobile payments – the ability to send and receive money from your phone – is a big emerging trend I’ve been watching. It was only a matter of time before someone turned an iPhone into a credit card swiper (see Square) or enabled me to split a check for sushi by paying my friend with Venmo.
Without getting into all of the exciting new companies and trends in this space, the message is clear – there is a market for using your phone to easily transact money. And who loves to transact money more than government?
But let’s face it, while many Gov2.0 initiatives to engage citizens or be more accessible are awesome, they’ve struggled to generate those transactions that make money.
I believe there’s something to the idea that if we can attach services that generate money for government to ones that engage citizens, our odds for success go way up.
Let’s take some low-hanging fruit as an example: parking tickets. Usually when I get a parking ticket I keep it in my car for a few days, then maybe it makes it to my office, then I realize “oh sh*t it was due yesterday” and pay it online. The online system is great, but doesn’t (and really shouldn’t) engage me outside of the payment process.
Putting that same process through my Gov2.0-blender, what if the parking ticket had a link (or, wink, a QR code) right on it to pay it then and there – literally, from my car. Any of the emerging mobile payment companies would be gung-ho to do that for the city. And guess what? After paying the ticket the user can be prompted to bookmark the page (or download an app) full of city news and services.
For example, maybe you’re pissed because the “2 hour parking” sign was bent and that’s why you got the ticket. Well, report it SeeClickFix-style right then and there from the same interface. Or, maybe one block away there’s a city parking space for rent at $50/month. Ding. The phone can point that out. Getting cooler, hey, you’re right next to a polling place. Do you know where yours is for the next election? Let’s find it for you.
All of those ideas alone are awesome, but in reality, a hard sell right now. But hey, go into a meeting with app that shows off the state’s parks and beaches while allowing users to renew fishing/boating/beach licenses and you may have a winner.
My message today is simple – mobile payments may be the way to monetize mobile gov. Can’t wait to hear what you think.
*Disclaimer: I’m friends with the Founder of Venmo but have no financial interest in the company, other than my pictured $19.35 account balance with them 🙂
Website of the Week: Jordan Raynor
OK, so technically it’s the website of a person I met last week at the most awesome GovLoop Tampa GovUp. Jordan has a QR Code on the back of his business card which naturally scored big points with me. More importantly, he’s working on ways to rock the vote by working with Google and Foursquare to finally aggregate where all the polling places are (and reward you with a cool “I Voted” badge). Jordan (@JordanRaynor) is someone to follow in this space.
Read Last Week’s CB2: Bed Bugs Invade DC
About Chris Bennett
Chris Bennett is a self-proclaimed emergency management innovator who is trying to make government better by improving citizen preparedness and crisis communications. He’s a graduate of Wharton with a master’s from Harvard with in “Technology, Innovation, Education.” His portfolio of companies and former projects include OneStorm Hurricane Preparedness, ReadyTown, GovLive, TexasPrepares and America’s Emergency Network. Chris was the recipient of FL Governor Crist’s 2008 Public Information Award. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL, loves to fish, and has been spotted sharing a pint with GovLoop Founder Steve Ressler in Tampa.
What does CB2 Mean? “Chris Bennett’s Crisis Blog.” It was originally CB Squared but the superscript 2 never took, so now we’re rocking the big 2.