In a San Francisco neighborhood, another way to pay: Insular Bernal Heights — “this weird little borderline utopia,” as one resident calls it — has updated “complementary currency” in the form of a debit card.
This sounds like a fascinating experiment!
Designed by two neighborhood loyalists versed in technology and banking, the Bernal Bucks card allows residents to pay for their purchases while earning credits every time they swipe it at any of the two dozen area businesses that have signed on since June.
Accrued as frequent-flier miles are, the bucks can be printed as coupons and used toward future purchases. Cardholders also can donate their accrued “wealth” to neighborhood nonprofits.
… Branded with a cheerful image of Bernal’s iconic hill, their Visa debit card is issued by the local Community Trust Credit Union and aims to make patronizing neighborhood stores simpler: Residents can earn rewards or make charitable donations without having to keep track of stickers on their bills or carry a passel of buy-nine-and-get-the-10th-free punch cards.
Photo: The Bernal Bucks card allows residents to pay for their purchases while earning credits every time they swipe it at any of the two dozen area businesses that have signed on since June. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
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