Lydia lets you donate to hospitals and charities

Fintech startup Lydia is the dominating mobile payment app in France with most of its 3.3 million users in its home country. That’s why the startup has been working hard over the past ten days to ship a feature that was originally planned for this summer — donations to charities and hospitals.

Starting today, Lydia users can choose between 17 charities and send money to those charities using the familiar Lydia payment flow. It works like sending money to your friends and family.

Donations start at €0.50 and those are one-off payments — you can’t set up recurring payments or round up transactions for instance.

Lydia recently introduced “the market”, a marketplace of financial products, such as small credit lines, phone insurance and free credit on home insurance and utility bills. The market menu was buried under the profile tab. The company is now surfacing that screen in its own tab right next to your accounts and transaction history. You can find donations as a new button in the market.

There’s another way to donate. On the payment screen, when you tap a sum and hit next, in addition to the usual list of recipients, you can choose to send money to a charity from there as well. This feature is live on Android and will be available soon on iOS — iOS users have to go through the market for now.

The startup has selected 17 charities for now, but that list could grow over time. You’ll find public hospitals (Paris, Nantes, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Lille and Nice), charities focused on health as well as general public interest charities (Fondation de France, Fondation 101, Médecins du Monde, Epic, Action contre la Faim, La Croix Rouge française, La Fondation Abbé Pierre, La Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer, Réseau Entourage and La Maison des Femmes de Saint-Denis).

If you’re not a Lydia user, you can still use Lydia’s payment flow in your web browser with a credit or debit card. (But nothing is stopping you from donating directly on the charity websites of course.)

If you want to give a large sum of money and deduct part of your donation from your income taxes, you’ll have to ask charities directly. Lydia can’t give you a tax form directly as it only acts as an intermediary.

Eventually, Lydia will deduct processing fees from your donations before handing them over to charities. But the company is waving fees until June 30 due to the coronavirus crisis.