Sweet Delights owner Barb Marquardt and Yodo managing director Brian Doyle show the easy to use mobile app payment system.

Cellphone app a sweet addition to payment options

Cash-based system being tested in Oak Bay

An Oak Bay merchant is on the cutting edge of mobile payment.

Sweet Delights owner Barb Marquardt is one of the first merchants in the world to accept payments made with a cell phone app.

“That’s one thing about a candy store, there are lots of very inexpensive things,” said Marquardt. “Debit was costing me so much, it was like paying people to take away my candy.”

Then about 18 months ago, Brian Doyle walked into her shop with a solution. Yodo was developed in London and Japan and is being used under a pilot program brought to Oak Bay by Yodo’s managing director Doyle.

“I started working on it several years ago but let it relapse, I’ll say. My wife and I moved to Tokyo and I saw everybody there using the QR codes and I thought, ‘there’s an opportunity there’” said Doyle. He then connected with a British company that was making mobile apps and began development of the payment system.

The company is working with the National Research Council to “embellish and improve security,” said Doyle.

Since the small pilot project began, some banks have shown interest in the payment app.

“Because it works on both (android and apple) platforms it gives the product more appeal,” said Doyle. “We’re uniquely basing ours on cash.”

After you download the app to create an account, your account is automatically credited when merchants scan your phone as you tender cash in excess of the purchase price. Receipts are stored electronically as well.

“It makes huge financial sense and it’s simple for kids to use,” added Marquardt, who said most of her Yodo users are between the ages of 12 and 25. “Although, now that it’s come out on the iPhone, I’ve noticed a few more older people using it.”

Right now there are only a few merchants, including Ambrosia on Oak Bay Avenue, Tru Value Foods in Cordova Bay, Victoria’s Black Olive restaurant and Bagels on Broad who are accepting Yodo as payment.

“We’re waiting for it to evolve more. It’s still in the early stages and if it works well in Canada, it will work anywhere in the world,” said Doyle. “We don’t want it to expand too much. … Probably next year we’ll raise some cash and try to roll it out as a pilot program in the UK modelled on this one in Canada.”

Yodo uses public-key encryption and tri-factor authentication including facial recognition for security and no personal data or banking information is captured or stored by the app.

“We want to be judicial in making sure everything is working perfectly. It allows you to spend anonymously, so we have to make sure we meet all legal requirements everywhere you go.”

Lean more at yodopay.com.

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