After reading a study that stated $62 million in pennies are accidentally thrown out each year, we were curious about how this money could have instead been used to benefit society. As such, we decided to create an app that allows users to use their leftover change to make an actual change for others.
What it does
change4change promotes charitable contributions through each of your purchases. All your transactions are rounded to the nearest dollar, with the difference going towards a charity of your choice. In case you’re uncertain of which charity to support, the app has built-in search capabilities that allow you to either search for charities by name or by category.
How we built it
Through Android Studio, Google Firebase, and the CapitalOne Hackathon API, we created our functional mobile app. Firebase provided a secure database for storing user credentials, while the CapitalOne Hackathon API enabled easy access to banking simulations to power our features. Android’s handy native UI elements allows us to create a sleek front-end to present to the user.
Challenges we ran into
As first-time developers on Android, we spent some time learning to work within the platform’s limitations. Obtaining a database of charities was also a challenge which we solved by scraping websites and processing data using custom python scripts to generate the database. Another challenge was configuring Firebase for Android to allow for authorization and data-storing.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of our app’s functionalities since they are modularized and well-designed; as such, user experience is streamlined and simple. Additionally, we are satisfied with having developed a pragmatic charity search functionality by applying data science concepts and overcoming certain Android limitations. Additionally, we are happy with our ability to develop a sleek interface design that is appealing to users.
What we learned
Since many of us were new to Android development, we learnt the fundamentals of Android Studio and Java. Additionally, we had to learn how to use Firebase to authenticate user credentials and store user information securely.
What's next for change4change
We plan on implementing functionality for real banking institutions and potentially releasing this product to the Google Play Store. Additionally, we are looking into possibly rebuilding the app to be more scalable for larger operations.