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Cashless society: Barclaycard Payment Solutions helps Gift Aid go digital

21 Jun 2018 06:00

For charities in the UK, Gift Aid is an invaluable source of income because it allows them to claim an extra 25p for every £1 donated. That would transform a £5 donation into a £6.25 one, topped up by money from the UK Government. But up until now, the in-person Gift Aid process has been paper-based, cumbersome and slow.  In a digital world where paper, and more importantly cash, are becoming ever more scarce, how can charities move with the times?

A UK first for Barclaycard Payment Solutions and FLOE

Earlier this year, Barclaycard Payment Solutions joined forces with Barclays Accelerator alumni, FLOE (formerly AgentCASH), a payment service provider that helps clients manage their business with seamless payments, sales tools, data and new customer experiences, to create a UK first, a paperless mobile digital Gift Aid form for the charity Action for Children. Taking a digitised version of the charity’s guest list from a fundraising event, the solution pre-populated the Gift Aid form with attendees’ contact details. That way, when a benefactor wanted to donate, all they had to do was make the payment and select how long they wanted to pay Gift Aid for.

It’s a seamless journey for donors, a fundamental capability for charities and a ground-breaking first for the payments industry: “We recently met with HM Revenue and Customs and they confirmed that our solution is the first they have seen that embeds a Gift Aid form link within the digital receipt,” says Wesley Thompson, Director of Sales, FLOE. “It means customers can still register for Gift Aid at their leisure after donating.  This has proved to significantly increase conversion of Gift Aid registrations, providing additional income for charities.”

A digital Gift Aid form is just one of the industry-leading solutions that Barclaycard Payment Solutions and FLOE have collaborated on to help Action for Children, and other charities, to become more digital-friendly.

Cashless society: the challenge for charities

In March, ‘Coin scrappage’, ‘Penny drops’, ‘Copper bottoms out’ and other monetary metaphors made newspaper headlines across the UK as 1p and 2p coins faced the same fate as their shilling and halfpenny ancestors. As part of the Government’s 2018 Spring Statement they announced a call for evidence to decide the future of cash and digital payments – this put pennies in peril.

With research revealing that six in ten 1p and 2p coins change hands just once before being put in the penny jar, there’s no doubt small change isn’t as useful as it once was. But as a nation, we’re not completely in favour of cutting coins just yet. Specifically, charities still rely heavily on cash and small change. 

Barclaycard UK research reveals that four in ten, or 42%, of Brits carry less cash now than they did three years ago and one in seven people admit to walking away from the chance to make a donation if card payments aren’t an option. So it’s no surprise to learn that cash donations are declining fast. And as digital becomes increasingly prominent, charities run the risk of missing out on nearly £80 million in donations a year by saying ‘no’ to digital money.

Bringing card machines to shops

The first solution that Barclaycard Payment Solutions and FLOE put in place was an electronic point of sale (EPOS) system. Installed in three of Action for Children’s retail shops and counting. With evidence showing that faster and slicker modern-day collection methods can boost donations and engagement with charities, the EPOS system is invaluable. The charity also runs subsidised services, like nurseries, which provide a safe environment for children to grow up in. Barclaycard Payment Solutions and FLOE are also creating a tailored solution for Action for Children to take payments there too. 

Going digital

If you’ve been to large-scale events with big crowds, countless competing retail stalls and a general need to get things done quickly, you’ll know that card payments haven’t always been a hit with merchants. They used to involve writing customers’ card details on pieces of paper and inputting them into a PDQ machine manually or directly with the bank days later to complete the payment. This process is fraught with complications.

Barclaycard Payment Solutions’ and FLOE’s solution gave Action for Children the ability to take payments and donations on a tablet device. Volunteers can work their way through crowds, collecting donations and taking payments seamlessly during auction-style events, with customers registering for Gift Aid as part of the transaction journey. After trialling the mobile payment solution internally, Action for Children took the tablets for a spin at two of their annual events in March – the Spring Ladies Lunch and Fashion Show, and the Ultimate News Quiz. “With this solution, we can identify who’s made the payment and what it was for more easily,” says Lisa Nicholson, Implementation Manager, Action for Children. “What we’ve also found is that when people donate digitally, they’re likely to give more than if they just empty their spare change into a bucket – it makes every donation more valuable.”

Here’s to the future

With two major events already in the bag, Action for Children are hoping to roll out the mobile payments solution at their Byte Night event in October. The event will see people from the technology and business industry sleeping on the streets in a bid to raise awareness of youth homelessness. With teams across the UK taking part, donation devices need to be readily available and fully functioning to take ad hoc donations from supporters across the country.

But as well as fine-tuning the solution for Action for Children, Barclaycard Payment Solutions and FLOE are talking with other charities to see how the power-partnership can roll out elements of the solution to help solve their digital needs, too. “At the Spring Ladies’ Lunch event, one of the guests, a CEO from another charity, was so impressed with the payment experience, that she got in touch with me after the event to see how we could get our solution up and running for her charity,” says Wesley. 

It seems the future of charitable giving in the UK is digital.