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Overview of Contactless Collecting

About This Document

This document reviews the growing interest in use of contactless payment devices when collecting donations and provides a brief overview of devices which are of interest to morris, rapper sword and other traditional dance sides in the UK.

Context

A post published in August 2021 on the “How many Morris Dancers are on Facebook?” Facebook group asked:

I know this has been touched on before, but I would be really grateful if any teams who are using contactless payment tech for collecting at dance outs could let me know how it’s going, what system they are using, pros and cons etc.

This question has been raised on a number of occasions. This document has been written which aims to provide some initial answers to this question for those who may not be on Facebook or on the “How many Morris Dancers are on Facebook?” group.

About Contactless Payments

A Wikipedia article on “Contactless payment” provides a somewhat technical definition:

Contactless payment systems are credit cards and debit cards, key fobs, smart cards, or other devices, including smartphones and other mobile devices, that use radio-frequency identification (RFID) or near-field communication (NFC, e.g. Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Fitbit Pay, or any bank mobile application that supports contactless) for making secure payments.

In reality we probably all have come across such devices, and used one for purchasing goods in a shop or a pub.

Martin Hanley (Northgate Rapper) explained in a Facebook comment the reason why Northgate Rapper decided to purchase a contactless payment device (a SumUp device)

… the reason we got a card reader was that there was an increasing number of people on our rapper crawls saying that they wanted to give something but they didn’t carry cash. Some of those would insist on buying the team a drink from the bar (using their card), but others would just apologise.

The importance of such devices was echoed by Bev Langton (Shrewsbury Morris):

“The money we, Shrewsbury Morris, collect when out dancing goes into team funds and supports many different things. Audiences generally seem willing to give but we suspect that now collections will be much reduced as many people are now far less reliant on cash. We’re exploring ideas and thoughts from other teams, charities, churches and other places where collections take place. We’ve had some really useful and very positive feedback and most seem to use Sumup.” 

and Trevor Marshall (Broadwood Morris):

Broadwood decided to get a SumUp card reader after several people said they didn’t have cash but wanted to give us something.

As many of us have become more accustomed to paying my contactless devices since lockdown it is not surprising that there is an interest in using such devices not only for collections but perhaps also for team members to pay subscriptions, hall hire fees, etc,

Devices for Contactless Collecting

There are a few devices on the market which may be useful for morris sides: SumUp, Square, Zettle, Liberty Pay and GBX mini are the ones that seem most user-friendly.

Your side will need to do some thinking about how you want it to work as it needs to go through a UK bank account, which means that unless you have a business account (rare for Morris sides!) you’ll have to have some kind of agreement with the individual whose account you’re using. This is broadly the same kind of thinking of, say, the treasurer taking the coin collection home and your trusting them to pay it into the bank, but it’s worth pointing out the potential problems.

All of the devices have either a small monthly fee or a transaction fee. This changes as they’re all run by finance organisations who vary their charges periodically. We can’t recommend one in particular as they’re all much of a muchness now. In essence, choose which works best for the kind of charges you want to pay; you’ll need to download the app and apply for a card reader. Then you use the app to set a minimum donation – all the instructions are contained within the app which explains it much better than this document can. It’s worth deciding how many in your side have access to the app and account: we suggest having two separate individuals (not married/partners) with access to the app.

Costs

You will need to consideration both any upfront cost (cost of purchasing a device) and ongoing costs (per transaction and/or per month) – and don’t forget about VAT. 

Examples of possible costs (from May 2022) are illustrated below.

DeviceCostProcessing Fee
SumUp£291.69%
Square£391.75%
PayPal Here£451.00% – 2.75%
iZettle£591.75%
Shopify£791.5% – 1.7%

Legal Issues

Many teams donate some or all of the money they collect whilst dancing to charity.

Legally speaking, however, it is important to distinguish between “donating money collected, to charity” and “collecting money for charity”.

The former is a decision made by the team, the latter is regulated by law.

If you want to collect money on the street for charity, you will almost certainly need a street collection licence.  It’s not just ‘streets’ that are covered – you’ll need a licence if you collect money for charity in public areas, e.g. a shop doorway or [pub] car park.

Do not attempt to collect on behalf of a charity without liaising with, and following the instructions from, that charity. They could get into legal difficulties if you inadvertently breach Institute of Fundraising regulations.

If you are collecting for yourselves then you are “busking”. It is not illegal to busk in the UK, as long as the performer is aged 14 years or older. However, some local councils may have bye-laws that prohibit or regulate street performers.

Further information on legal issues is available for members of the Morris Federation in the ‘For Teams‘ area.


We welcome feedback on this document. In addition we would like to hear from morris, sword and other traditional dance sides who use IT and would be willing to share their experiences: perhaps you have experiences in using a contactless payment device which you would be willing to share. Would you like to contribute a case study?


Status of this Document

Document published: 8 Nov 2022

Licence for this Document

This document is available with a Creative Commons Sharealike (CC-BY) licence. In brief, this means you can copy and make changes to this document provided you give acknowledgements to the author/publisher. A suggested wording for acknowledgements is:

This document is based on the "Overview of Contactless Collecting" document published by the Morris Federation.

#MorrisFedITResources #MFITResources

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