• ‘Smart window poster’ allows contactless donations on High Street

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    A ‘smart window poster’ which allows contactless donations to be made to the homeless has been installed for the first time on a British high street.

    The contactless technology is being trialled at Nationwide’s Union Street branch in Bath, Somerset – which could revolutionise charitable donations.

    Each tap donates £3 directly to homeless people in the area, with users being able to tap multiple times per visit.

    The trial, which raised £400 in the first week, comes as the building society continues to invest millions in branches up and down the country to support communities.

    It is hoped the initiative will make it easier for people to donate money, in addition to instilling confidence in those who feel uncomfortable giving cash directly to homeless people.

    The ‘Good Start Tap to Donate’ scheme, which is managed by local homeless charity Julian House, was developed with Nationwide Building Society and Bath Business Improvement District.

    All money raised will go towards the Julian House Good Start fund, which will help improve and eradicate homelessness in Bath and North East Somerset.

    Nationwide branch manager Stephanie Pritchard said: “At a time when many people don’t have spare change or may not wish to hand it directly to someone who is homeless, having a contactless point in the window of the branch has bridged the gap. This novel way of raising money for a fantastic cause is a great example of how technology is playing a role in helping society, one tap at a time.”

    As a payment method, contactless usage continues to rapidly rise. During 2018 the number of contactless payments made in the UK increased by 31 per cent, to 7.4 billion payments, according to a UK Finance report.

    Other charities and not-for-profit organisations, including The Big Issue, have also recently turned to contactless payments as a way of securing revenue.

    Roanne Wootten, operations director for Julian House, said: “Tapping could fund welcome packs, which include toiletries and sanitary products in crisis accommodation, new bedding and essentials when moving into supported housing, a birth certificate, a passport or a driving licence. Fundamentally it is about the person and what they need to help them to come off the streets – it will be different for everyone.”

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