Church of England to start using contactless payments for donations


March 2018

Church of England to start using contactless payments for donations

More than 16,000 religious sites around the country are to revolutionise their donation scheme by offering their parishioners the chance to pay digitally.

Cashless donations were used by 40 churches last year as part of a trial scheme and it has been decided that there will be a mass rollout to encourage donations in an increasingly cashless society. The Church of England has been looking for a method to make it easier for congregations to donate with the church currently receiving approximately £580m each year.

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. 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.”

The first phase of the rollout will a require someone to man a terminal whereby people can pay by contactless, Google or Apple pay, and chip and pin. The second phase of the scheme which is expected in the summer will work on a self-service basis such as passing around a portable card reading in lieu of a collection plate. The technology is going to be provided by payment solutions provider Sumup who spearheaded the trial run for 40 churches last year.

Marc-Alexander Christ, co-founder of SumUp, the company powering the scheme, said: “Working with an institution as prestigious as The Church of England is a real privilege. Whether it’s helping parishes streamline the wedding planning process or the running of the church fete, this relationship opens up all kinds of opportunities for the Church of England.”

Alison Davie, the secretary at St George’s church hub in Stamford, Lincolnshire, said: “Our parishioners can occasionally find themselves strapped for physical cash, so it’s fantastic to be able to offer an alternative which is quick and convenient. We hope this is a step forward for St George’s and many other churches like it, in staying ahead in the modern era.”

Despite this new upgrade, the church still expects that it will receive most of its donations via standing orders.