The Church of England is making it a lot easier for you to give them money. Gone is the anonymity of a collection plate. Now they’re passing around contactless credit card readers so your money can be zapped right into the Church’s bank account.
The Financial Times reports:
Starting this summer, around 40 churches will be equipped with handheld terminals to process card payments — up to the value of £30 — with a view to offering the system to every diocese next year.
The Church trial will test the practicalities of various methods of use, from offering the card reader as an option alongside the collection plate to installing a terminal at the back of the church as a “retiring collection”. To save time, parishioners are likely to be asked to choose between three common donation amounts, though they can give more by selecting “other” and tapping in an amount.
I suppose it makes sense from their perspective. People don’t always carry cash anymore, and even when they do, if the denomination is too high, they’re not about to part with it.
At the same time, when people aren’t looking at the actual physical dollars leaving their hands, it’s more likely that they’ll give more money via credit card, even if there is a cap on how much the church will take. And the new system makes it a lot easier for the Church to know who’s giving them money and how much. (You think they won’t use that system against the parishioners in the future?)
At least it’s slightly less shameless than the megachurch pastor asking people for their bank account numbers so he can take the money directly…
Ironically, the Church of England said in 2009 that people shouldn’t use credit cards at all when Christmas shopping because “it is easy to get into serious levels of debt.”