Cashless donation stations: homelessness meets fintech

Signal of change / Cashless donation stations: homelessness meets fintech

By Shola Powell / 01 Mar 2018

Contactless donation stations and card readers attached to jackets are being trialled as solutions to maintain the estimated £80 million in potential donations lost by charities should they continue to rely on cash.

Rough Sleeping Partnership (RSP), an alliance of four charities which tackle street homelessness in Bristol, set up two contactless donation stations in the local shopping area to receive £2 donations, as well as provide information about outreach programmes: in 6 months, the terminals raised on average £370 per month. Last year N=5, an ad agency in Europe, trialled the ‘Helping Heart contactless jacket’ where passersby could donate €1 by tapping a card reader on the chest of a rough sleeper’s coat. The money could only be spent on nominated products in liaison with a local shelter.

So what?

Cash payments are declining across Britain and by 2026 cash is expected to account for only 21% of purchases. As the nation carries less cash, charities and the homeless are being forced to adapt how they collect donations and technology is providing alternative methods.

Will donations collected through mobile apps, card readers, and donation stations change how money is distributed/used by rough sleepers and charities? Could technology move donations away from going straight to homeless individuals and directly to organizations instead?


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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