Salvation Army adds a contactless payment tag to kettles nationwide

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The Salvation Army is rolling out contactless payments technology at its 25,000 red kettles nationwide to combat the declining amounts of cash in donors’ pockets.

Kettle Pay, developed over the last two years and piloted last year in four markets, enables consumers to make donations via a QR code or NFC using their smartphones, said David Jolley, director of communications for the Salvation Army’s national headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

“This is the first year rolling out digital payments via NFC and QR code at every kettle in America,” Jolley said via email, noting that the organization hopes to re-engage a generation of donors who no longer carry cash to drop in the iconic red kettles.

A top priority in developing Kettle Pay was making sure funds stay in the community where they were collected. Digital payments via Kettle Pay will stay in local areas by associating the payment with the donor’s billing ZIP code, Jolley said.

Each kettle or kettle sign is equipped with an NFC tag users scan to reach a website where they may select the amount they wish to donate via Google Pay or Apple Pay. The NFC tag works on most Android phones built after 2012, and iPhones beginning with iPhone X.

Each kettle also sports a QR code directing users to a website and dedicated Kettle Pay donation form where they may enter payment card details.

The Salvation Army’s holiday donation campaign began in 1891 in San Francisco and last year it received more than $143 million via red kettles.

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