Charity Donations Invited at Cash Machines

Users of automated teller machines will be invited to make charity donations every time they take money out of a “hole in the wall” under government plans.


Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, will propose the idea in a policy paper on Wednesday, saying he has been inspired by the success of such a system being used in Colombia.

Mr Maude will seek talks with banks in the new year to discuss whether they will voluntarily embrace the idea in the UK.

Five years ago, HSBC allowed customers to donate to the BBC Children in Need campaign through its ATMs.

“We want banks and ATM providers to let us know how we might make this happen in the UK and whether there are ways we can facilitate this,” the paper says.

A spokeswoman for the Payments Council, which represents the industry, said the Link ATM network already allows people to top up their mobile phone or receive utility bill statements.

“I don’t see why this couldn’t work, it’s another button on the cash machine isn’t it?” she said.

In Colombia, a consortium of ATMs operating under the name Servibank was set up in 1998 and now has a network of 500 machines with about 100,000 donations per month, averaging $1 a time for a choice of three charities.

The cost of the system was $3,000 (£1,950) to design and $100 per machine to install.

Mr Maude also intends to hold a meeting with retailers to see if they could introduce more ways for people to donate with credit cards when making purchases.

There are already some examples of this taking place, such as EasyJet inviting customers to donate to a carbon offsetting charity and Sea France asking for donations to a maritime charity.

The proposals are laid out today in a green paper on “Giving” that forms part of the coalition’s strategy of helping to build a so-called Big Society.

It cites existing technologies such as the Pennies Foundation, which allows people to “round up the pound” and make tiny donations every time they buy with a debit or credit card.

The group is already working with companies such as Domino’s Pizza .

Separately, the paper sets out plans to hire 5,000 community activists and to pilot a new National Citizen Service for 10,000 16-year-olds next summer, expanding to 30,000 the following year.