Abe Hagenston

Abe Hagenston, who has been homeless in Detroit for about seven years, has found a very efficient way to help not only himself but also others in his little community.

“Honest Abe,” as he calls himself, who calls the 8 Mile overpass on Interstate 75 home, accepts credit and debit card donations from those passersby who don’t have the extra cash on them, CBS Chicago reports.


Hagenston does this by swiping the credit card through a reader attached to his cellphone. This year is an especially hard year for him, with the relative lack of snow in his native city, since he normally shovels snow for extra cash. 

“It’s not really that easy; what we’re lacking is snow,” he told the news station. “Of course there’s no snow removal. I used to look forward to that, doing some shoveling.”

Because he doesn’t have the extra income, he hasn’t made enough money this winter to buy himself new eyeglasses, and he says he could use a new prescription.


Nonetheless, Hagenston and a group of other homeless individuals have made the best of their situation, organizing themselves “like a union” to take shifts panhandling. Hagenston used the extra time to figure out how to be more efficient with the donations and came up with the high-tech approach. 

“I take Visa, MasterCard, American Express,” he explained. “I’m the only homeless guy in America who can take a credit card. It’s all done safely and securely through square.com.”

Square readers essentially turn a smartphone into a card reader, as the news station explains, at a cost of about $10. Square providers do charge vendors a fee for the transaction. According to CBS Chicago, it is unknown how many people have actually given Hagenston their credit card information. 

Read more at CBS Chicago