Historic Wigan church goes contactless for people who don't carry cash

It may be one of the oldest buildings in the borough, but this Wigan church is definitely keeping up with the times.
Reverend Andrew Holliday with the payment machineReverend Andrew Holliday with the payment machine
Reverend Andrew Holliday with the payment machine

St Wilfrid’s in Standish has installed a contactless card machine so that younger and more digital-savvy churchgoers, who rarely carry cash, can donate to the church.

The new tech means that instead of having to scrape a few coins together to put in the collection pots, worshippers can simply scan their debit card and donate as much or as little as they wish.

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Reverend Andrew Holliday said: “The reason why we’ve taken this step is because lots of people don’t have money now. I had a conversation with a young couple who said: ‘Andrew, don’t you realise we don’t carry cash? We pay for everything by card!’

“I suppose that, although it may appear an odd thing, it’s becoming a very popular way of people making a donation, because our young people don’t carry cash as often.

“It’s a way of giving everyone the opportunity to donate in whatever way they feel comfortable with.

“We’ve had lots of very positive comments, saying ‘thank you for providing us with a way to donate to our beautiful building’.”

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Rev Holliday added: “For many years, people have been enormously generous and kind with their donations. We’re moving into a modern age and making every appropriate opportunity available.

“For some people it might seem a strange way forward, but we are utterly respecting the past, current and future generations. The Church needs to reflect on this very modern age that we are moving into.

“St Wilfrid’s has been at the centre of the mission and Christian witness for so many centuries and it’s continuing to be cared for by the generosity of the whole community.”

St Wilfrid’s is a Grade-I listed building and has been described as “one of the most interesting churches in Lancashire”.

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Church of England parishes across the country began trialling digital collections in September 2018, in a partnership with card reader technology firm SumUp. A 2019 survey found that donations at some churches had risen by 97 per cent since the introduction of the card machines.

The developers said the tech could support 500 transactions without the need for recharging.