January 18, 2018 / 7:02 PM / a month ago

French church to accept digital donations from Sunday worshippers

PARIS (Reuters) - Worshippers will witness the transformation of an ancient ritual in Paris next Sunday, when a Catholic church rolls out wireless technology to allow devotees to donate money with a flash of their bank cards.

The Catholic authorities says the conversion to contactless card payment technology will begin at one church in the west of Paris, with a rapid rollout thereafter to others in the region.

For centuries, donations have been solicited by circulating a basket or plate at regular gatherings of worshippers, chiefly on Sundays.

“The outlook is clear: banknotes and coins are used less and less by the new generation,” the governing body of the Catholic faith in Paris said in a statement.

People accustomed to payment via card or mobile phone often ended up fumbling in empty pockets when the collection bowl comes their way, it said, adding that average donations of 98 euros a year per worshipper were at stake.

“Faced with this development, the Church has chosen to adapt to the new technologies and creative innovations,” it said.

The French experiment follows announcements last year that the Church of England would be pursuing a similar course of action among its followers.

Reporting By Brian Love; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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