Retailers in Princeton, NJ have banded together to launch a decoupled debit card promoting local business and allowing cardholders to donate to local non-profits.
Roughly 60 local area merchants and non-profits are participating in the program, which allows purchases by card or over a smart phone. Participating consumers can make purchases at the retailers and also fill parking cards through the program.
A partnership between the Princeton Merchants Association and Heartland Payment Systems is issuing the card, with Heartland providing the processing and at least the OnePrinceton site.
Decoupled debit cards are those which allow cardholder to access funds from their checking accounts through the ACH system. Instead of accessing funds through the directly through the debit or credit card system, payment for purchases is made through transactions through electronic check.
They became popular as a means for merchants to avoid having to debit or credit card interchange for consumer card use.
In general, decoupled debit cards have suffered from not being able to provide consumers with detailed, timely accounts of the spending on the cards or charge back privileges in case of disputes, but the OnePrinceton site said that the card will be able to provide detailed accounts of transactions. However, it will still take between 24 and 48 hours for transactions to hit the cardholder's account and the site is silent on chargeback or dispute settlement provisions.