« Back

What’s a round up donation app?

Cecilia Young July 8, 2019


It used to feel like making donations was only for people that had enough money to write big checks. Now, there are seemingly endless ways to help make a difference. These days our smartphones put the whole world at our fingertips, and that definitely rings true when it comes to the many ways an individual can give to causes they care about, at any level. Round up donation apps are one of the newest and most convenient ways to give on a budget.


What is a “round up” donation?

Maybe you’ve taken a Lyft recently and been given the option to “Round Up and Donate” . Or maybe you’ve heard of Acorns , an investment app that tracks your purchases and rounds them up towards small investments that accumulate bit by bit. It’s all based on the wise old advice: If you mind the pennies, the dollars take care of themselves.

The basic premise of round up donations is simple: you buy something for any amount, let’s say $22.85. The difference when  rounding it up to $23, would be the $0.15 of “spare change” which gets set aside for a donation. Since most purchases don’t end up being an exact dollar amount (like $15.00), we have the ability to make many unnoticed small donations of a few cents that can really add up over time.


So, what’s a round up donation app?

First, let’s talk about what it isn’t. Lyft’s “Round Up and Donate” is a great example. The only chance you get to make a donation with Lyft, is when you ride with them and unless you use Lyft to commute, odds are that’s fairly infrequently. Another example is at retail stores when you are asked to “round up your purchase” and donate the difference to their charity.  We think these platforms are pretty awesome, but we’re talking about something even bigger!

A round up donation app, like Coin Up, tracks your all of the  purchases on your credit or debit card and rounds up every transaction until your pre-set limit is reached.  These apps aren’t restricted to one type of purchase, like Lyft, plus they offer a larger number of charities to choose from. This means that you can round up whether you’re shopping online, paying with a tap from a digital wallet, or swiping your card the good old fashioned way. The app accumulates your “spare change” until the end of each month, when you card is charged, sending the spare change to your charity.

In addition, with apps like Coin Up, you choose the charity or cause that you care about and you receive the impact (and tax donation receipt) for your giving.  Often, a monthly limit is set (as low as $5 with Coin Up), so you are in total control of your giving. It all adds up to making change for a cause you care about!.


What should you look for in a donation app?

While Coin Up was one of the first round up donation apps in the App Store, we aren’t the only player in the game these days. There are a few donation platforms out there all using slightly different strategies, so it’s important to know what you’re signing up for, and who you’re trusting with your personal info and donations. We’ll break this down more in another blog post soon, but here are the basics:

  1. Partnerships: Look for an app that actively partners with every nonprofit it carries on its platform. If they tell you that you can donate to any org, that may mean it will take longer for your donation to get there, if it ever gets there at all. The company may not even have the permission or authority to receive donations for some of those nonprofits.
  2. Transparency: Look for an app that tells you how they secure your banking info, exactly what they do with your money – and when, and how much of your donation goes to the charities. It’s also important to use an app that tracks your impact over time and provides you with a donation receipt for your giving, to make your life easier when it comes to keeping records.
  3. Works for you: There are a lot of options out there, so find something that works for you. Coin Up allows users the flexibility to change their organization and donation amount at any time.  In addition, with monthly donations as low as $5, everyone can make their difference count.  Other apps focus on being flexible in other ways, which is pretty cool too. At the end of the day, you want to pick what works best for you.


Those are the basics of what a round up donation app is and isn’t. If you want to learn more about how Coin Up does it, head over to our FAQ page, or download Coin Up App from the App Store or Google Play . See for yourself how easy it is to make change happen.





« Back