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Looking to modernize, over 16,000 churches belonging to the Church of England are beginning to accept Apple Pay and Google Pay from congregations.
The Church is trying to appeal to younger parishioners, many of whom may no longer carry cash, BBC News reported. A trial took place in about 40 churches last summer.
Currently people can only go contactless to pay for special events, such as weddings, christenings, and parties. "Collection plate" donations are still being trialed, but could be launched later this year — the main obstacle being that technologies like Apple Pay are actually slower than tossing coins or bills into a plate.
It's unusual for a religious organization to accept Apple Pay, which is aimed mostly at retailers with dedicated payment terminals, as well as commercial apps and websites. Select non-profits have supported the technology since November 2016 though, and a proliferation of handheld/small-scale payment systems has made it possible for just about any organization to take Apple Pay — though they may have to send service fees to companies like Square.