Tech-savvy beggars in China now accept bank transfers and bitcoin
Beggars in China are becoming innovative as they now accept electronic payment via QR codes, bank to bank transfers and some even accept Bitcoin.
This strange phenomenon has been happening inside Subway stations in China for a while now. They are not the typical homeless or drug addicted characters seen in other metropolitan areas, sitting down with a cardboard sign explaining why they need the money.
These new beggars wear a badge instead with a QR code printed out and some are even equipped with point-of-sale machines.
They are referred to locally as “QR Code Beggars” using Alibaba’s Alipay and WeChat Wallet to digitally receive payment from pedestrian instead of the usual coins or paper currency.
One particular beggar stationed in Jinan’s Wangfu Chizi reportedly suffers from mental illness and the QR code was actually printed out for him by a family member.
One of the beggars, who caught the media’s attention, was reportedly a man with mental problems and the QR code he had was made by his family to help him. However, it appears that QR code begging serves other purposes besides generating income for people down on their luck.
According to digital marketing company, China Channel, many beggars in Beijing receive payment from local businesses for every QR code scanned by passers-by. The enterprises use these scans to collect people’s data from WeChat profiles, sell the IDs for some amount to small businesses that in turn use them for advertisements purposes.