The story is a familiar one: you’re walking down the street, and you see a cause you’d like to contribute some money to, a charity fundraiser, or maybe a big issue vendor. You reach for your wallet, but of course there’s no change in there, only your card: you awkwardly make your excuses about not having any cash, and walk on. According to a YouGov survey, 15% of people have walked away from a fundraiser because they are unable to use their card.
Contactless card payments could be about to revolutionize the way that fundraising is handled. Large charities such as the NSPCC and Oxfam have trialled using collection boxes with a pre-set £2 contactless payment option, though recent developments mean the technology could be rolled out on a wider basis.
Britain is fast moving towards being a cash free society, and one which has a particular penchant for quick and easy contactless payments. In February of 2017, nearly 370 million contactless card payments were made, with £3,343.9 million pounds being spent.
This is a potential threat to charities that rely on street fundraising as a crucial lifeline. The British public give around £10bn to charity every year, but in 2015, that figure fell by £500m. Could the use of contactless payment be the lifeline that so many charities need?
The use of contactless payment has many benefits for charities; not having to handle large amounts of cash which can easily be stolen, the instant arrival of funds, and of course their accessibility to the card carrying public.
There are, however, drawbacks. The use of such collection terminals requires a contract with a bank and a transaction fee on each payment. The charity times reported that, “In a face-to-face setting, Visa only allows contactless payments to be accepted alongside chip and PIN payments, creating problems for charities which don’t want or need the extra complication of chip and PIN.” In some cases Visa have made special exceptions, some charities, however, have found ways around the complexities of the rules.
Yesterday, keep Bristol Warm posted an image of their new terminals around the Broadmead area of Bristol, which allow the public to donate on the streets without even having to interact with anyone!
Clearly, these recent developments will impact the third sector, but only time will tell exactly what that will look like, after all, there was a time when we thought QR codes were the future...