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Contactless donation box trial raises £20,000 in three months

Melanie May | 3 February 2017 | News

A trial of contactless donations boxes led by Barclaycard with 11 charities has seen the charities involved raise more than £20,000 in three months.
Barclaycard led the trial of 100 portable donation boxes that accept both Chip and PIN and contactless donations including those made by wearable and mobile devices.
The trial started in September 2016 and was scheduled to end in December although some of the charities are still using them. In the trial, the charities used the boxes in a number of ways, including volunteers taking them to special events, and placing them next to the checkouts in charity stores.
The charities took more than £20,000 in donations, including one for £1,000 given to the NSPCC, and reported positive responses from the public around the boxes’ ease and flexibility of use.
A number of partners worked with Barclaycard on the trial. Payworks developed the contactless donation box app, and integrated payment functionality into the card reader. Miura provided the card reader while the box design was created by Sprout. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) also consulted on the trial.

How the boxes work

The donation boxes are comprised of three parts: a small card reader; a branded, hand-held box specific to each charity; and an accompanying payment acceptance app, connected to the reader via Bluetooth.
Charities use the app to designate a fixed donation amount, which can be set on a ‘repeated transaction’ mode, to collect that same value each time a donor taps the front of the box. However, the app also lets charities change the amount for a one-off payment should someone wish to give more. The boxes also accept both contactless and Chip and PIN transactions, meaning charities can receive card donations over the £30 contactless limit.

The charities involved in the trial were: Barnardos, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Cats Protection, the Design Museum, NSPCC, Oxfam, Prostate Cancer UK, RNIB, RNLI, Royal British Legion, and The Science Museum.

NSPCC trial

The NSPCC used 10 contactless donation boxes over 40 times at NSPCC events, tube stations, public spaces and shopping centres by volunteers.
During the trial, the average donation was £3.07 (not including the £1,000 donation, which came during a visit to the Houses of Parliament in aid of The Liam Charity Tribute Fund): higher than the average amount the charity receives through spare change. The devices were pre-set at £2, although donors could give more if they wished.
Megan Johnston, senior fundraiser at the NSPCC, said:


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“As we are living in a society with many different ways to pay, the NSPCC were keen to adapt to the rise of cashless payments to ensure we can keep children safe from abuse.
“The feedback we received from the public was overwhelmingly positive. Previously, many people have said they would like to donate even though they no longer carry cash, so it was great to offer a cashless giving alternative through our hard working volunteers who are committed to our fight for every childhood.”

According to the research from Barclaycard, one in seven (15%) people said they walked away from a donation opportunity at least once last year because they were unable to give using a debit or credit card, with 43% saying they carry less cash with them now than they did three years ago.
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.”

All photos:  Adrian Brooks/Imagewise