Salvation Army kettles accept credit cards

Not having any change for a donation won't work as an excuse anymore in some major cities.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 30, 2011 1:09PM

This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.


MainStreet on MSN MoneyDon't have any change to spare for the guy ringing the bell at the Salvation Army kettle? Soon, you may be able to pull out your credit card to make your donation.


The charitable organization, known for its holiday bell ringers and red kettles, will be getting a 21st century update thanks to Square, an electronic payment service that provides a means for anyone with a smartphone to accept credit card payments.  Post continues below.

Square is a small plastic card reader that connects to a smartphone's headphone jack, then uses an app to let the user take credit and debit cards just like any other business. The company gives away the card reader and app for free, and makes its money by taking a 2.75% cut of all transactions.


While the payment service is generally used by small merchants and individuals, it's now coming to the charity world. Select bell ringers will be getting a Square device and an Android smartphone, and good Samaritans who opt to donate with plastic can swipe their card and enter an email address to which a receipt for the transaction may be sent. The smartphones have been donated by Sprint, though Square will still be getting its usual fee for each donation.


For now it's unclear how many bell ringers will actually be equipped with the ability to take credit cards. The organization says that the option will only be available in select markets, including New York, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco. But if one comes to your local mall, forget using that old excuse of not having any change in your pocket.


More on MainStreet and MSN Money:


Nov 30, 2011 7:05PM
Can you say fruad alert.  What better way to help people steal credit card information.  I am all for donating money and helping others but, I wont be doing it with a credit card.
Nov 30, 2011 8:42PM
I've been ringing (the annying) bell for 10 years and I'm a successful business owner trying to do something good. I still wouldn't give me a credit card for a charitable donation.
Dec 13, 2011 6:08PM
I used to give to the Red Kettle all the time till I found out how much their Director makes.  I will now donate to the vets and all the other organazations that take care of out military men.  At least I know all the money goes to them.
Thought that the director's salary was the least of the major charities. Lived frugally. Perhaps I am wrong or misled or whatever.
Dec 14, 2011 12:37AM

I haven't donated a dime to the Salvation Army kettles, in the past four years.

The reason is because, for ten years, prior to 2008, I worked the Christmas season, every

year, doing anyting from wrapping gifts, to filling out the Angel Tree cards, to checking on the bell-ringers, to picking up gifts that had been donated to outlets, around town, to making sure the bellringers were doing their jobs and not breaking rules, to picking up the kettles, to counting money and also helping to take the money to the bank.

Then, after my wife had been the Director of a Thrift Store for eight years, the Corps decided to push her out.  She'd become too good for the belly-of-a-snake-height standards. 

None of the other Thrift Stores were as clean, well managed or in control, as was hers and the idiots, in the DHQ, in Atlanta, didn't seem to like that, so they forced her to quit.


Not only that, since she's been gone, the Store, she managed has taken a nosedive.  They're running a filthy store, with dirt all over the place.  Their sales are down (would you purchase something, from a dirty store?) and the idiiots, in Atlanta are probably blaming my wife for leaving!!

(They probably took lessons in Obama's School of "It's-Always-Someone-Else'-Fault")









Nov 30, 2011 8:02PM

You said it Tim!


You're right Austin...this will start and end the '11 season...most of those bell ringers are questionable types the SA is helping. 

Dec 13, 2011 6:00PM
How about debits? Can I get a cashback option with that?
Dec 13, 2011 9:24PM
Really? I barely trust the cashier's who cash me out at businesses and now you really think I'm gonna give some bell ringer my credit card? I'd like to take those damn bells and shove them and that damed red kettle right up their asses to begin with ... it's nothing less than legalized begging and a bunch of ****! I do not believe I need to be shamed into donating .... since people don't know what I donate to during the year to begin with - so bah humbug! and piss on you all!
Dec 1, 2011 3:49AM
They need to do this everywhere!!  I never have actual money on me anymore!  We do give to the Salvation Army online but I would be tempted to do it sporadically if they could take my credit/debit card real quickly. .
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