Digital Alms: Church of England goes contactless

21 March 2018

Churchgoers no longer need to bring cash to pay for events as the Church of England has announced it is making contactless payments available across England.

The Church will now accept contactless, virtual terminal, and SMS mobile payments to make one-off payments and donations for events such as weddings, christenings, fetes and concerts.

Parishioners will also be able to pay for bookings of churches and halls using the technology. The religious organisation says this is to make transactions easier and faster and to keep in step with younger generations as cash increasingly falls out of favour.

However, contactless technology and card payments aren’t yet available for collections during regular church services or events. The Church says it expects this to be launched in ‘phase two’ of its payments plan, but currently there is no timeline for this implementation.

John Preston, national stewardship officer of the Church of England comments: “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 technological introduction will now be available in more than 16,000 churches, cathedrals, and religious sites across England, through the Church of England’s Parish Buying portal. Card readers provided by SumUp and iZettle will accept contactless payments, Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as Chip and PIN.

Moneywise reported in July 2017 that the Church was trialling contactless technology in 40 churches across England with churchgoers able to make donations of up to £30.

Mr Preston adds: “Installing this technology does mean that one-off fees can be done via card, as can making one-off donations. The vast bulk of regular giving will continue to be done by standing order as we continue our trial with various technologies.”

‘A match made in heaven’

Marc-Alexander Christ, co-founder of payment solutions company SumUp says: “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.”

Johan Bendz, chief strategy and communication officer at iZettle, adds: “We’re thrilled to support the Church of England and believe this to be a match made in heaven. Using iZettle, church-goers now have the choice to pay and make contributions in whatever way suits them best - whether it is by cash, card, mobile or wearable technology - which will benefit both the church and its visitors.”

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