By Bruce Carlson
Hi everyone! As we retired and moved into New Athens this blog was going to be our key task to keep us busy. The adventure of learning about the new area and sharing our exploration with others was a happy task. It was a fun way of giving back. Then a friend shared TranzactCard with us shortly before we left for our Baltic Sea cruise. We had a great time visiting the ports on the Baltic Sea. We also had a blast using our TranzactCard to purchase gifts while visiting the ports of call.
Now that we’re back we want to share the benefits of our TranzactCard with everyone. When you’re new with something it’s always best to learn from those who have the answers and are willing to guide you. With this in mind, I would like to introduce you to Eric Allen. We had the great opportunity to speak with Eric and have him help us share TranzactCard with you. Eric is one of the initial leaders in TranzactCard and knows more than just about anyone else when it comes to TranzactCard.
Bruce – Eric, I am glad we could get together with you today. You’re one of the top people in TranzactCard. We’re brand new to this. So we’re gonna ask you some questions and see what we can learn from you about TranzactCard, and how it benefits people. So can you just give us a 50,000-foot overview of what TranzactCard is and how you got into it?
Eric – Yeah, Bruce and Karen, thanks so much for having me on. I’ll tell you that, like a lot of people, I was juggling a lot of balls about eight or nine months ago, you know, I have run a number of traditional businesses, have four kids, and a wife to keep happy, coaching them. I’m always open to opportunities to bless people and serve and help. But I wouldn’t say I was adamantly looking at that time. I was working about 15-hour days. So a dear friend of mine, named John introduced the idea. I jumped on a couple of zooms with our co-founders, Richard and Peter just fell in love with their heart and vision.
Bruce, I love being a part of disruptive movements, things that come around that can really help the average person, so the other day, you know, I looked at the TranzactCard. I said, Wait a minute. There are FDIC-insured community banks that are part of this. You see there’s VISA right there on the card. It’s just a way to show people how to stretch their dollars further. I mean, here we are in the most prosperous country in the history of civilization. And yet over 100 million Americans are just struggling to get by each month.
So that’s what really jumped out. I’m like, wow, we can show people a way to stretch their money further and stay ahead of inflation. And I said I wanted to be a part of it. I told my wife, she’s like, that’s fine honey. I think she maybe wanted to see me less than she already does Bruce, I don’t know. But it’s been the most fun, the relationships just like all of us coming together. And just being able to have a platform where our truth is good enough and just help people buy more of the things they really want or need is to me, if we can do that the rest will take care of itself.
Bruce – Great. Thanks. Now, my next question would be, we understand this as a debit card. But I’ve talked with other people, and they said, Well, I already have a debit card. So what’s the benefit of having a TransactCard? And why would somebody want to use ours over some other card?
Eric – Like a lot of people, I have every credit card and debit card out there. I think most people would agree the credit cards have gotten a little gimmicky, Bruce, I mean, try to figure out the algorithm, you need a quantum computer, just to determine those airline miles algorithms or hotel credits or whatnot. So with TransactCard, it’s really simple. It does act a lot like a debit card, as you said, there are no overdraft fees, we have lots of different ways to fund your FDIC-insured community checking account, that’s a part of our ecosystem, no fees to transfer the money in and then you just link up to five of these cards to that one account.
I’ve got one for my wife and I get to see what she’s buying these days. I got one for my 13-year-old, I got one for my 12-year-old, I got one for my eight-year-old, they all have different limits on them. They just pull it from the account. Now, to your point. What is unique about this? Well, with TranzactCard, we have a one-to-one dual currency. It’s like a coupon that is used inside our ecosystem. And we call those Z Bucks. And it is really easy to understand, you go out and fill up your tank of gas for $70. You decide to use this card, instead of all your others. You’re going to get 70 Z Bucks, in fact, we’re going to double up your Z Bucks right now before November so you would get 140.
Spend a dollar and get a Z Buck
But just think of a nice one-to-one as you go pay for Starbucks, you go to Costco, pay your Netflix subscription, your cable, your internet, your gas, groceries, utilities, all those things. We just want people to decide to use their TranzactCard because they’re accumulating Z Bucks. They’re going to use the Z Bucks with a real one to $1 value inside our own ecosystem on eventually millions of their favorite products, name brand items. We even have flash sales that you can use only Z Bucks on say getting a cruise ship vacation. So basically, money that you’ve already got to spend anyway, let’s get more Z Bucks that you can apply dollar to dollar to stretch that even further within our ecosystem.
Bruce – That’s really cool because we’re enjoying shopping at Sam’s Club and now not using our Sam’s Club card. We’ve moved everything onto our TranzactCard. So the next question is, okay, we’ve talked about Z Bucks. but what other benefits does the card bring?
Eric – That’s a great question. So the goal is to just change habits slowly but surely, and see the real value in the Z Bucks. And you can use the Z Bucks to buy down the price of everything, from shoes to diapers to luxury goods to camper trailers. But we are a social impact enterprise. So every single person that gets a TranzactCard is also going to have their own power savings account. Because let’s just be honest, I mean Americans are great spenders, but they’re terrible savers. So you really want to enhance financial literacy and give more and more Americans a really nice nest egg that can benefit them long term.
