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

| 31st Jan 17

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

According to the research from Barclaycard, one in seven (15%) 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 predicted to overtake notes and coins by 2021.


Contactless trial

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 – 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% in 2016, with half (50%) of Brits saying they make a ‘touch and go’ payment at least once a month.

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.”

The charities involved in the trial were:

  1. Barnardos
  2. Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
  3. Cats Protection
  4. The Design Museum
  5. NSPCC
  6. Oxfam
  7. Prostate Cancer UK
  8. RNIB
  9. RNLI
  10. Royal British Legion
  11. The Science Museum

NSPCC Case Study

The NPSCC participated in the Barclaycard trial from September 2016. They 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 exceptional donation of £1,000), 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 and were made aware of this if it was deemed appropriate by NPSCC fundraising volunteers.

In one instance, the NSPCC used a device to accept a £1,000 donation during a visit to the Houses of Parliament in aid of The Liam Charity Tribute Fund in November. An audience member was so moved after hearing one fundraiser’s speech about why his brother’s suicide inspired him to support Childline that he wanted give a substantial amount – and having the donation boxes at the event enabled him to give then and there.