05/23/2014 10:30 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

New App Ensures Homeless People Don't Use Donations On Alcohol, Cigarettes


Some people face a fairly common dilemma when coming across a homeless person they'd like to help: Will my spare change be used for food or water, or on stuff that won't benefit (and maybe even worsen) their situation?

A new smart phone app is eliminating the need to fret. Carebacks -- available now on Android and mobile web formats, and soon for iPhone users -- lets its users give digitally to those who need it, and ensures the money cannot be used on alcohol or tobacco products.

Susco, a Louisiana-based tech company, is the brainpower behind the new charitable tool.

"So you have that kind of moral hazard of, so you’re giving a person money, but you actually could make their lives worse," Neel Sus, CEO of Susco, told WGNO. Sus said Carebacks gets rid of the need to question how your gift will be spent.

Once users donate money using credit card information through the app, they're provided with a four-digit number. The recipient of the gift, which must be at least $5, needs to remember or write down the number, and can then redeem the cash value at any one of the participating vendors in the New Orleans area. Sus said he is expanding vendor options outside the region, and is hoping the concept catches on nationally.

Carebacks is just one of several apps that have made giving back a quick and easy method for millions of smart phone users.

Instead is one example that proves "you don't have to be a billionaire to change the world," as its website proclaims. The app compares products or services you may purchase throughout your day, and challenges you with alternative methods of achieving the same goal -- such as brewing your own coffee at home instead of buying it at a store. In that example, every time the user brews his or her own coffee, they can log it in the app and donate whatever money they'd save to a charity of their choosing.

There's even a way to give back while you work out. Charity Miles is an app that allows you to run, bike or walk as a sponsor for a nonprofit of your choosing. The app tracks your mileage and donates money per-mile to the cause.

Learn more about how you can make a difference on Mashable's 6 Apps That Fit Charity Into Your Daily Routine.

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