Church of England to launch trial for contactless card payments for donations

The Church of England is set to launch a trial for contactless card payments for donations in lieu of the traditional collection plates passed around during Sunday services in an effort to accommodate worshippers who do not carry cash to church.

(REUTERS / Philippe Wojazer)A customer pays with a contactless credit card at a store in Paris, France, April 11, 2016.

This summer, the Church of England will test the use of contactless card payments for donations up to 30 British pounds, and parishioners can choose among three common donation types or enter a specific amount. Forty churches will participate in the trial, with 10 larger churches using static terminals at the entry point and the remaining 30 using handheld machines for the "tap and pay" transactions, The Sun detailed.

St. Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle's dean, Chris Dalliston, whose church is among the participants in the trial, explained that more people nowadays do not carry cash with them. He said the contactless card payment is an answer to this trend.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Church of England national stewardship officer John Preston said they want to allow younger generations to "give in a way that suits them." The church is hoping that the move will increase collections from people who were merely attending a wedding or christening, or those who forgot to bring cash for donations because they do not attend services regularly.

There are some churches that use Church Suite, Lepton, or other similar smartphone apps for donations. However, such a transition is often hindered by transaction fees or monthly rental of the terminals. The Church of England is aiming to use the sheer number of its congregation to lower these costs, and Preston said they are considering a maximum of 2 percent in transaction fee.

The contactless card payment trial will run from August until the end of the year. The Harvest festival and Christmas will also be included in the duration of the trial so that the system can be tested on irregular churchgoers and bigger groups.