How does contactless payments effect our generosity to charity?

Posted on 2nd June 2017

Quote from the article:

“The popularity of contactless means that we expect debit cards to overtake cash as the UK’s most frequently used payment method in late 2018, three years earlier than we previously thought,” explains Adrian Buckle, Chief Economist at Payments UK.

“This is a significant shift but it’s vital to note that even in the face of this change, we believe any claims the UK will soon become a cashless society are wide of the mark.  People will always want to choose the payment methods that best suit them, and cash will remain a frequently-used payment method for the foreseeable future. In ten years’ time, we will still be using cash for one in five payments in the UK, even as mobile payments and other innovations provide ever greater choice about how to pay.”

Duncan’s reaction to the article:

Contactless payments are a great example of technology used well – to solve real world problems. They have been embraced wholeheartedly by the public as they are simple, convenient, and offer quicker transactions than cash or chip and pin.

I was wondering what effect this adoption (and people carrying less cash and spare change) might have on our generosity as a nation to charity. Over half of the charitable donations in the UK are cash donations. Will the amount we give start to decline as we have less spare change to casually drop into collection tins? If collection buckets were replaced by contactless payment terminals would we feel obliged to donate more when making a transaction since our full bank balances are at our disposal, or would we go out of our way to avoid the tricky situation at the expense of the charity sector?

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