Debit and credit card charity is growing, says APACS

17 March 2008 / by Joy Tibbs
People donated more than £1 billion to charity using debit and credit cards in 2007 according to UK payments association APACS; the first time the £1 billion mark has been topped. The average amount given on plastic cards during the year was £44.75.

The group's research revealed that the amount donated on plastic totalled £1.013 billion in 2007 compared with £842 million in the previous year. In terms of volume, the number of donations rose 23 per cent from 18.5 million in 2006 to 22.6 million in 2007. Broken down this shows that 2.9 million more debit card, and 1.3 million more credit cards were used to donate.

Director of communications, Sandra Quinn, said: "Last year we donated a staggering £1 billion on our cards and it seems very likely that our increasing preference to pledge by plastic has been spurred on by all the growing opportunities to pay online or over the phone.

"The first time many of us used our plastic to donate was on the back of the massive Asian Tsunami appeal and since this time, the average monthly volumes and values donated to charitable organisations by card has continued to rise."

People are also donating to charity by simply taking out affinity cards, which costs them nothing. The donation is made by the card issuer, either when the card account is opened, or when the card is activated. Some providers also make further donations linked with consumer purchases.

In 2007, approximately £7.5 billion was spent on the 4.8 million affinity cards in use in the UK, a rise of eight per cent year-on-year. However, despite the rise in 'plastic card donations', Direct Debit and standing order payments are still preferred methods of donating to charity.

Ms Quinn commended the generosity of UK cardholders and encourages people to keep donating. "Wednesday’s budget announcement confirmed that charities will continue to reclaim gift aid at 22 per cent; however, a lower rate will be introduced in the future. When reviewing our finances we should therefore aim to give as generously as we can," she said.

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