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Give and go: charities bring in contactless

03 Mar 2017 04:00

Cast your mind back to the last time you withdrew cash from an ATM. Last week? Last month? For many, it’s likely to be last year.

We take a look at the growing tendency to carry little or no cash, and how contactless payments are stepping up in place of cash transactions, even in places you might not expect.

Card only, please

As many more retailers and transport networks embrace contactless, cash is being neglected, especially in the capital. London’s buses, as well as many shops and restaurants, have fallen so deeply in love with contactless that they’ve abandoned cash altogether.

The prospect of a cash-no-more society is becoming all the more real, and the list of movements towards cashlessness is rapidly growing. But there are still more opportunities to deliver the benefits of contactless to places that still rely on physical money.

What about ‘guerrilla’ payments?

Cutting out the cash makes paying quicker and easier for buyer and seller alike. But right now, the design of contactless technology is mainly geared toward the traditional checkout set-up. Street vendors and charities in particular, both of whom have to take payments or donations on the fly wherever they happen to be, still generally rely on cash-in-hand or change-in-bucket—no cash, no dice.

But all that could soon be a thing of the past.

Barclaycard Contactless Donation Box

Catching up with contactless

In September 2016, in a pilot to help charities take on the contactless revolution, Barclaycard supplied 11 national charities with 100 extra-special contactless donation boxes. The first to welcome contactless and Chip and PIN donations, they proved a hit with the public, raking in over £20,000 in contactless donations during the three-month trial.

What’s in the box?

These boxes allow charities to set up a standard charge, making touch-and-go donations for £30 and under hassle-free. They have Chip and PIN too. So, if you’re feeling generous, you can tweak the reader to donate any amount using a convenient app – as one particularly big-hearted passer-by did when they donated £1000 to the NCPCC. Would that have happened without a card-friendly, contactless collection box? Unless everyone takes to filling their wallets to the brim, we think not.

Barclaycard contactless box

Hi-tech for the homeless

Innovative media firm N=5 took a similar stance, making it easier to give money to the homeless on the streets of Amsterdam. Adapting to an increasingly cashless society, they’ve created a sophisticated and safe contactless donation system which has been built into a practical jacket.

Still in its early stages, the jacket also hopes to take away any concerns of how donations will be spent. During the trial, with one Euro per tap, contributions went through to a designated account within a local charity, where the wearer could later redeem their donations for meals, baths, or a bed for the night at a homeless shelter.

cloud-based contactless payment system

Change-free changes

Nowadays, with so many ways to pay, everyone has their preferred method. So, maximising income means catering for as many of these methods as possible. Embracing contactless would no doubt increase the amount of donations received, with millennials among those who would donate more often if quick and easy card payments were on offer.

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