W. MI startup creates app that rewards charities as you shop

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A startup business in West Michigan is giving consumers a chance to support their favorite organizations while shopping for the holidays.

Grand Rapids-based Benefit is a digital gift card platform that allows users to cash in or send gift cards with a percentage of the sales supporting their chosen charity.

Here’s how it works: The user opens up the Benefit app on their smartphone and selects the store they want to buy from and the amount they want on a mobile gift card. The app instantly uses that mobile gift card to purchase a store gift card, with a percentage of that purchase going to the user’s cause.

Feel good while you shop from Derik Lolli on Vimeo.

“Benefit is a way for you to give to the things that matter most to you without spending a dime beyond your usual transaction,” stated Benefit CEO and founder Derik Lolli in a news release. “You’re paying with purpose and for some people it’s their kids, nonprofit, healthcare, a mortgage, or college bills. The beauty is you decide where you want that money to go.”

More than 150 national retailers and merchants participate in the program, including Amazon, Best Buy, Gap, Target and Wal-Mart. Between 2 percent and 20 percent of the total transaction amount goes to the buyer’s selected charity or organization.

Lolli said 80 percent of participating retailers allow users to purchase a mobile gift card in the exact amount as their purchase at checkout.

Priority Health is among the thousands of groups participating as beneficiaries, allowing customers to use the app to earn money back toward their healthcare bills.


Online: Benefit mobile app

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