Digital giving for the Catholic Church

Simple, fast ways of taking donations.


The challenge: Searching for simple, fast ways of taking donations

The search for more modern methods of collecting the traditional Church offering is not a new story. Indeed, it is a current challenge for many organisations who rely on charitable giving. All are searching for simple, fast ways of taking donations. With cash contributions reducing in line with the rise of card payments, even before the Covid-19 crisis, the need to move to ‘digital giving’ through card acceptance was already understood. 

The prevalence of one-click ordering in our daily lives is shaping our thinking, and as we reduce our reliance on cash, it has become essential to make it easier for congregations to donate. For the Church to maintain levels of support, it would need to adapt its fundraising through new technology.
Payzone Ireland is widely recognised as a provider of customised payment solutions. They identified an opportunity to aid the Catholic Church as they tried to solve the challenge of the ’dash from cash’.

Without a workable solution however, the Church would have to revert to non-card payments, forcing them to look elsewhere for answers and opening the door to possible competitor opportunities. It was important to work fast.

Payzone Ireland prides itself on providing innovative payment solutions to fit the needs of its customers. Covid-19 accelerated significant changes in consumer behaviour, particularly the switch from cash to card payments. Our customers needed to respond quickly by providing alternatives to cash payments. When churches were forced to close their doors and restrict attendances, most did not have a ready-made solution to replace cash donations. However, working with Ingenico and our own design team we were quickly able to develop a solution that was cost effective, flexible, and contactless. The ‘Tap to Donate’ solution has helped churches to continue to provide services and support to
Sean Phelan a Worldline brand, CTO, Payzone Ireland
Author Photo
Sean Phelan


Payzone Ireland discussed their ideas with the Church and agreed that a mobile, Contactless solution would help to solve the problem of declining donations. The impact of Covid-19 not only accelerated the desire to move quickly, but also created a new requirement - for payment to be touch free in a fixed position. 
A payment partner was needed and Payzone approached Ingenico, a Worldline brand, to leverage their experience across charitable and micro-transactions. Ingenico and Payzone Ireland have a long and successful history of creating innovative solutions together and viewed the project as an exciting challenge, as well as being the right thing to do.

Payzone initiated a series of brainstorming sessions with Ingenico, providing a forum for both businesses to explore the use case and customer journey. Several options were examined, and the Link/2500 device was quickly identified because of its competitive price and ergonomics, making it small enough to build into a donation solution.

Key success factors

  • A seamless payment experience with no delay or effort for the user.
  • Engagement and trust from Payzone’s acquirer, AIB MS.
  • Ingenico’s strong relationship with AIB MS helped to drive forward discussions and supporting paperwork submissions, enabling the project to push forward at speed.
Link/2500 Donations

The final solution

The final solution saw the Link/2500 presented within a specially designed casing which facilitated fixed amount donations. These were placed at static points in the entrance and exit of the building for payment with the following key functions:

  • Transactions taken offline and stored, ensuring a quick throughput.
  • Stored transactions sent to the host to authorise.
  • No PIN entry required as all the transactions are offline.

These tobacco vending machines are only available in public areas and their main attraction is the use of age confirmation and contactless payment, displayed as ‘payment approved’ on the terminal screen. Customers can pay with cash if desired but will still have to tap their card on the reader for age checks.

The use of age verification has potential applications in other vending sales, such as alcohol, health products and even legal CBD (cannabis). Operators and consumers like the system because it is anonymous and secure. It also solves the problem of using ID cards which cannot be read by payment terminals and require a separate reader.

Working together in challenging times

The impact of Covid-19 on the development of the solution was significant, forcing work to take place off-site and coinciding with a slowdown in Church attendance due to closure. Regular communications were essential to ensure readiness when the restrictions were lifted, but the challenge of demonstrating the solution without the possibility of face to face meetings remained.

To solve this, Ingenico created a video of the solution which was used to illustrate the product to the Payzone Board, demonstrating in a simple, visual way what the finished product would look like. This showed the interaction with the user and how quickly the transactions would go through. This approach enabled Payzone to view the solution and come to a quick decision.

Using technology in this way demonstrates Ingenico’s innovative response to how to present and brainstorm, focusing on the connection between each business and preserving the human element in decision making.


Key benefits

The solution delivers new points of payment acceptance for the Catholic Church in Ireland to receive donations from their ongregation. It provides fixed amount, Contactless payment in a safe and efficient way, without causing queues or the need for PIN entry.
The project serves as a blueprint to implement payment solutions for charitable organisations across the world.
Payzone has strengthened its collaboration with Ingenico by devising an innovative solution that has fostered new ideas, confirming Payzone's strategic position as a payments innovator and provider of bespoke solutions.

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