Contactless payment systems rolled out across Church of Scotland

David Lynch with a contactless payment device(Photo: Unicorn Scotland)

When the collection plate is passed around in Scottish churches, worshippers will increasingly have the option of donating with their plastic instead of scrabbling around for some spare change. 

Church of Scotland officials are encouraging parishes to adopt contactless 'GoodPlate' payment systems as society becomes increasingly cashless. 

It is hoped that the switch to contactless payment will encourage visitors to churches to make donations where they might not have done so before because they did not have any cash on them. 

National Stewardship co-ordinator, David Lynch, said GoodPlate was a "game changer" for churches. 

The device is small enough to fit in the small brass plates that are traditionally passed around worshippers for collections during Sunday services, giving them more options for how to pay.

Mr Lynch said the Church needed to move in step with changes to technology and wider society.

"Digital giving shows that the Church is willing and able to embrace modern technology and it recognises that we are living in changing times," he said. 

"It fully understands the need to look at new and emerging methods of income generation."

Mr Lynch and his team will be showcasing GoodBox devices at the Church of Scotland General Assembly's Heart and Soul festival taking place in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens on Sunday.

"The purpose of encouraging congregations to adopt a system is to provide those people looking to donate with the widest possible options," he explained.

"They could be one off visitors to services, event attendees, tourists or regular church members who have moved to a cashless lifestyle.

The Rev Bryan Kerr has seen an increase in donations from people who would not normally give to a church after introducing a contactless payment system(Photo: Unicorn Scotland)

"It will also give congregations the option of a new portal of income generation for events and hall rentals."

Greyfriars Parish Church in Lanark has been using a PayPal contactless payment system for the last seven months.

Minister the Rev Bryan Kerr said that in this time, donations had increased from those who would not traditionally give to a church.

"We have an electronic 'giving station' where people can give a one-off donation, set up a standing order or regular payment and sign up for Gift Aid," he added.

"We are slowly encouraging people to give what they can, however they can, be it via cash, contactless or even mobile phone.

"This is the way forward for the Church and we need to move with the times and encourage people to give in whatever way they feel comfortable."