Charity trials Eftpos collecting on streets

By Patrice Dougan

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Large donations, including one of $50, have been electronically gifted to a charity on its first day trialling mobile Eftpos machines on the streets.

Childhood heart condition charity, @Heart, today became the first charity to use the technology, in a bid to adapt to an increasingly cashless society.

Its collectors took to the streets of Auckland with their mobile Eftpos machines, which the charity said had encouraged more people to pay - and fork out more when they did.

"It's really been terrific," said chief executive Lorraine Warshaw.

"People still gave us cold, hard cash, but we found that when people were using the machines they would have definitely donated more than they would have if they were using coins or notes."

She said payments of $5, $10 and $20 were being electronically donated, and one man who said he had no cash on him gave $50 when told he could pay by card.

"I think people felt it would be strange to put 50 cents on their credit card, so they put $5 or $10," Ms Warshaw said.

People were excited by the prospect of using contactless technology to make their donation, she said, and many people had not used their payWave-enabled cards before.

"It definitely creates an enormous opportunity for charities who do collections on the street. And face-to-face collections are really important because it gives us a chance to engage with people and to have a conversation.

"So when they're standing there for 15 seconds waiting for the transaction, we have a chance to engage them in conversation."

Collectors were positioned along Queen Street, near Britomart, and in Newmarket and Takapuna in Auckland today.

The total donations - by cash and card - were still to be tallied, Ms Warshaw said, but @Heart was looking forward to finding out.

"We don't know how much it's generated for us, but we see it [electronic street donations] as an absolute necessity going forward," she said.

It seems the Auckland public were trusting of the technology, as not one person questioned the security of the terminals.

"People are so used to using Eftpos transactions," she said. "Nobody raised the issue of security at all."

The charity worked with Visa to organise using 20 payWave-enabled Eftpos terminals for free during its collections in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Visa also provided training on how to use the machines.

The Breast Cancer Foundation is also set to adopt the technology at some key collection points for its Pink Ribbon appeal in October.

- APNZ

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