Volunteer churches are being sought to trial "tap-and-go" contactless payments for donations.
The Church of England wants to sign up 40 churches to take part in its national card payment project, which will involve fees and payments such as hall and room hire as well as donations. The CofE’s buying service, Parish Buying, which will administer the scheme, has already begun to recruit volunteers.
Parish Buying said that churches would benefit from "specially negotiated low Parish Buying rates charged on transactions", although it has not revealed what those figures will be. The hand-held terminals will be able to accept payments of up to £30.
The churches involved in the scheme will be expected to give detailed information about the scheme, such as the complexity of the sign-up process, ease of use and what kind of payments are made. The feedback will help to determine whether the system will be rolled out to all dioceses in England and Wales next year. The CofE hopes to find volunteers from a range of churches across urban and rural areas and of different sizes to enable it to make better decisions about the needs of different parishes.
John Preston, national stewardship officer at the CofE, said the move was a recognition that the way people handled cash had changed in recent years.
"We’re aware that younger generations – and there are many people now who don’t carry cash – want to give in different ways," he said. "Enabling them to give in a way that suits them is something we’d like to try."