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Barclaycard launches charitable contactless payment system

Global card provider Barclaycard has teamed up with the Mayor of London's office to create a new way for consumers to donate money to charity.

Dubbed the 'Penny for London' scheme, the initiative allows people to automatically make charitable donations between 1 penny and 10 pence, via contactless payment, when travelling on the Transport for London (TfL) network and National Rail services.

Those who want to give money to scheme and support London-based charities must register to take part, then the system will automatically collect small donations from those who use their registered contactless debit or credit card to pay for journeys. It comes a month after TfL launched contactless payment on the London Underground.

Donations are aggregated into one debit payment at the end of each month and this is given to Penny for London for distribution via the Mayor's Fund for London charities and other not-for-profit organisations, including Cash for Kids and The Prince's Trust.

Barclaycard says that the new contactless payment system has been designed so that merchants will not have to make any changes to their back-end systems. All Visa and Mastercard contactless cardholders can opt-in on the Penny for London website or mobile app.

Philip McHugh, CEO of Barclaycard Business Solutions, said his company had worked with the Mayor's Fund for London to design a contactless payment system that would "make the process of giving to charity as quick and easy as possible".

"With around half of all the UK's contactless spend made here, London is the contactless capital," he added.

"As increasing numbers of people move from cash to card, we see this micro-donation technology being able to help companies support their citizenship programmes. We hope it is adopted by other cities here and around the world in the future to ensure charities continue to thrive."

Uses can keep track of their donation activity on the Penny for London website and amend or cap their donation preferences whenever they like using a smartphone, tablet or desktop PC. 

Barclaycard's tech costs were part funded by Barclay's Social Innovation Facility, which was launched in 2012 with a £25 million commitment. It's goal is to accelerate the development of commercial solutions that directly address social challenges. 

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Penny for London