Salvation Army accepts credit cards

By Adrianne Munz

Eagle Post Staff

Do not be surprised if you hear Salvation Army bell ringers saying “Would you like a receipt?” in addition to “thank you” this holiday season. For the first time since its foundation in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign will be accepting credit and debit cards at five area locations.

In previous years, donors were unable to receive tax deductions for contributions because they had no proof of donation, but with a simple swipe of a credit or debit card, donors will be able to both give and receive this December.

The Red Kettle Campaign began accepting credit cards in three states last year and saw the average increase in donations rise from $2 to $15.

“In the first five days we received less than ten donations via credit card,” said Dane County Coordinator Major Paul Moore. “And the donations ranged between five and ten dollars.”

Despite the slow start, $5 is significantly more than most donors throw in while passing by the red-clad volunteers who range from toddlers to elderly people.Training the volunteers on how to run the electronic payment machines has been “problematic” said Moore. But that is the least of donors’ worries as many have expressed concern over fraud.

“It’s the same risk with any credit card reader,” said Moore.

 Rest assured, donors. After red kettle thefts and fraud in previous years, the Salvation Army has implemented stronger security measures.

 “Many locations now require volunteers to sign in before ringing bells,” said Development Director Ruth Ann Schoer. 

Many of those places, such as Copps Food Center and Woodmans, are the numerous grocery stores spanning across Dane County that all graciously welcome the Red Kettle volunteers. All except Costco, for reasons that are unknown.

Among those accepting credit and debit cards are Copps Food Center in Monona and Miller & Sons Supermarket in Verona. Other area locations include JCPenny at both the East and West Towne malls and Macy’s at the Hilldale Shopping Center.

“We are currently accepting Visa MasterCard, Discover, and debit cards,” said Moore. “American Express could potentially be used in the future.”

Ringing bells from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, the Red Kettle Campaign brought in a record of $130 million nationwide last year, with Wisconsin as a leading contributor.

“The Salvation Army in Dane County was the first in the world to have online signups,” said Shoer.

Dane County is also the first county in the state to accept both credit and debit cards.

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