How the end of cash will make charities a new fortune

Contactless visa card © Getty Images
People spend more with contactless than with cash

I’ve written here before many times about our concerns with the end of cash – the way in which we are both using cash less frequently than in the past and the way in which our central banks are keen to encourage us to do so.

There are no end of problems with giving up cash. The most obvious is the way in which its disappearance affects our financial freedom and our privacy (something that is being noted all over Europe now that the EU Commission has announced a plan to “explore the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments”).

But another is that dumping cash is bad for our personal finances. A large number of studies have shown that people spend more when they use cards than they do when they use cash (card payments don’t seem like real money in the same way). See my post here on the matter (one example – McDonald’s says that the average bill in US when people use cash is $4.50, with credit cards it is $7).

This is something that the UK’s largest charities are now being to work out. So, never keen to miss a chance to help us finance their pension schemes, they are going cash-free.

They (Oxfam, NSPCC, Banardos, etc ) have been trialling contactless payment boxes for the last five months and have found that people using cards to transfer their money to the charitable sector give on average three times as much as those who use cash. That has something to do with the fact that the minimum contactless payment on the boxes is £2 when the average cash gift is £1 (clever…). But given that the average given with the new system is over £3, it is clearly about more than just blatant manipulation.

Overall, Barclays reckons that going cashless will mean that the charities raise an extra £80m between them. I’m not convinced this is good news at all given what it means for cash itself and given where much of the money will end up (salaries, pension funds, endless OTT campaigning in expensive media).

But one upside of the way in which contactless technology is becoming cheaper and easier to use is that it may soon ease the worries of those whose activities rely on collecting small amounts of cash and taking it physically to a bank branch (of which there are fewer every week).

Not long now, and your church collection as well as your village fete takings will come contactless. No more cash. No more need to worry about having nowhere to take that cash to.

  • Horiboyable .

    If they ban cash it will be a boon for the dollar or if Putin is smart could be very positive for the rouble. I will simply not let the state control my finances. They already remove nearly 50% of my earnings by the use of force. Then leave me with roads that a falling apart, hospitals that are not fit for purpose, a justice system that is not just, politicians whom like to help themselves through expenses and banksters that get off with fraud on an industrial scale and get political cover.
    The USD is the best dirty shirt but I think there is another 15 to 20 years left in the green back yet, then its done.

  • Firebird3

    If that’s the case, then high up the ‘ladder’ of a Charity is the place where the money is. Unfortunately for me, I have a conscience, so it wouldn’t be much good.