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Oh là là! Cashless church plate collections in Paris

By Cian Molloy - 04 February, 2018

The rattle of coins in church plate collections may become a thing of the past, if new methods of receiving ‘cashless offerings’ are adopted here in Ireland.

The Archdiocese of Paris is trialling three new methods of cashless payments: ‘tap-and-pay’ electronic paniers de quête (collection baskets); pay-by-app using your smartphone, and pay-by-voucher.

So far, the tap-and-pay paniers de quête have generated the most interest. Designed to resemble woven wicker baskets, they feature a space for you to place your credit card or debit card, plus four buttons allowing you to choose your level of donation – €2, €3, €5 or €10. Each time you make a donation, you automatically receive a text alert on your smartphone.

The electronic collection plates are being trialled in the Parish of Saint-Francis de Molitor, which lies in the 16th Arrondissement on the western side of the city, and where four Masses are celebrated every Sunday.

Some Irish parish priests might think that the electronic baskets maximum €20 donation amount is too low. However, the Paris Archdiocese also operates an online offering scheme – for example, to make a larger donation to the Saint-Francis de Molitor parish, you can visit the webpage www.paris.catholique.fr, where the suggested donation amounts range from €50 to €500!
The smartphone app, known as La Quête (The Collection) was launched in Paris in 2016 and allows you to make donations to any Parisian parish of your choice.

To pay by voucher, you register on the website app.donatio.fr to order a Carnet de Coupons (a booklet of vouchers) for your chosen amount, and then each time you go to Mass, you put one voucher or more into the collection basket. The coupon system has been in use in seven Parisian parishes since October 2016 and last month the system was rolled out to another eight parishes.

In a statement, the Parish Archdiocese said, “Notes and coins are always accepted during the collection, ‘bien sûr [certainly!]’, but the faithful now have a choice – smartphone apps, paper coupons and most recently, contactless payment with a bank card.”
“The premise is simple: an entire generation is using cash less and less. It is important that the Church is part of what is already a revolution for our fellow citizens, and is up to date with this transition to dematerialisation [virtual payments]. Christians are of the world. Some are already buying their newspapers or their travel passes using contactless payment. There is no reason for the Church not to be part of this.”

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