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Home |About Us | Blog | Cashless Payments Has Boundless Giving Potential by Alison Hutchinson CBE, CEO of Pennies

If you believe the buzz, we’re inching closer than ever to a so-called cashless society. We don’t think cash will ever retire, but results from our own research suggests over a third (39%) of us frequently leave the house without physical money.

It seems not a month goes by without another cashless news story popping up, from mobile payments to wearable tech. But what does this move mean for giving, and will it affect how, and how much money can be raised for charities in the current climate?

According to CAF’s annual UK Giving report 2017 there is undoubtedly an appetite for digital giving – in 2016, over a quarter of people (26%) gave to charity online in some form, and 10% gave to charity using a debit card, whilst 10% donated via text. While digital charitable giving might be a little behind the pace of non-cash spending in other industries, there’s an undeniable trend towards cashless in the third sector too, and it’s a necessary one.

As consumers carry less and less cash, they’ll also have less small change to donate. Charities and their corporate partners must react accordingly, finding a way to keep alive the UK’s most popular way to give – dropping a few coins in a collection box if and when they want to.

At Pennies we’ve been pioneering cashless giving through payments since 2010 and we’re excited to have announced some new exciting developments this year.

We now have two live contactless solutions; including one with Optomany and Retail & Sports Systems Limited – launched at Fulham Football Club earlier in the Autumn. In fact, not only was this our first football club to enable Pennies but it represented our first simultaneous multichannel implementation. Fulham FC went live in their online store, physical store – and in contactless at the same time.

We are also thrilled to now be able to accept in-app micro-donations with Apple Pay! Our first retailer to put this into practice is Domino’s, who are already seeing fantastic early uptick. For all of these new-for-2017 digital options, the consumer response has been immediate and is surpassing expectations.

There are still plenty of hurdles before cashless living becomes ubiquitous, including security concerns and varying levels of engagement in the payments and retail industries.

But here at Pennies, we’re meeting the growing trend with enthusiasm in our mission to make it as simple as possible to give without cash. Incredibly, someone currently donates every 2.8 seconds using Pennies in the UK, and in total – including online - around 5M people every month are exposed to Pennies. For context, this is the population of Norway!

And let’s not forget what these ‘digital clicks of generosity’ mean – for people, causes and communities across the UK, and the Republic of Ireland.

For instance, an hour and a half of donations at Hobbycraft helps Together For Short Lives give a seriously ill child a chance to splash around in a hydrotherapy pool. And a week of giving at Topps Tiles could fund a Macmillan Cancer Support centre in the heart of the community for five days.

Pennies is now 7 years old - and we have hit an amazing 47M small change digital donations, achieved across 50+ merchant partners. Incredibly, half of these donations have been in the last two years alone – showing the scale of momentum in a relatively short about of time.

By the end of the year, Pennies will be present in around 5,000 stores across retail, hospitality and the service sector – this doesn’t include where Pennies is presented to customers online. These donations have unlocked £11M of extra income for over 300 UK registered charities.

We are now set to hugely accelerate the growth of the digital charity box, as more partners – and importantly customers – get behind the movement of giving small change a big purpose. We estimate that if every card holder gave just 30p a month, £175M a year could be raised in additional income for the UK charity sector. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

To find out how to get involved in something amazing visit our Payments & Technology section, and drop us a line.

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