PrayPal: Churches in England introduce contactless payments as cash donations fall

Hundreds of churches across the country are using contactless card machines in a bid to boost donations.

In 2016, the Church of England saw the amount of money given to it parishes fall for the first time since records began in 1964.

The drop is believed to have been caused by fewer people attending church services and also fewer making regular, planned donations. This is happening as older parishioners die and their direct debit contributions stop.

Vicars in all 16,000 churches are now able to access card machines in the hope it will make it easier for people, especially millennials, to pay.

Reverend Margaret Cave, vicar at Christ Church in East Greenwich, has being using contactless technology for a year.

She said: “It’s had a big difference and made it much easier and faster for people to pay. We buck the trend at this church as we have seen numbers of young people in our congregation increase over the last few years.

A Reverend takes a contactless payment from a church member

“We are talking about a cash free, cheque book free generation and we use the card machines all the time, for one-off payments like a youth trip to Scotland we are planning and also weddings, for example.

“It really does make us think we are in the 21st century and we are properly accessible and not in the dark ages with those velvet collection bags.”

For now the contactless card machines are designed for one-off, larger payments but technology companies are working on ways to roll it out to include offerings at church services.

Member of the younger congregation at East Greenwich, Grace Emmett, said: “The technology is really easy to use, it’s instantaneous and you get a receipt with it, it’s really straightforward. You don’t have to carry cash, no one does anymore anyway.

“The church is living in the real world too and it opens up an extra layer of access to people so I think it makes perfect sense.”

Sky News

News Reporter