Donations Via Debit Offered At St. Mark's Anglican Church In St. John's

Jeremiah Rodriguez
Parishioners at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in St. John’s will now be able to offer church donations using a debit card terminal in the church's office.

Years from now, your kids could be asking you: "What the heck are collection plates?"

The times are a-changin' and one church in Newfoundland is getting ahead of the curve by offering parishioners the option to make donations using a debit card terminal.

On Monday, St. Mark's Anglican Church in St. John's announced on Facebook: "Find yourself in church without money for the offering?? We got you covered!! St. Mark's gratefully accepts one-time contributions via Visa, Mastercard and debit card."

Rev. Robert Cooke pictured on the right with some of his parishioners on Aug. 28, 2017.

The debit terminal won't be passed around like a collection plate so if you want to tithe or donate without cash, the machine will be in the church office.

"They would have to seek us out in order to give this way. So it's very no pressure," Rev. Robert Cooke told CTV News. He pointed out that donations help the church with initiatives like community programs.

The church has also set up recurring payments similar to how some companies allow users to pay off things like phone, internet or hydro bills.

Parishioners came up with the idea

In light of online criticism of the idea, Cooke pointed out that that the idea to make donations more accessible came from his flock rather than from the higher-ups, reported CBC News.

The so-called giving terminal is nothing new for the progressive congregation.

Parishioners have been able to fund the ministry through electronic direct debit since since 2001. Mastercard and Visa credit card offerings were offered a few years later.

For those used to tradition, collection plates will still be passed around the pews.

Cashless will be way of future

The church is in line with consumer trends. One report from global payments provider Paysafe suggests that by 2020, 51 per cent of Canadians will stop using cash entirely.

The idea of moving to cashless donations is also nothing new considering that churches, such as one in Belleville, Ont., as far back as 2002, have been allowing debit terminals for donations.

"People are increasingly moving away from cash and cheques to electronic forms of payments, and we need to adapt to those new realities," said St. Mark's Facebook post.

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