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Asian Tsunami was tipping point for charitable giving on plastic

27th December 2006 Print
The Asian Tsunami disaster in December 2004 saw an overwhelming reaction from the British public – in the month that followed cardholders donated over £100 million on debit and credit cards. The Pakistan earthquake saw a similar spike in October 2005 as donations hit £45 million.

Since then the trend has continued with charitable donations continuing to be made at higher levels than ever on debit and credit cards. Figures released today (27 December 2006) by APACS, the UK payments association, see giving by plastic stronger than ever. Both the Tsunami and the earthquake in Pakistan saw an expected spike in giving – but outside of these busy periods average giving has been consistently up on 2004 levels as the nation factors charitable giving into their monthly expenditure.

The figures have been released with the publication of APACS Cards & charities, a report which reveals the extent of the credit and debit card industry’s contribution to charitable giving in the UK. The report shows that cardholders are flexing their plastic to make more and more donations directly to charity every year – latest figures show that in June 2006 we donated £67.8 million on plastic cards.

Where these donations are to help major humanitarian emergencies or for intensive national cross-charity events like Children in Need the card industry has taken the step of waiving interchange fees – part of the charge normally levied by banks on merchants for processing their card transactions – providing a substantial level of additional assistance.

Sandra Quinn, APACS director of communications said: “As we stand here at the second anniversary of the Asian Tsunami, it’s worth remembering how generously the British population responded – people reached deep into their pockets to help and in the following month donated more than £100 million on debit and credit cards.

“As Cards & charities outlines, this is just one of the ways that we use our cards to help charities. