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Apple Pay donations open to UK charities

Apple Pay donations open to UK charities

Large UK charities can now receive instant donations via Pay, expanding the options for donors of giving easily and securely to charities.

Apple Pay makes online shopping in apps and on websites as simple as the touch of a finger with Touch ID. As a result there is no need manually to fill out lengthy forms or repeatedly type in address and billing information. Supporters only need to fill in details once and can continue to make payments with just a click and a thumb authorisation.

The first UK charities to offer Donate with Apple Pay are ActionAid UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Barnardo’s, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Comic Relief, Concern Worldwide (UK), DEC, Marie Curie, Oxfam, (RED), RNIB, RNLI, RSPB, RSPCA, Scope, Sightsavers, The Royal British Legion, Unicef UK, VSO, WaterAid, and WWF-UK.


Graham White, individual giving director at Cancer Research UK, said that they charity strives to find new and better ways to give. He said: “It’s important we explore different ways to donate to make sure we stay relevant and that people can continue to give to us in ways that fit into their busy lives.

“As one of the leading charities in the UK, our aim is to always put supporters’ wishes first and Apple Pay adds to the other donation methods that supporters have told us they like to use. It simply makes donating even easier.”

How it works

In shops it works with iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and later, and Apple Watch.

Online, Apple Pay works with iPhone 6 and later, iPhone SE, iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3 and later. You can also use Apple Pay in Safari on any Mac introduced in or after 2012 running macOS Sierra and confirm the with iPhone 6 or later or Apple Watch, or with Touch ID on the new MacBook Pro.

Alzheimer’s Society explains to its supporters how Apple Pay works and how they can set it up on their device. It includes a link to Apple’s guide to Apple Pay.


Secure payments

When you use a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device. Each transaction is authorised with a one-time unique dynamic security code.

Timely opportunities

Expanding simple and secure methods of giving will no doubt help many charities. For Comic Relief it comes at an opportune time, just two weeks ahead of Red Nose Day 2017.

Zenon Hannick, Chief Technology Officer at Comic Relief said: “We are really excited to be offering our supporters the chance to donate using Apple Pay during Red Nose Day on March 24th. We are confident it will be making a donation to Comic Relief even easier, helping us raise more money to help and support vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the UK and some of the world’s poorest communities.”

Oxfam, which launched its MyOxfam app in January, linked its acceptance of Apple Pay donations to its launch on International Women’s Day.

Support from agencies

Work on initial implementation of Apple Pay for four of the charities was carried out by Addition, part of WPN Chameleon. It adapted online donation pages for Alzheimer’s Society, The Royal British Legion, and UNICEF. It also provided initial implementation advice on Apple Pay for the RSPCA.

The early meetings between charities, Apple and agencies were brought about by Open

In their blog post today they explained: “So when our friends at Apple asked us to help them introduce ApplePay to UK charities, it wasn’t a difficult decision. Nor, to be fair, was it a difficult process.”

James Briggs added: “We’re happy to have helped. And we’re even more excited about what we’ll be able to do now that a whole lot of friction just got removed from a whole bunch of donors…”


Apple and charity donations

Apple Pay was extended to US nonprofits in November 2016, just ahead of Giving Tuesday. It was announced that it would be available to for-profit retailers in the UK in July 2015.

Until then Apple had maintained a policy of not permitting seamless donations to charities within apps on its App store. Donations were only possible if one left the app to make a text donation or donate by opening a web browser.

Nick Hurd MP, then Minister for Civil Society, met Apple staff in 2011 to discuss how this could be overcome. A Care2 petition to Apple’s CEO to Support Our Great Nonprofits by opening up donations via iPhone attracted 41,000 signatures, but Apple did not change its policy.

Apple has shown other ways of helping charities. For example, for some emergency or disaster appeals it has donated its front page to promote an appeal, such as after the September 11 2001 attacks and the 1994 Boxing Day Tsunami.


Apple Pay expansion

Apple Pay (but not Donate by Apple Pay) launched this week in Ireland and is expected to launch in Italy soon.


Significance of Donate by Apple Pay

Dave Glaser, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Global eCom at Worldpay, commented:

“Today’s launch of Apple Pay in browsers for charities represents an important tipping point in the way people choose to donate… With eWallets accounting for 22% of UK online payments, this will be a game-changer for charities.”




Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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