Humans left behind nearly $1,000,000 in change at airports worldwide in 2018. Imagine what that number is outside of airports. Now, imagine the impact we could make if that leftover money went toward charities that make the world a better place. This is why we should SpareChange - bringing change, with change.
What it does
This app rounds up spending from each purchase to the nearest dollar and uses that accumulated money to donate it to charities & nonprofits.
How we built it
We built a cross platform mobile app using Flutter, powered by a Firebase backend. We setup Firebase authentication to ensure secure storage of user info, and used Firebase Cloud Functions to ensure we keep developer credentials locked away in our secure cloud. We used the CapitalOne Hackathon API to simulate bank accounts, transactions between bank accounts and withdrawals.
Challenges we ran into
- Implementing a market place or organizations that could automatically update the user of tangible items to donate to the non-profits in lieu of directly gifting money.
- Getting cloud functions to work.
- Properly implementing the API's the way we need them to function.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Making a functioning app. This was some of our first times at a hackathon so it was amazing to have such a first great experience.
Overcoming obstacles - it was empowering to prevail over hardships that we previously thought would be impossible to hurdle.
Creating something with the potential to help other people live better lives.
What we learned
On the surface, software such as Flutter, Dart & Firebase. We found them very useful.
More importantly, realizing how quickly an idea can come to fruition. The perspective was really enlightening. If we could make something this helpful in a weekend, what could we do in a year? Or a lifetime?
What's next for SpareChange
We believe that SpareChange could be a large scale application. We would love to experiment and try out with real bank accounts and see how it works, and also build more features, such as using Machine Learning to provide the best charities to donate to based on real-time news.