Have you heard of the new FOOi App? If not, don’t worry. It’s very new, having only launched in May 2018.
With that said, the idea for FOOi was conceived in late 2016 by two Canadian businessmen — David Morrison and David Cynamon. Both Davids were at a social gathering and struck up a conversation about how they rarely carry cash anymore. Because of that, they found that tipping was always an issue since you usually needed cash and there was no way to tip digitally. Wasn’t there a way to tip coat check attendants, car valets, buskers and more in a cashless way?
So, they brainstormed the idea of developing an app together that would bridge that gap. In May 2017, FOOi Inc. was incorporated and staffed with a dedicated team of developers on a mission to create an app that could solve the problem of peer-to-peer and peer-to-business digital payments in Canada.
One year later, the first version of the FOOi App was formally launched in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. Since then, several updates and improvements have been made to make the app even better.
Why We Need Another Way to Send Money Online
To give you a personal story of why I use FOOi to use money digitally, let me take you back to this summer.
A little over two months ago, I was rushing to take my full license road test. Yes, I’m 32 and up until recently I still didn’t have my full driver’s license.
If you’ve watched my annual vision board videos, then you already know that getting my license has been a recurring goal of mine. And yet, year after year, I still wouldn’t do anything about it.
I’m not sure if it was my fear of failure or just sheer laziness, but for years I could never muster up the self-motivation to book a road test and get it over with.
So, when I got a letter from Service Ontario telling me that if I didn’t get my full driver’s license before July 18, my license would expire…that lit a fire in my belly.
I hate driving and I hate driving tests even more. But, there was no way I was going to retake my learner’s license at 32! NOT…GONNA…HAPPEN!
With less than 4 weeks to book a driving test, not to mention find a car to use for the driving test, I called every single driving school in Toronto in a panic. Every school was booked solid, but eventually I found a school that had a slot available the following week for a 2-hour lesson. Although I’ve been driving since I was 16, I haven’t driven a car since I moved to Toronto 5 years ago so I needed some practice.
The lesson itself went great, but when it came time to pay the instructor at the end of the lesson, it became a whole situation. He needed cash because his credit card reader wasn’t working. I haven’t carried cash in my wallet for years.
I suggested that I Interac e-transfer him the money, which he agreed to. We tried doing the transfer 5 times, but each time it failed to go through. Realizing this was the only way to pay him digitally, I was forced to drive to an ATM and take out cash. It was inconvenient, awkward, and after that ordeal I was on the hunt for a solution.
Then, the lovely people at FOOi reached out to me to tell me about their app (queue chorus of angels).
Where Did the Name “FOOi” Come From?
This was one of my first questions when meeting with the FOOi team — “What on Earth does FOOi mean?” The only times I’ve heard someone say a similar-sounding word was Donald Duck when he’d exclaim “Aww phooey!” when he was frustrated with something. Well, Donald Duck has nothing to do with the name of this app, and if you know Dutch then you’d know the word “fooi” means “tip”.
Just like Uber, FOOi aspires to transform into a verb so that one day people will say “Hey, can you FOOi me the money?”
You’ve got to admit, FOOi is a pretty memorable word!
How Does FOOi Work?
FOOi’s tagline is “Share money in the moment” and it’s 100% true. When I went to visit the FOOi team, we did a test run because I needed some more convincing. I opened up my FOOi app as did one of the FOOi team members. The team member searched for my profile in the app, clicked on it, typed in $15 as the amount of money to send me, then hit the “Give” button. In less than a second, that money was in my FOOi account.
I’ll be honest, I was very surprised how fast the transaction was. Usually I do Interac e-transfers with people if I need to send money, and it can take several minutes (if not longer). The FOOi transaction was almost instant. Pretty impressive.
How Do You Send Money with FOOi?
In terms of how it works, it’s literally just as simple as I described above:
- Download the app (iOS or Android)
- Make sure the person you want to send money to also has the app
- Search for the person’s profile in the app
- Type in how much you want to send them
- Hit the “Give” button
- You will have a record of the transaction listed under the “Account” section of the app
How Do You Load Money into the FOOi App?
In order to send money, you need to first load the FOOi app with money. Here’s how you’d do that:
- Go to “Account” in the app
- Hit the “Load” button
- Choose an amount you want to load into the app (in $20 denominations)
- Choose a payment option (Apple Pay, PayPal, Credit Card or Visa/Mastercard Debit)
- Type in your payment details
- The amount will instantly appear in your account
How Do You Take Money Out?
If you’ve loaded money in the app but want to take it out, or maybe you’ve received money that you want to transfer to your bank account:
- Go to the “Withdraw” section of the app
- It will show you your current balance and the processing fee for withdrawing your entire balance
- Hit the “Withdraw” button
- It will prompt you to type in your bank account details
- Hit the “Verify” button
You may be wondering if you can withdraw a specific amount of money of the app. From what I can tell, you can only withdraw your entire balance.
What Are FOOi’s Fees?
FOOi is a company with staff, so although it’s technically a free app there are some fees associated with it so they can, you know, keep everything running.
The only fees you’ll ever have to pay are 4.99% on withdrawals. The means when you want to move money from the app into your bank account, you’ll be charged 4.99% on the amount you’re withdrawing. FOOi however is hoping to lower that fee as the app becomes more widely used.
That also means that you won’t be charged any fees for loading the app with money or sending money to other FOOi users. You’ll only be charged for withdrawals.
What Happens to the Money in the App?
You may be wondering, what happens to your balance in the app. Well, FOOi keeps those funds liquid to ensure there’s always a float for when (and if) users withdraw funds. That being said, FOOi does earn the standard corporate bank interest on your funds in the app.
Is It Secure?
Short answer, yes, it is. FOOi’s mantra is to offer the safest and most secure digital wallet available in Canada. How secure is it? Here’s a laundry list of things they’ve done to ensure their security is to the highest standards:
- Completed and abided by all rules for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and certified SAQ-A compliant.
- Completed both a Privacy Risk Assessment (PIA) and a Threat Risk Analysis (TRA), performed by a leading privacy and risk assessor in Canada.
- Implemented all requirements to operate and report as a Money Service Business (MSB) as per FINTRAC.
- Implemented AVS, CVV, and 3D Secure Fraud prevention tools to minimize illegal use of card information on the platform.
- Utilizes human review of all transactions on the platform and has implemented a “Deep Sweep Review” of all transactions and interactions with the platform in the event of a user requesting a withdraw.