Great spenders, but terrible savers
Just as you’re out swiping your card, you’re going to some of your favorite retailers. As you decide to maybe round up each purchase to the nearest whole dollar, Bruce, there’s lots of different ways that it’s going to organically grow this savings account that’s going to be tied to the company’s Real Estate Investment Trusts, those that are very highly regulated. And the money’s just going to sit in there and grow and compound just by using that card. So you can imagine 5,10, 15 years from now, the goal is to have millions of Americans that have a really nice nest egg to benefit them into the future.
Bruce – You are absolutely correct, saving is something we don’t do very well, and anything to help people save money is a good thing. The next question I have is, how does TranzactCard benefit the community? How does the community benefit from what TranzactCard is trying to do?
Eric – We’re all about uplifting the local community. So first of all, we don’t work with any big regional banks, the too big-to-fail banks, we really want to start with community-based banks. Bruce, we have over 250 community banks in our country closed down each and every year. So we are bringing customers to these community banks. And then we want people to go out and use this card wherever Visa is accepted, but certainly in their local area.
Helping the community
We’re helping churches, through fundraising, we’re helping charities through donations, we’re gonna help small business owners to attract more customers, give them a value add on to their customers, and benefit them with different income streams. So we really want to uplift the local areas where our TranzactCard members are. It’s unique because we don’t have any barriers to entry. I mean, it’s anywhere in the local community or world that Visa is accepted, can become a part of our ecosystem, and make it a win-win for all parties involved.
Bruce – We just took the Baltic Sea trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. And we were taking pictures of us using transact and Lithuania, Latvia, all those crazy places we were in. And it worked. I mean, tap the card to the payment device and I got a text message for the sale right away. When we talk to people, they ask how safe is TranzactCard? Now you mentioned about FDIC. But what makes this a safe item for people so they don’t have to worry about losing their money?
Eric – There are a lot of nefarious characters out there, I don’t think at any time we have seen more people using the internet and technology for bad than we are now. So what’s great about TranzactCard, you alluded to it, you know, every time a swipe happens on a card that’s connected to someone’s account, they’re immediately going to get a text notification, an email notification, they can log in to their banking platform. Soon we’ll have a new app coming out, that’s going to be really nice.
As soon as they detect any fraudulent activity, they can immediately go in and deactivate that card. If a purchase comes through and they don’t see it. They don’t recognize where they came from. They can immediately deactivate the card, they can cancel it, they can order another one. The company is obviously going to take care of any fraudulent charges but knowing that people’s money is really secured in an FDIC-insured environment.
It gives a lot of our members peace of mind because when most people peel back the layers. They don’t realize, when you’re talking about Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, none of that money is secure. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, Zell went down. Nobody could access their money. That’s one of the biggest ones out there. So the nice thing here is everything is housed in that FDIC insurance. There are immediate notifications, there’s immediate access to deactivate cards, and then we obviously have a fraud department, should there be a fraudulent charge that’ll give that money back to the person involved.
Kickoff is coming
Bruce – Great, great. We know that the kickoff is coming up here in November. What’s the timeline of important things happening between now and then that people should be aware of?
Eric – Right now the company is just in the beta test. We’ve gone from a handful of us to 10s of 1000s of us within the ecosystem in less than a few months. So that’ll strain any startup company. So right now, bringing in lots of great talent and customer service, the development team, that technology team is creating an app-based environment where it’s a one-stop shop where you can log in, get your banking, get to the Z-club, and you can log into your back office to see all those things.
Customer service is going to have live chat AI bots, and there’ll be marketing funnels, to get more information out there. This is all going to come really, really quickly. I mean, I’m talking that in the next three weeks, you’re gonna see a lot of these enhancements rolling out. And those of us who have been in since day one, six or seven months ago, we can attest, that today’s a heck of a lot better than it was 90 days ago. But today, still, by far the worst we will ever be. And when you’re in kind of that beta test phase, you know, you just want to manage people’s expectations.
You guys do a great job of that. And it’s like, hey, we’re looking for fun, positive beta testers, whether you want to get a TranzactCard or participate more on the entrepreneurial side, just know that we’re in beta test. So just come on in and have fun with us. And don’t expect everything to be perfect because it’s our job to break stuff right now.
No monumental, disruptive, or transformational movement ever happened overnight. And look at what we’re trying to do. My goodness, we’re trying to disrupt not only banking but also e-commerce charitable giving fundraisings are massive undertakings. And I’m just so excited that we’re attracting great people like you and others who catch the vision and really want to be a part of this movement with us.
Bruce – Well, that’s great to hear. And we’re really looking forward to seeing you in Las Vegas in November. And as we get this thing officially on the rails and down the tracks, we’ll be able to share this with everybody. So I thank you for what you’ve done and what you’re doing for us and we’ll go ahead with this and get it out there.
I would like to thank Eric for sharing his knowledge and wisdom of TranzactCard with us. Karen and I are very excited about sharing the opportunity to help people be more secure in their finances by just swiping their TranzactCard in place of their current debit or credit cards. Spend a dollar and get back two Z Bucks, put the change in an account, get interest on the account sounds like a winner to me.
We hope you are enjoying these articles and are willing to continue to follow along as we move through the process of selling our house, buying a new house (to become our home), and the adventures of learning about life in southern Illinois, Bruce & Karen.