The Up Maybuy Exchange

August 2023

To raise awareness of Up's Maybuy feature, we worked with Taboo, Boom Studios and Alt-Shift to create the "Maybuy Exchange" pop-up shop. Inside the exchange, "The Maybuy Machine" let Upsiders trade-in something they regretted buying, then tap their Up card to win up to $500.

This post is a year late, but I've finally gotten around to writing it.

Conceived of by Taboo and brought to life through a close collaboration with our in-house teams, when an Upsider placed the item they regretted purchasing onto our custom built 'scanning bed' and tapped their card, the machine would whir to life, paying them between $5 and $500 for their item. Items were then donated to charity to be re-used.

An awesome opening night party saw Client Liaison help us raise awareness by trying the machine alongside keen Upsiders. Since then we've worked with Aurelia St Clair, the lovely Shameless, Press Club, Funny business, Maggie Zhou and Jade Zoe to really help demonstrate what Maybuy can be used for. It's been great to see the ecclectic collection of things these lovely humans are using Maybuy to save for through the What We're Maybuyin' series Seb Neylan pulled together.

One year on

It's been a year since the Maybuy Exchange, and the feature has gone great guns! It's helped Upsiders save millions towards their purchases, and even better 37% of the time, Upsiders decided not to buy the thing they'd saved for, opting instead to keep their savings.

Video of the opening night in full-swing.

This post goes into a little detail about how we made the machine work, but before I get into that, check out the video above 👆 to see the awesome effort put in by our brand team, Boom Studios and Taboo!. There's also a few a select shots of the location below 👇 so you can see it all decked out.

Good photos by Taboo/CHawks. Bad photos by me.

How did we make the MayBuy machine work?

This activation was great fun to help put together alongside my team. As well as the front-end development of the super chaotic website (see others), I came up with the "tap your card to play" mechanic and worked with Andrew Carson to bring it to life.

Tap to play mechanic

The Maybuy mechanic
The Maybuy Machine tap-to-play mechanic

We wanted to make it super simple for Upsiders to use the Maybuy machine, but we also needed to make sure it was secure and foolproof enough that it couldn't be misused. We were giving away real money, and anytime that happens there's a potential for abuse.

To verify that an Upsider was who they said they were, and hadn't already entered, we could've asked them to type their $upname into the machine, but this wasn't perfect. Someone could enter any Upname they chose, so we'd also need to verify they were who they said they were by asking them to show us some part of their account in-app. We weren't super keen on this of these things as it's intrusive and nowhere near as seamless as we wanted.

Instead, I figured out that if an Upsider tapped their card or digital wallet on a specific merchant terminal, with the right pieces behind the scenes, we could identify this transaction using a similar mechanic to the one we use to give people real-time cash backs on their coffee purchases through Perk Up. This would then let us make sure that the transaction was from a legitimate Upsider, who'd only entered once, and the games could commence.

We worked with Taboo to create a merchant account we could use…as a real transaction was needed, the staff manning the machine would set up a transaction for $1 (refunded alongside the prize) and the machine would whir to life when it was detected.

After the transaction was detected, we used a Mac mini to display some really cool visualisations and sound effects(created by the talented Justin Higgs), ending up with the amount the Upsider had won displayed on-screen. Entering more than once would show an error message.

Because Up is a bank, the cool thing is that once we knew how much had been won, we could transfer the winnings directly into the Upsiders bank account. Alongside that we sent them a push notification confirming the win. This all worked super seamlessly, however we did learn that transactions take a tiny bit longer to work their way through the payment system during peak times like lunchtime.

Coverage and aftermath.

The activation was a great success and hard work on the PR-front by Alt-Shift and Anne Shea resulted in some awesome Channel 9 news coverage (check it out below!) and a swath of coverage across the country. We also saw a great spike in website traffic and signups immediately after the event, which was a lovely addition.

Up and Maybuy being featured on the Channel 9 news was a massive win.


As always pulling together activations like this only happens because of a team of people working together hand in-glove. This was no exception.