Charities miss out on more than £80m a year by only accepting cash donations

Barclaycard leads trial of contactless donation boxes with 11 national charities including NSPCC and RNLI

Charities may be missing out on more than £80m in donations each year by only accepting cash donations, payments business Barclaycard has found, as four in ten (42 per cent) Brits say they carry less cash now than they did three years ago.

According to the research from Barclaycard, one in seven (15 per cent) people admit to walking away from a donation opportunity at least once last year because they were unable to give using a debit or credit card. This comes amidst predictions that cash will shift from accounting for roughly half (45%) of all payments made in 2015 to just one in four (27%) by 2025 – with debit card payments overtaking notes and coins by 2021.

To help charities adapt to evolving consumer behaviours, Barclaycard recently led a trial of 100 portable donation boxes, the first in the market to accept both Chip and PIN and contactless donations including those made by wearable and mobile devices.

Eleven national charities kicked off the trial in September 2016, using the lightweight, portable payment boxes in a number of different ways according to their fundraising needs – from volunteers roaming with boxes at special events to placing them next to the checkouts in charity stores.

Although it was only a short trial, the charities took more than £20,000 in donations – including one for £1,000 given to the NSPCC (see case study) – and reported positive responses from the public around the ease and flexibility the boxes introduced for donors looking to give to their preferred cause.

Despite the trial being scheduled to end in December 2016, some charities are still using the boxes due to their success, demonstrating the potential for these devices in a society where there are an increasing number of ways to pay. Barclaycard’s latest Contactless Spending Index revealed contactless payments grew 166 per cent in 2016, with half (50 per cent) of Brits saying they make a ‘touch and go’ payment at least once a month.

The trial is the latest milestone for Barclaycard, a pioneer in payment solutions in the charity sector. The company first partnered with The Royal British Legion in 2012 to introduce acceptance for card donations during its annual Poppy Appeal through handheld terminals, and the partnership has continued every year since. Barclaycard also enabled payments for the Penny for London scheme, run by the Mayor’s Fund for London from 2014 to 2016.

Barclaycard – which provides the acquiring technology that allows charities to accept payments through the donation boxes – led this trial, bringing together partners from across the industry. Payworks developed the contactless donation box app, and integrated payment functionality into the card reader. The card reader was provided by Miura and the box design was created by Sprout. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) consulted on the trial.

Paulette Rowe, Managing Director of Barclaycard Payment Solutions, said:
“In today’s world there are more ways to pay than ever before. The donation boxes that we trialled enable charities to tap into these new options, raising more money no matter how their donors choose to give – whether that’s with cash, through a mobile device or by using a debit or credit card.

“Feedback from the trial has been extremely positive; our charity partners told us the boxes were simple to use, adaptable to a variety of situations and vital in securing donations where it may not have been possible before. We are proud to use our payments expertise once again to open up more opportunities for fundraising, and are excited to work with the charities to help them adapt the technology to best suit their needs.”

Christian Deger, Co-Founder & CEO of Payworks, said:
“Barclaycard is a true pioneer in the payments industry and it’s beyond exciting to have such a reputable company deploy Payworks. It’s always great to see our technology used for furthering innovation, but having it support charity makes it much more rewarding.”

Chris Allwood, Head of Product Development at CAF, said:
“People in the UK donate around £10 billion to charity every year. However, a rapidly growing number of them can no longer make donations on the street when they feel inspired to do so because they have stopped carrying cash. This makes it vital that charities are able to accept payment by debit and credit card.

“CAF helped set up the very first trial of mobile contactless donations and will be supporting Barclaycard to build on the results of this latest trial as we work towards making card payment technology available to all charities.”