Traditional donation boxes are going cashless because people do not have as much loose change to give charities.

Trócaire is piloting new digital donation boxes in Supermac's outlets in Dublin and Galway in a response to changing spending habits as more people favour contactless payments over cash transactions.

Trócaire’s Director of Funding Gwen Dempsey said the move to future proof the traditional countertop donation box comes as people are spending less cash at the till.

"People are more often not carrying cash any more. More of us use our cards for shopping," said Ms Dempsey.

"Trócaire wants to give people the opportunity to use the same technology to be able to donate to their favourite charity."

Figures from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland show that contactless payments increased by 66% in 2018.

The digital charity boxes pilot is a joint initiative between Trócaire, Supermac's, The Smart Group and Payment Plus.

"We have got to change how we donate to charities in the Irish market."

The Smart Group Managing Director Tom Ryan said the technology is being marketed as 'Tap for Good' technology.

"This  was developed with Trócaire because there is a need to collect money in a cashless way from donors in seamless and easy way", he said.

He said the 'Tap for Good' technology could be used by other charities in the future
 
Managing Director of Payment Plus Cillian Wright said: "We think this is the future".

He said younger people in particular do not carry cash as often and "we have got to change how we donate to charities in the Irish market".
 
John McDonagh of Supermac's said the piloted scheme is happening in its restaurants because his family has a long association with the Trócaire.

"We have supported the charity for over 30 years. In that 30 years we have donated €500,000," he said

Supermac’s is piloting the boxes at its Dublin O’Connell Street and Galway Plaza outlets and plans to have the technology in its 100 restaurants, John McDonagh confirmed.
 
Lent, which begins today, is an important fund raising period for charities like Trócaire.
 
"Our annual Lenten campaign brings in a third of our public income every year," said Ms Dempsey.
 
Separate to the digital donation boxes, the charity has also distributed one-million cardboard donation boxes to schools, homes, parishes and businesses as part of its annual Lenten campaign.
 
"The Lenten boxes bring in €5 to €6 million," Ms Dempsey said.
 
Trócaire’s cardboard boxes have QRC codes to help people return collected money or donations by phone.