Tech-Savvy Homeless Man Accepts Money Through Smartphone Card Reader
By Laura Dang
January 28, 2016
A number of people these days carry no cash or change with them as one homeless man in Detroit has noted. That’s why he is now also accepting donations from people via a smartphone card reader that will process debit and credit card transactions.
The tech savvy panhandler, Abe Hagenston or better known as “Honest Abe”, told CBS Detroit that he has been saving up for a new pair of prescription glasses. Hagenston has apparently been on the streets for seven years and currently resides underneath the 8 Miles overpass on I-75 in Detroit, Michigan.
Though some may think that Hagenston is pleased by the relatively mild winter in the city, he’s not. The lack of snowfall has left him with nothing to do as he usually spends every winter shoveling snow for extra money. He told CBS:
“It’s not really that easy, what we’re lacking is snow. Of course, there’s no snow removal. I used to look forward to that, doing some shoveling.”
However, Hagenston has put his time to good use by organizing a group of fellow vagrants into a kind of union to delegate panhandling shifts in the area. He has also figured a way to make donations easy and efficient by the help of Square reader technology.
Square, a tech firm founded by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, enables businesses to conduct transactions utilizing smartphone and tablet technology. Hagenston attaches the device to his smartphone which turns his mobile into a card reader.
He explained to CBS: “I take VISA, MasterCard, American Express. I’m the only homeless guy in America who can take a credit card. It’s all done safely and securely through square.com.”
The device costs up to $10 and is compatible with Apple or Android smartphones. The vendors are charged a 2.75 percent fee per transaction and is paid all their earnings the next day via direct deposit into their bank account.
While a handful of people don’t carry cash or change, Honest Abe knows they carry debit and credit cards.
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