Passing the collection plate…..
In 2018, I find my wallet bulging with credit and debit cards, reward cards, Medicare, Working With Vulnerable People cards and so on. Often my wallet has no cash in it whatsoever. Recently, I needed some cash and it cost me $2.50 to withdraw cash from a non-bank ATM.
Retail transactions increasingly are going cashless with payWave and even cardless, made possible by mobile payment apps on your smartphone, such as Apple Wallet. The idea is the same: make a payment on the spot with no cash.
And, not surprisingly, mobile apps on smartphones and contactless payments are making inroads in the area of Church giving. Even the somewhat staid Church of England is testing such systems, as reported in Britain's Financial Times.
"We're aware that younger generations — and there are many people now who don't carry cash — want to give in different ways," says John Preston, national stewardship officer for the Church of England. "Enabling them to give in a way that suits them is something we'd like to try."
Offertory collections, by passing around a plate or a bag, developed in the days when people were paid weekly in notes and coins. These days most people’s income comes via their bank account, including pensions and social security benefits.
For many people, it is easier to give via an electronic transfer from their bank account. It saves finding the right change each week. It is for that reason you will find the offering plate increasingly passing by parishioners because they give in a different way. The offering plate can also be embarrassing for newcomers who are unprepared.
For myself, personally, money is deducted from my fortnightly salary and forwarded electronically to the parish by payroll. If I want to make an extra donation to the parish I go to my smartphone and transfer money. I pay all of my bills this way!
The Reserve Bank is introducing new technology this year which will push Australia even further towards being a cashless society – no need for BSB numbers. Sweden is on track to become the world's first completely cashless economy, and just last November India got rid of its highest denomination notes, effectively eliminating 90 per cent of its paper money.
Of course you can still give in cash on a Sunday. However, instead of sending cash, coins and personal cheques up to the altar please consider giving to the mission of God’s Church in a different way.
Our St John’s bank account details are: BSB Number: 702.389; Account Number: 0520 9450; Account Name: St John the Baptist Reid.