Over 100 churches pilot contactless giving

A contactless giving unit at St Mary's, Ambleside.(Photo: Diocese of Carlisle)

Collection plates and boxes in churches may soon be a thing of the past as the Church of England pushes ahead with a nationwide effort to introduce digital giving. 

Over 100 churches in the Diocese of Carlisle are taking part in the first of three pilot schemes to encourage contactless giving.

The £1.25m project reflects the increasing use of contactless payments in everyday life.

Participating churches have been offered one of two units, depending on their wifi capability and whether it is to be left unattended in buildings.

As part of the pilot, monthly charges will be waived for the first year, although a small commission will be deducted by the payments processor from each donation. It is anticipated that the monthly fee after the first year will be around £10 a month, but churches will have the option to return the units without charge.

The Rev Beverley Lock, Team Rector of St Mary's, Ambleside, one of the churches trialling the unit, welcomed the scheme. 

"More and more we are seeing people who worship in and visit our churches turning to contactless forms of payment in their day-to-day lives so it's really important that the church is able to offer them the same opportunity to give financially," she said. 

"We are so grateful for all the ways in which people give to our mission, both through action and in monetary ways.

"During the Covid pandemic, we've really missed our regular visitors for their fellowship and encouragement. We hope this will make their generous giving easier."

Early indicators from the pilot already suggest that people give more when they give digitally.

Grace Emmett, National Digital Giving Manager for the Church of England said, "As the trend continues for card payments to outperform payments made using cash, contactless giving will enable visitors and regular churchgoers the ability to quickly and easily support the life and ministry of churches across the Diocese of Carlisle.

"Experience so far is that contactless donations are, on average, three times the value of cash donations."