Contactless/Card Payments and Fundraising

Sooo at a recent bagpack, several members of the public came up and said “oh im sorry i havent any change, if only you took contactless…”

I can relate to this, as i very rarely use cash now when i shop, meaning i dont often have a lot of loose change.

Cheap, hand held chip and pin / contactless devices are readily available from around 30 pounds, but im interested in the ethics of it all …

Is it better to receive a payment of 5 pounds, of which only 4.85 actually goes to the Sqn and the rest goes in fees, rather than loose the donation all together?

Do people donating this way need to know that not all of their money is going to its intended cause?

Will people ACTUALLY pay this way or is it an excuse to explain why they cant or wont donate?

If it were used to accept payments for other things, like camps , subs etc, should the Sqn take the hit or should the person paying?

Your thoughts, as always, are most welcome



A lot of people pay by contactless now, doing a bag pack on Xmas Eve was super busy but I think at best we raised just over £1000. A few years ago before the craze of contactless we were raising close to £3000. I can’t see us even thinking of buying a cheap machine to use as it would probably be looked at funny.

Yes, it should always be transparent.

Some might and they are likely the small percent of people that donate more than their change, if you gained an extra 10% through it then it was worth it.

That’s up to the squadron to decide, so long as you are clear in your explanation of costs so a future request to see why a camp cost X amount and it is listed then there shouldn’t be a problem with how the money is collected. Most parents would probably be glad of the simplicity.

our Wing uses a online paypal style payment system which has a fee - this is passed on to the customer, be that a Cadet or Staff for the course or camp. Wing have enforced the system and expect us to pay the fee.

I would tell then to sod off.
No staff for camps etc would soon send a strong message.
I never expect to have to pay to provide my volunteer hours. Even through back door means or stealth ‘taxes’.


Put it on your expenses claim and see what HQ have to say about the matter


That’s happening without the new payment plan from WgHQ!

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not for camps, i put camps as these are things which requirement payment.

Staff pay for courses and I recently paid for a first aid course as an example…

Passing on the fee is a bit mean if there is no alternative means of payment. If they have a bank account, they should be able to accept BACS payment. Not much good for donations in the middle of town but useful to pay for courses, mess bills etc.

How much are you paying for said courses?

Important - as of January 13th 2018, the Government changed the law so that it is illegal to charge for the use of credit cards. Consequently the advice above that there is a choice is I’m afraid wrong and the CivCom fund will have to take the hit on any payment. It used to be the case that as long as the charge was notified to the payee ahead of the transaction it was OK but no longer.

It is also technically not allowed to uplift the price to include the fee (though I’m unclear how anyone would know). But for donations/bagpacks etc. you get your £4.85 and that is it.

Sorry … endorsed or not, this no longer legal.

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Paypal does not charge for using credit cards, it charges the business owner to receive payments from any source. The cost is the same whether you pay by credit card, debit card or direct from the bank account.

What is the system? Is it actually paypal or another service? I’d check their T&Cs as it is definitely against PayPal’s.

Although given how that’s written, there’s an easy get-around: it’s a handling fee. If they only accept PayPal then who says what the fee would be if they were accepting cash?

However I think it’s moot as it was stated it was a PayPal-style system, not necessarily PayPal itself.

I understand that.

But the point is that whether Paypal, Mastercard, Visa, ATC Wing Financial Services, Halifax, Squadron credit … it is not lawful to pass any charge to the 'customer whether credit or debit card.

It is the law of the land and not operator specific - handling charges are equally not allowed.

tried that - didnt work for Wing.

first aid the previous occasion £25…this time £26 to take into account the handling fee

care to expand?
how is it not allowed? Some ATMs card a fee to get money out?
why is it not legal? the system in use is favoured by sports clubs nationally and why being a system set up for a “club” was chosen for the Wing (or so I am lead to believe)

another system

the “fee” is already included in the cost
camp costs £30? ah but using the Wing system thats a fee of 70p be transaction.
lets call it £31
there isn’t any hidden charges when paying ie Wing don’t ask for £30 and the Cadets find it costs £30.70. Wing Simply up the price to absorb the fee.

how does this work for lets say a well known auction site?
to list there is a fee, to deal with the money handler (paypal), there is a fee. I can by a item at £0.85 and know that the wholesaler indicated to me I should expect to seel this with a 40% mark up. but i have running costs (such as fees) to take into account and so rather than charge £1.20 I charge £1.50

People get tied up on the “you can’t pass the cost on to the customer, what that actually means is that you can’t discriminate against one payment type over another.

You can pass the cost of the charge onto the customer, but you have to pass it on to all customers regardless of what payment method they use. So if a card system costs 1% of the total sale, you charge everyone that 1% whether they pay by card or cash. (It’s the reason so few small places accept Amex, the usage costs are so much higher that it skews the system.)



Basically, at all times the cost of selling/transaction must not be passed to the customer in a discriminatory manner as daws1159 has said.

The concern was that the resulting effect would be to raise prices for all, but in retail terms at least that generally hasn’t been born out. If Wing are charging everyone £30.70 then that is fine. But not if there are different rates for different payment methods - whatever they are.

I think in retail terms the card costs have been included in the cost of doing business for many years anyway, it was only the very smallest of businesses that used to charge to use a card.

It’s this cost is using a card machine which caused all the uproar around tips, with companies deducting the financial cost of paying for using a card from the total tip given to staff. (I actually agree with this, why should the business pay the fee for you giving their staff a tip?).

aahh well this has become a sticky wicket over RIAT

A £15 standard (national) rate isn’t so standard for us when the handling fee is applied…emails have been fired back and forth or so i have heard

I realise it’s a one method to try and trap people, but with card / contactless payments would it be a fixed “donation” or proper donation? One of my gripes in the charity sector is the “set donation” as per the “pay by text” much beloved of TV and “charities” pushed by celebs in adverts invariably with little children. A donation IMO is a voluntary amount and if you’re going to mess around getting a card out of your wallet, might as well put your hand in your pocket and give them some proper money.
When we do Wings and Poppy some of the things have a suggested donation, but if someone gives us an amount below this, it was more than we had before, rather than not getting the suggested amount. If it went card only, you lose one of those moments when collecting of small children being given a few pence to put in the tin and giving them something from the table or box and going away happy. Also the amazement of cadets seeing someone put many paper quids in their tin and not wanting anything. Giving them a card reader and tapping and pressing a number is a bit detached.