Cyber Corner by Keno Ogbo

Transitioning to a cashless society

An interesting bit of news appeared in a Norwegian paper, when a local church seriously considered taking card payments during the collection part of the service. The reason they considered this was simple: People no longer carried cash around. The only hindrance to the plan was that they had not found a technical solution good enough. As Knut Zakariassen, a minister in the town of Larvik, told the paper, “We can’t have a machine on the altar, where you enter the amount and wait for confirmation.”

Already, churches are thinking of easier and more effective means to take up offerings, as society transitions quickly to a cash free culture. Most contemporary churches will have sections on the offering envelope for parishioners to complete their credit (or debit) card details. The problem is the perceived security and privacy of entering such sensitive data. Churches may do well to publish a policy on how such data is used and stored, to encourage confidence in this approach.

Using technology then has to be considered as part of the way forward, but the big question is: How would this fit into a worship service? Imagine ushers coming up the stairs to you, with payment processing machines in their hands! Frankly, I may not return to that service, as the story of Jesus chasing out the money-changers from the temple would immediately spring to mind.

But, perhaps, there are other ways we could help our cash ‘less’ congregations, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

In bookshops
Does your church have a bookshop? Then taking payments at the point of sale with a terminal would be the first step in helping people effectively and easily pay for books, tapes and other items.

Selling CDs and DVDs after the service
Most churches sell recordings of the church service after the service. Instead of receiving payment only at the terminal, perhaps consider a wireless point of sale system, similar to a restaurant, where the payment terminal is brought to the customer.

Payments by mobile phone or through your website
If your church is arranging a Christmas event, conferences or events, or maybe is raising one-off donations, perhaps consider taking card payments through your website or, alternatively, by mobile phone. With this method, your congregation is able to pay for required services in the comfort of their homes.

 

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London’s Card Crazy

Coming up to Christmas, retailers expect business to go through the roof. But, with the hustle and bustle of life in the fast lane in London, they are finding the risks of carrying large amounts of cash too risky a proposition.

London is quickly becoming the capital of the card age – if it isn’t already – and local businesses are finding business almost impossible without the use of a payment terminal. This is, without doubt, the most cost-effective way of dealing with money. Whether this be for business purchases or consumer purchases, it puts the control into the hands of the business, right where it should be.

A retailer speaks
Local business entrepreneur, Brian, is one of London’s importers and suppliers of African fruit and vegetables to London’s hospitality venues and, after an initial discussion with his accountant, he decided to have a conversation to see the benefits and pitfalls of using a merchant card terminal.

Brian explains he was used to paying for his goods in cash to his suppliers and drivers, and then also to the restaurants, market traders and hotels that he sold to, and felt the risk was continually going up and was looking for an opportunity in which to help the local traders in London to thrive.

He found that the roaming card terminals work off a sim card, in the same way that a mobile phone works and, at a cost of 20p for a debit card and only 1.2% for a credit card, the charges really do work, and the funds are in the business account within three business days. Brian now sees the introduction of a payment terminal as one of the best and most effective decisions he has made for years.

 

Christmas Greeting

We would like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas. Visit www.getsafeonline.org to  read useful tips on how to keep yourself  safe online.

If you would like to explore the use of payment terminals in your church, or you would like someone to explore with you how it can be used in a faith setting, let us know.

 

KENO OGBO runs Spiral Web Solutions, based in London. She is passionate about helping businesses achieve their goals using websites and other online marketing tools. To contact Keno email keno@spiralwebsolutions.com, or call 07958 004 739.

 

 

 

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