Paris Church Now Accepts Offerings Via Tap-and-Pay Interface

January 24, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

When beggars in China started offering quick response (QR) code placards, it was likely thought that the world was going insane. Mendicants with mobile phones, and mobile payments capability? Madness. Well, the trend is continuing, as a representative of the Catholic Church in Paris has joined the move to mobile, offering parishioners contactless payments to go alongside the familiar wicker basket.

The Saint-Francois de Molitor church in the 16th arrondissement in Paris started offering the terminal last Sunday, reports note. With the platform in place, parishioners were thus given the option to continue giving in the old-fashioned way, or—as noted by Father Didier Duverne, the mass’ celebrant—take advantage of the new terminals.

A Vivopay machine with a Samsung mobile phone serving as its base provided the necessary infrastructure for the system, and it was even set up to look like a traditional wicker basket. Parishioners could offer electronic gifts ranging from two euros to 10 euros, $2.45 – $12.25 US as of this writing. Accounts were debited within 24 hours, and no printed receipts were provided, making the process move along smoothly.

When asked about why such a system was put in place to begin with, one older parishioner noted “…Younger people don’t always have coins in their pockets on Sunday mornings. And there are times when I have realized I don’t have any money on the way to mass and have to run to the bank machine.”

This is almost exactly what the Chinese beggars noted when such changes went into place. People don’t have change to hand out any more, so the switch to an electronic system was clearly called for. So too for the church, which likewise runs on voluntary donations to keep afloat fiscally. Some here might consider this a bridge too far—such systems are likely to directly interconnect with word about the “mark of the Beast”—but since there’s a cash option, it’s really more of a way of reaching people where they are.

So in the end, a church now takes mobile payments for offerings. It likely won’t be the last of its kind to make that leap, either. Convenience, comparative anonymity, and overall ease will help drive such a development, for good or ill, depending on how you look at it.