Cashtie API Enables Cash Payments for Digital Goods

Kin Lane
Feb. 05 2014, 10:00AM EST

The insights below were provided to ProgrammableWeb by the publisher of the Cashtie API (Interactive Communications International) as part of ProgammableWeb's sponsored content program. The information and opinions expressed in this content are those of Interactive Communications International and its partners and not of ProgrammableWeb's editorial team. The writer, Kin Lane, authored this content as a part of his paid arrangement with Interactive Communications International.

We are all familiar with online commerce these days. You want to buy something while shopping on Amazon or any other online destination: You create a profile and enter your credit card number; you purchase physical products, have them mailed to you and get the instant gratification of a digital purchase.

Even with the ubiquity of online commerce, we still depend on retail stores to purchase the physical products that we need daily and make cash purchases that can occur only at the corner store, right? This all changes today, with the introduction of the Cashtie API, which gives developers the ability to accept cash payments for digital goods, services and bill payments, from the point-of-sale (POS) systems of top retail providers such as Walmart and Target. The Cashtie API gives developers access to large retailers, via barcodes that link the retailers' POS systems to your digital goods and services. Web or mobile application users can receive a barcode, present it to retail clerks, and pay cash for digital goods such as music, movies or games.

The link between retail stores, cash purchases and the sale of online goods and services is now complete. The ability to provide cash payments for digital items isn’t limited to next-generation digital goods; it can be applied just as easily to everyday utility bills, bypassing the historically slow bill-pay services that people experience today, allowing customers to simply bring in the paper bill or virtual bill via their phone, present a barcode and make a cash payment on their regular monthly or one-time bills.

While you are waiting in line at the store, the checkout aisle has been master-planned to present you with a number of impulse buys, ranging from a candy bar to the latest gossip magazine. Imagine a reinvented checkout aisle, where you can jump on the phone, receive instant offers for goods and services, and pay cash—changing the way you shop both online and offline. And the experience isn't limited to the checkout aisle. Whether you're at home gaming or preparing for weekly grocery shopping, any part of your regular routine can become a new opportunity for offering deals on the goods and services you need or want.

Many people are very comfortable making online purchases with credit cards, but others still deal in cash: According to the FDIC, 8.2 percent of U.S. households don't use banks for legal transactions, representing 10 million households in total; 20.1 percent—or 24 million—U.S. households are underbanked, meaning these consumers use cash to buy their goods services and pay their bills. This leaves many online purchases currently out of their reach. The Cashtie API is focused on bridging this last mile between physical and online shopping worlds. Incomm has spent almost 20 years building the relationships with major retailers such as Walmart, Target and CVS; it is now up to developers to extend this to consumers with the latest apps for purchasing goods and services and integrating them into a company’s billing cycle.

Cashtie just opened for business. It's looking to provide incentives to developers to get involved by holding the Cashtie App Challenge, where winners get to present their apps directly to the top retailers at the Incomm Partner Alliance conference. Retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, CVS and more are expected to gather at the conference and learn about the latest technology, apps and trends—an amazing opportunity for any developer. In this exciting online world, it's easy to think that everything happens on the Internet. However, in reality much of the world is still a cash business. With the Cashtie API, there is new opportunity for developers to link this physical commerce to virtual commerce and back again. Retailers are looking for the next in-demand goods and services that will keep their retail locations relevant—do you have the solutions they seek?

Kin Lane I am a programmer and entrepreneur, with a focus on the business of APIs. I study how APIs are changing the business landscape, and the rise of API driven developer ecosystems. I share my insights by blogging on API Evangelist and ProgrammableWeb, and put into action as API evangelist for CityGrid.

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