Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve answered some of the most common questions we get about Beam. Don't see your question answered, contact us at


How does it work to link my card?

  • An integration called Plaid handles this for us! Plaid uses bank-level encryption, is trusted by 9,600 banks, and powers a lot of your favorite apps, like Venmo, Mint, and Acorns.
  • Plaid notifies our system when you’ve made a purchase at a partner brand. This automatically triggers our system to send you a push notification that opens to a list of causes supported by that partner brand. Linking your card helps us easily verify that you’ve made a purchase, without requiring you to change how you shop at all to start making a difference. You don’t have to pay through the app or even remember to use Beam--just swipe your card as usual, and Plaid works in the background to make the magic happen automatically.


What does bank-level encryption mean?

  • Plaid uses the same security mechanisms as banks it partners with to protect your information.


What kind of data do you store about me? Will you take money out of my account?

  • Beam will always be free, and we can’t ever take money from your account. Plaid simply pings our system when you make a purchase at a partnered brand. 
  • We don’t store your bank login anywhere on our end. Plaid handles that entirely with your bank. 
  • The only data we get from Plaid is completely anonymous and protected with bank-level encryption. What’s important to us is the total number of people visiting our partner brands, so we don’t capture any personal information about you.


Are you watching all of my purchases?

  • No, we don’t know how you, specifically, are spending at all because all of the data we receive is completely anonymized. It helps us learn about our users at an aggregate level, like if Beamers like fancy restaurants more than fast casual chains.


I don’t have a credit card or I don’t want to link it. Is there any other way to use Beam?

  • Yes! A growing number of our partners have QR codes at the cash register that you can scan while checking out to unlock a donation.
  • However, our testing has shown that people make 2-3x as much impact when they link their card, since they never have to worry about forgetting to scan a QR code.


Why do brands do this?

  • The brands we partner with believe in these causes and think that giving back to things their customers care about, too, is the best way to build long-term relationships.
  • We’ve seen our users visit our partner brands more and more each week, proving that all brands should give back--not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes sense for business.


How do you get paid? Do you take a cut of the donation?

  • No, we’re a mission-driven company and never take any part of the donation. Our partner brands pay us for the volume of new customers we drive to visit for the first time, and the increases in loyalty they see from existing customers.


Do you sell my data to make money?

  • No, your personal information and data is never shared with anyone and not even visible to people within our company, since it's anonymized.
  • The only data we do share is at an aggregated level, like “X% of Think Coffee customers support women’s empowerment.”


Will this affect my battery life?

  • No, this is something we’re extremely sensitive to. Users see almost no impact on their battery life after downloading Beam.


How do you pick nonprofits?

  • We work with partner brands to pick nonprofits that reflect their values and that we think will matter most to their customers.
  • We also use vetting mechanisms like Charity Navigator and Guidestar to make sure that we’re only featuring the highest impact, most transparent nonprofits possible on the Beam platform.


How do I get a nonprofit I love to be featured on Beam?

  • We’re always looking for amazing organizations to pair new brands with! Submit your favorite nonprofit here. If it aligns with a partner’s brand values and meets our criteria to be featured (see question above), we’d love to support your favorites.