Newcastle Cathedral Goes Contactless
Newcastle Cathedral is one of the first churches to accept contactless donations
Newcastle Cathedral has now gone contactless as part of a nationwide pilot scheme to encourage visitors to contribute towards the cost of maintaining Britain’s historic Cathedrals.
The Church of England’s most northerly Cathedral is among the first to trial the ‘tap-and-pay’ digital technology. A standing terminal was installed on 20 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 is capable of securely processing 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 contactless 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 Very Reverend Christopher Dalliston, Dean of Newcastle, who was the first to tap his card on the contactless symbol and donate £5, said: “Visitors to our cathedrals are often amazed by the beauty, craftsmanship and atmosphere of these great places but don’t always realise that with no state aid it’s only through the generosity of visitors and congregations that they can be kept open and accessible for everyone, every day. This new facility offers a modern, digital way for people to demonstrate their generosity and help to maintain our wonderful Cathedral.”
The Dean continued: “We know that more and more people tend not to carry cash, so we would like to respond to that. Bearing in mind we have a running cost of over £2,000 per day, but don’t charge an entrance fee, we hope that introducing contactless payment will make it easier for people to give in the way that they want. We’d like to ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy and appreciate this magnificent building for years to come.”
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.