The Salvation Army is now accepting donations made with credit and debit cards at its ubiquitous red Christmas kettles.
The religious group said it is accepting cards in more than 120 cities this year, after tests in three cities last year showed that people gave significantly bigger amounts when using their cards.
Salvation Army units in Dallas, Los Angeles and Colorado Springs tested debit and credit card acceptance during the organization's 2008 Red Kettle campaign, which ran from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. Donations in Dallas averaged $14 when people paid using credit or debit cards, compared to $2 for cash gifts, a Salvation Army representative said. (The group would not provide comparable figures for Los Angeles and Colorado Springs.)
Last year, the Salvation Army campaign raised a record $130 million, but the Alexandria, Va., organization would not say how much was given using cards.
This year, Salvation Army volunteers are placing portable card-accepting payment terminals at 300 kettles in the 120 cities.
Elavon Global Acquiring Solutions, an Atlanta subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, processed card transactions in Los Angeles for the Salvation Army and might do so again this year, a U.S. Bank representative said.
U.S. Bancorp last year supplied Salvation Army volunteers in Los Angeles with payment terminals from VeriFone Holdings Inc.
The Salvation Army is a decentralized organization that operates in four regions, which decide individually what payment terminals to use.