God: Card or cash? and would you like a receipt for that…?


A church in Greenwich has taken part in trials of a new credit card reader – which at a stroke could render the traditional collection plate obsolete.

Christ Church in Trafalgar Road, East Greenwich is one of 12 Church of England places of worship to have trialled the new digital system since last September.

It allows the congregation to make donations on their contactless credit and debit cards when the gadget is passed around – and they have given it a huge thumbs up.

The churches taking advantage of the new kit report that donations have nearly doubled, on average, and Christ Church is doing very nicely out of the new arrangement.

SumUp, a London-based payment technology company, has been working with the religious organisation over the past year, with a view to offering up to 16,000 churches, cathedrals, and religious sites throughout England access to the card reader technology.

What is effectively a portable collection box is equipped with an embedded card reader and a smartphone, which can be passed around during the offertory part of a service.

This allows parishioners, who may not be carrying cash, to choose a donation amount up to £30 from four settings.

They pay in seconds before passing the device on. The technology can be used to take contactless payments via Apple Pay and Google Pay, and is capable of supporting 500 transactions without recharging.

A fixed table-top version is also available, so people can donate before or after the service. Christ Church vicar Margaret Cave said: “This new digital collection box has proven to be a real asset for a church like ours.

“We’ve seen a younger crowd flocking to Christ Church over the past few years, with our morning meetings for parents and babies, as well as various youth groups trips.

“This means a new generation of churchgoers who don’t carry loose change can donate. Our congregation love that we’re on the front foot when it comes to modern technology.”

The co-founder of SumUp, the appropriately named Marc-Alexander Christ, said: “In 2019 we are going to see an even greater uptake in contactless payments as we transition towards a truly cashless society.

“This means that elements of everyday life will need to adapt, and the digital collection plate is an amazing example of tradition meeting technology.

“As congregations around the UK carry less and less cash, the donation process needs to be as easy as possible in order to harness people’s generosity.

“That’s why we believe this partnership will be an immaculate connection.”

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