Churches see rise in donations after introducing contactless collection plates


Tech-savvy churches are bringing in 97 percent more donations as they turn to contactless technology for their collection plates.

The Church of England has been rolling out contactless collection plates across the UK since last September with churches in London, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Peterborough at the front of the queue to try it out.

According to SumUp, the fin-tech company behind the card readers, for every 500 church visitors, 35 percent are looking to use contactless payments.

As a result, introducing contactless collection plates means 175 more donations can be made to a church each service, where a congregation is 500 strong. This equates to £875 more revenue, per every 500 parishioners.

SumUp told The Telegraph that the churches using the technology saw their donations double within four months of using the digital collection plate.

The total digital revenue taken on the new collections plates has skyrocketed since September and the contactless card readers now account for nearly half of digital donations, such as standing orders, that churches are receiving altogether.

“Overall giving has increased. It appears that people who were previously not giving, maybe because they didn’t have cash on them, are now giving when they have the opportunity,”

Reverend Margaret Cave of Christ Church East Greenwich told The Telegraph.

“It appears the usual cash collections have not gone down but that we are having additional donations made through the digital collection box.”

Vicar Dan Leathers of St Mark’s Haydock in St Helen’s has also been using contactless during church services. He said: “The contactless option allows those who don’t carry cash to contribute to this work of the church if they feel so inspired.”

Some church collection plates began to go contactless in June 2017when the Church of England decided to target one off events like christenings and weddings to increase its revenue.

It made portable card readers available to more than 16,000 churches, cathedrals and religious sites meaning that congregations and visitors could make a donation using their bank cards or phones, with Apple Pay and Google Pay compatible with the service.

The current roll out sees a digital collection plate passed around the congregation during regular Sunday service, either alongside, or completely replacing, the typical offertory.

It comes as SumUp found a 540 percent increase in digital charity donations last year, compared to in 2017, a method embraced by the in London where contactless giving points were introduced across the city last year to generate more donations to the homeless.

Contactless use in general has soared in the past three years, overcoming any concerns about the security of pin-free transactions.

In 2017, £25bn was spent using contactless which was more than twice the £11bn spent in the previous eight years combined.  

The revolution has also swept up pensioners – a new report published by UK Finance last Summer showed that for the first time, more than half of over-65s were using contactless cards, compared to two-thirds of UK consumers at large.

Reverend Cave added that although new technology in the church often appeals to millenials, older members of her congregation are embracing it too.

She said:

“We have a really wide age range and the oldest member of our congregation is 93. He is amazing and he has certainly used the card reader at some point.”

First Published 20.01.19: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/20/churches-see-rise-donations-introducing-contactless-collection/

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