Salvation Army Takes Plastic

Charity tests 'cashless kettle' program
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2009 5:55 PM CST
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2009 file photo, a customer swipes a MasterCard debit card through a machine while checking-out at a shop in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)
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(Newser) – The Salvation Army's red kettles that collect holiday donations—a symbol for over 100 years—are getting an update. Numerous sites across the country will take credit cards this year as part of a pilot program dubbed "cashless kettles." Earlier tests suggest that the program has promise: in Dallas-Fort Worth last year, the average donor using a credit card gave $14, while cash contributors gave $2.

"We've been doing these kettles in Charlotte for 105 years, and for 105 years, they haven't changed," the Salvation Army's director of development tells the Charlotte Observer. "But we live in a time when a lot of us are carrying less cash, and we need to offer other options."
(Read more Salvation Army stories.)