Tap the window to help the homeless

  • Nationwide enables people to help the homeless via contactless window posters
  • Innovative trial at Bath branch raises £100 a day through £3 contactless payments
  • Move follows other charity forays into contactless tech as fewer people carry coins 

Technology is helping the homeless as a Nationwide branch encourages customers to donate via a smart window poster when they visit the cash machine. 

The novel way of raising money, made possible by embedded contactless technology, forms part of an innovative partnership to end homelessness for good in Bath, Somerset. 

It is hoped the initiative will make it easier for people to donate money, in addition to instilling confidence in people who feel uncomfortable giving cash directly to homeless people when using an ATM. While the default payment is set at £3, people can tap multiple times should they wish to give more.

The ‘Good Start Tap to Donate’ scheme, which is managed by local homeless charity Julian House, was developed with Nationwide and Bath Business Improvement District. All money raised will go towards the Julian House Good Start fund1, which will help improve and eradicate homelessness in Bath and North East Somerset.
It was felt that putting the device next to the cash machine at the Union Street branch - an area where homeless people frequent - would maximise donations due to footfall and awareness.

As a payment method, contactless usage continues to rapidly rise. During 2018 the number of contactless payments made in the UK increased by 31 per cent to 7.4 billion payments, according to UK Finance2. Other charities and not-for-profit organisations, including The Big Issue, have also recently turned to contactless payments as a way of securing revenue. 

Branch Manager Stephanie Pritchard said: “At a time when many people don’t have spare change or may not wish to hand it directly to someone who is homeless, having a contactless point in the window of the branch has bridged the gap. As a branch we are very much here for the community. This novel way of raising money for a fantastic cause is a great example of how technology is playing a role in helping society one tap at a time.”

Allison Herbert, Chief Executive of Bath BID, is pleased to see the launch said: “Many businesses express concern at the level of rough sleeping in the city centre and Good Start will be an additional way for people to help tackle one of our most pressing issues.”

Roanne Wootten, Operations Director for Julian House, said: “Tapping could fund welcome packs, which include toiletries and sanitary products in crisis accommodation, new bedding and essentials when moving into supported housing, a birth certificate, a passport or a driving licence. Fundamentally it is about the person and what they need to help them to come off the streets – it will be different for everyone.”

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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