While growing up in
South Carolina, Neel Sus would venture to India – his parents’ home country – every three years or so. He developed a sore spot from seeing all of the suffering and poverty, and he got into the habit of giving money to the needy whenever asked. But this act of giving brought up another moral hazard: Were these donations creating benefits or not? If the person in need goes on to buy alcohol or drugs with the funds, Sus worried, it defeats the whole purpose. He then bought fast food gift cards to donate but soon realized that they were impractical to keep on hand.
Later, as president of local tech company Susco Solutions, Sus decided to put his mobile development skills to use to answer this question: “How can you give to someone in need where no one has to carry anything around and the goods cannot be used for bad things?”
Carebacks, the mobile app that Sus recently launched in New Orleans, allows users to donate virtual gift cards to a person in need. The Carebacks donations are redeemable at many vendor locations around the city for food, shelter, clothing and other necessities – but not alcohol or tobacco goods.
The recipient doesn’t need to have access to the app or any smartphone device in order to redeem the Carebacks gift. Instead, the app generates a four-digit PIN code that the recipient can redeem for the specified dollar amount at any of the participating vendors.
Carebacks donations are currently accepted by vendors such as: The Salvation Army, Breaux Mart, Bridge House, Community Food Center, Winn Dixie and Brown Derby. When the PIN number donation is redeemed, the app alerts the user. But even if the PIN number isn’t exchanged, the money will automatically be donated to charity, so the donor’s goodwill ultimately benefits someone in any scenario.
Eventually, Sus hopes to see the redeemable PIN becomes ubiquitous as a form of payment in New Orleans, as well as other major metropolitan areas.
As the founder of Carebacks, Sus wants more vendors and donors to have awareness of his app. To start using Carebacks, users can download the app for their iPhone or Android device, or even use a web-based application.
Carebacks is seeking additonal vendors to get involved. Interested organizations are encouraged to contact Neel Sus via Carebacks.co, or by visiting their Facebook page, Facebook.com/Carebacks.