Credit Card Kiosks Ease Church Giving

Here is an article featuring SecureGive at a local church in California. This article ran in the Fresno Bee in Fresno, CA, and later circulated to over 100 news publications in the country. Check it out!

FRESNO, Calif. — Long ago, people gave God parts of their livelihood: goats, sheep, wheat and barley. Much later, they began plopping money into collection plates.

Now, some churchgoers are swiping their bank cards at machines that look a bit like ATMs.

“It’s easier,” says John Muscianes, who attends New Covenant Community Church in northeast Fresno, Calif. “I don’t have to write a check. It’s convenient.”

Eric Paul Zamora/Fresno Bee /MCT

Jennifer McLamore (center) watches husband Jason McLamore try the new donation kiosk at New Covenant Community Church in Fresno, Calif. “I’m so glad they did this,” said Jennifer. “It’s so much easier.”
Places of worship have provided more options for tithing and offerings in the past decade. (A tithe is generally the 10th of one’s income that is donated to a religious organization in weekly or monthly installments.)

Some install links on their websites for worshippers to give online. Some provide options for automatic deductions from checking accounts.

Now comes a new twist: Machines rolling into churches, called giving kiosk units.

SecureGive, a company in Augusta, Ga., has been selling them since 2007, but sales have taken off only in the past year. Now about 325 churches nationwide use them.

“A lot of people just don’t carry checkbooks,” says Stuart Baker, director of sales and marketing for SecureGive. “We’re moving into a cashless society. From a practical standpoint, it allows people to do what they already want to do — give.”

New Covenant Community Church has provided online giving through its website for a number of years. It installed a giving kiosk unit in the sanctuary foyer in late November.

Church pastor the Rev. Jan van Oosten, says so many people use debit cards these days that “the kiosk is the way to go.”

New Covenant’s unit is a sleek silver pedestal topped with a computer screen, numeric keypad and magnetic strip reader. Prompted by on-screen instructions, congregants swipe their bank cards and punch in some numbers. After they’re done, a receipt spits out. The donation is tax-deductible.

Quincey Hollman says using the unit fits her lifestyle. She uses her debit card rather than cash or checkbook and pays bills online.

So far, New Covenant’s giving kiosk is averaging about a dozen users on Sundays, when two services are held.

In Visalia, Calif., Gateway Church has been providing a giving kiosk unit in its sanctuary foyer for nearly three years. Officials say they’re pleased with the results.

Gateway’s congregation can also use the unit to pay for church events that charge fees, such as summer and winter camps and men’s and women’s breakfast meetings.

“People are used to swiping a card,” says the church’s finance director, Chris Williams.

He says it is important that churches continue to provide options for worshippers to give, but he says he understands anyone who hasn’t warmed up to the idea of giving at kiosks.

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