Two large cardboard boxes arrived yesterday. I know what they are, though they remain unopened. We have been awaiting them. They are our new contactless-giving devices! The traditional slot in the church wall for coins is being replaced by a shiny modern-looking piece of equipment that you touch with a plastic card. As such devices are universal in shops and many other places now it is no wonder the church is catching up, but it will look a little strange and out of place for a while, until we get used to seeing it.
Swanage PCC has purchased two of them. One on a stand for St Mary’s, the other, a table-top version for All Saints’, which can then be borrowed, when required for special events in St Mark’s, which has less weekday passing summer visitors. Studland PCC will see how it all goes in Swanage. The gifts will be recorded automatically to the PCC account, credited to the particular church, as with ordinary envelopes and direct debits.
The cost of the devices has been established by Mel, our bookkeeper under a particular code against which the donations will be credited, so we shall know at what point the equipment has paid for itself. The supplier suggests that this is normally within six to nine months. We shall see.
They work in a way that is familiar to most of us. On the touch screen there is an option to give £5, £10, £20 or ‘other amount’. The donor chooses their option, taps their card at the point indicated and then there is the opportunity to gift aid the donation. Otherwise, it is done, and the donation taken. The PCC is very happy if people would like to try it out, just for the fun of it!