Newcastle Cathedral Goes Contactless

Posted on: January 10th, 2018

Newcastle Cathedral has become one of the first churches in the UK to accept donations through contactless payments. It forms part of a nationwide pilot scheme to encourage visitors to contribute towards the cost of maintaining Britain’s historic cathedrals.

A standing terminal was installed in December 2017 at the west end of the Cathedral, adjacent to the existing cash donation box to create a designated ‘donation station’ point. The terminal securely processes payments of £5 per transaction when touched with an eligible card (Visa and Mastercard) or phone with Apple Pay or Android Pay.

The rising popularity of ‘tap and pay’ card technology has resulted in fewer people carrying cash and coins. Newcastle Cathedral’s new ‘Tap To Give’ point offers an easy way in an increasing cash-free culture for pilgrims, tourists and worshippers to support the Cathedral.

It is hoped that visitors to the historic building will use it to contribute towards helping with the upkeep of the centuries-old Cathedral, ensuring it remains free for all to enjoy and open for future generations.

The Venerable Geoff Miller, Acting Dean of Newcastle, said: “Visitors to cathedrals often don’t know that we receive no state aid, and while they are amazed by the beauty and atmosphere, many don’t realise that it is only with their support that we can keep these stunning cathedrals open. Many people these days don’t walk around with money in their pockets, only a bank card in their purse or wallet. So if they wish to show their support and make a small financial contribution, this technology allows them to do just that.”

It costs more than £2,000 a day to run the Cathedral with no entrance fee charged to visitors.

Newcastle Cathedral’s contactless donations trial is part of a wider scheme supported by startup GoodBox and the Church of England.

The other cathedrals taking part in the pilot include St Paul’s, which charges for entry, and other free cathedrals such as St. Edmundsbury, Liverpool and Bristol. The Church of England hopes to see the machines rolled out across the country if the trial is successful.

The plans come following the suggestion in April 2017 by the Bishop of Stepney that half of cathedrals face “significant financial challenges”.

The terminals, provided by GoodBox, are already in place in the Natural History Museum, where donations have been up 20 per cent since they were installed in June. The National Portrait Gallery is also beginning a trial in the near future.