The Church of England has joined the 21st Century by beginning to accept contactless donations in thousands of churches and cathedrals in England, as it looks to tap into more modern forms of payment.
Portable card readers able to take both contactless and chip and pin payments are to be supplied to as many as 16,000 churches, cathedrals, and other religious sites in England. They will also be able to accept Apple Pay and Google Pay mobile transactions.
A successful trial of contactless payment in around 40 churches last summer has led to the scheme being rolled out nationally.
Currently contactless payments will be mainly used for services such as booking weddings, christenings, etc. But it is expected that digital card readers may be passed around the congregation in the second phase of the project, in tandem with other technology facilitating charitable donations.
The majority of regular church donations are expected to continue to be made by standing order.
John Preston, National Stewardship Officer of the Church of England, said: ‘There is a clear need for our parishes to introduce card and contactless facilities and we are excited to make this available through Parish Buying.’
He continued: ‘How we pay for things is changing fast, especially for younger church-goers who no longer carry cash, and we want all generations to be able to make the most of their place of worship.’
Following the introduction and increasing popularity of contactless payments in the UK, the number of contactless debit and credit cards on issue in the UK as of April 2017 reached 108 million, and almost £370 million in contactless payments were made in the first half of 2017.
The rising popularity of contactless card technology has resulted in fewer people carrying cash and coins than they used to, presenting a problem to businesses and organisations which rely on small change, such as churches.