Church of England: Contactless collection payments trialled

Image source, SumUp
Image caption,
Churchgoers can select from one of four amounts

Churches have reported a 97% increase in donations made at services trialling a digital collection box.

A partnership between technology firm SumUp and the Church of England meant the parishioners could make contactless payments using a portable device.

Churchgoers picked a sum from four options decided by the Church, before using a card or smartphone to pay.

SumUp's co-founder Marc-Alexander Christ said it was "an amazing example of tradition meeting technology".

Mr Christ, from the London-based company, said: "As congregations around the UK carry less and less cash, the donation process needs to be as easy as possible in order to harness people's generosity."

Developers state the technology can support 500 transactions without the need for recharging, though a fixed table-top version of the system is also available - allowing congregations to donate before, during or after the service.

The Church of England has more than 16,000 churches and 42 cathedrals in England and Wales, with the digital collection plate already being used at about a dozen.

The Rev Margaret Cave, vicar of Christ Church East Greenwich, London, where the scheme is being trialled said the digital collection box has "gone down very well" with their congregation.

"We have seen the age profile of Christ Church get lower over the last few years as we have welcomed more families, children and young people," she said.

"Most young people don't carry cash so it's important for us as a church to be ahead of the curve embracing modern technology and working with new ways for people to make donations."

Churches trialling the use of the digital collection box include:

  • Christ Church East Greenwich, London
  • Crowland Abbey, near Peterborough
  • St Mark's Church, Haydock
  • St Mary's Church, Rawmarsh
  • St George's Church, Ashtead

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