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POULSEN: Cashless shoppers a challenge for Salvation Army campaign

Image Credit: Chuck Poulsen
December 17, 2015 - 7:24 AM

I haven't carried cash for almost a year and it didn't poppy up as a problem until just last month when there was no script nor coin in my wallet for the Remembrance Day donation box.

The march toward a cashless society is humbugging on-the-spot charitable causes to the point that some Salvation Army kettle campaigners in B.C. are now equipped with mobile devices to take banking cards.

It might feel like Christmas commercialism, but what's a Santa to do?

How are the sellers of the all-Canadian 50-50 tickets at every minor hockey game in the country this winter going to amass a pot worth shouting across the rink about?

The Bank of Canada says fewer than half the purchases now made by consumers are in cash.

A report back from 2012 found that paying by plastic amounted to 40 per cent of transactions world wide.

But the rate in Canada at the time was 68 per cent, making us the world leader in plastic payment.

A study carried out by Leger Marketing this year found that 71 per cent of Canadians are comfortable with never having to use cash to make purchases.

That's up an astonishing 44 percentage points from 2012, when only 27 per cent of Canadians said the same.

Contact-less credit and debit cards - by "tap" or mobile device - are growing just as quickly in popularity.

It seemed like a small matter when Canada eliminated the penny, but that portended more than anyone thought.

A recent international banking study looking at how ready 33 countries are to become cashless, puts Canada in first, with Sweden coming second. (The U.S. was 8th).

Salvation Army spokesperson Deb Lowell said the branch in Langley will be the first in B.C. to try out donations via iPad at its kettle locations.

She said, as of Tuesday, the Sally Ann's campaign had collected $1.7 million of its 2015 goal of $4 million.

She wouldn't say if that was worrisome but I imagine it might be.

The Sally Ann's donations are also being affected by people shopping online and avoiding the malls.

In response, the charity has set up a webpage for donations from your armchair this year: 

There is cheery news to this cashless-ness.

Super markets may have to give up on those annoying carts that require a loonie.


Is this the year the Christmas card will die?

The tradition that began 170 years ago continues to decline as well-wishers also go digital.

Said Canada Post’s Daria Hill after the 2014 holidays:

"Last year, I had 20 cards on the fridge; this year there’s only two."

— Chuck Poulsen can be reached at

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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