Although it might not have been what the pilgrims or Native Americans initially had in mind, the most obvious intersection between Thanksgiving weekend and fintech is payments and ecommerce. This year, nearly 75% of Americans — who can at least agree that they love shopping — plan on hitting the stores on Black Friday. If last year is any indication, online sales will be huge. In 2015, consumers spent a whopping $4.45 billion on Black Friday and Thanksgiving.
That means that, in addition to the increasing number of unfortunate humans scheduled to work on those days, payment technologies like Walmart Pay or Visa Checkout will be working overtime to respectively process all of these in-store and online payments.
While Black Friday and its payment technology accomplices may have managed to invert the holiday’s symbol of the Cornucopia, Thanksgiving weekend isn’t just about consumerism. Here are three ways that Thanksgiving weekend and fintech come together to promote giving.
Crowdfunding platforms enable consumers to give on the go. So even if they can’t get to a food bank to donate or serve on the holiday, consumers can to use crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo to finance the holiday meal of someone in need.
Some fintechs use the holidays to help bring their customers up to speed about best practices. For instance, SMB lender Kabbage advises small businesses to offer Thanksgiving cards and to use the holiday to do employee team building. Kabbage suggests the Turkey Trot. Another online lender for SMBs, BFS Capital, took the holiday as an opportunity to publish these 8 Thanksgiving promotions.
Black Friday is followed by Cyber Monday, which is in turn replaced by #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving. And while brands can get a lot out of promoting giving, the fact is that #GivingTuesday campaigns in the U.S. raised nearly $117 million in online donations in 2015. Among the banks and fintechs that have been involved with #GivingTuesday are Bank of America, JPM Chase, TD Bank Group, PayPal, Stripe, and Prosper.
So even though payments and ecommerce might be standing in Thanksgiving’s fintech spotlight, behind the scenes fintech really is spreading some holiday spirit.