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Retail transactions are increasingly going cashless with tap-and-go transactions and mobile payment apps on smartphones. Not surprisingly, new payment systems and online payments are making inroads in the area of church  giving.

Offertory collections, by passing around a plate or a bag, developed in the days when people were paid weekly in notes and coins. Today, our salary or income comes via our bank account.

Cash is well on its way out. Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe believes Australia is at a turning point, with cash set to become a ‘niche payment’.

In 2017 the Salvation Army became one of the first charities to roll out tap-and-go facilities for their Red Shield Appeal collectors to carry. Sweden is on track to become the world’s first completely cashless economy.

In 2019 most people find it is easier to give to the church via a regular electronic transfer from their bank account. It saves them heading for an ATM before church or finding the right change each week. It is for that reason you will find the offering plate increasingly passing by parishioners because they give in a different way.

Enabling people to give in a way that suits them is a challenge that many churches are facing. St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, in Melbourne, has installed tap-and-go stations. At Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral parishioners can now tap-and-go a flat $10 donation when the collection plate is passed around during worship.

Of course parishioners can still give by using cash on a Sunday. However, instead of sending cash, coins and personal cheques up to the altar they are increasingly being asked to consider giving to the mission of God’s Church in a different way.

Are you one of the growing number of people who no longer carry cash?

by Reverend Canon Paul Black

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