Air ambulance charity points the way with fingerprint donations

The East Anglian Air Ambulance has worked on the system with the mobile payments platform Thyngs, and it goes live next month

Supporters of an air ambulance charity now have the option of donating using fingerprint technology.

In what is believed to be a first for charities, the East Anglian Air Ambulance is replacing one-off credit and debit card payments with recurring Apple Pay and Google Pay subscriptions. This will allow donors to tap or scan fundraising materials with their smartphones to enter the charity’s lottery as well as set up regular donations or provide contact details using their fingerprints.

The charity has worked with the mobile payments platform Thyngs to introduce the system, which will go live next month to coincide with the EAAA’s Only the Brave mud challenge, encouraging participants to sign up new lottery members using their medals. Stickers embedded with Thyngs’ proximity technology will be added to about 1,700 medals. A call to action to join the weekly lottery or set up ongoing monthly subscriptions will appear when the medals are tapped or scanned with a smartphone.

This latest announcement follows fast on the heels of the technology company’s launch of Good Thyngs, the system that provides charities with unique codes that allow them to receive funds through Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal donations, and which can be added to posters, leaflets, stickers and badges worn by staff and volunteers.

Neil Garner, chief executive of Thyngs, said the new system would improve donor conversions.

"Regular gifts and direct debits on a mobile phone are a complete pain for the average smartphone user," he said. "They simply won’t tolerate all the form-filling, so conversion rates are almost non-existent.

"By applying our technology – which uses Apple Pay and Google Pay – to charity lotteries, supporters can now set up recurring donations with just three taps, creating a perpetual subscription and providing their contact details with just a fingerprint."

Carolyn Causton, head of direct marketing and supporter insight for EAAA, said: "Our lottery is a key source of income, so we are always looking for ways to innovate. When it comes to the digital donor who does everything on a smartphone, Thyngs’ solution was the obvious choice."

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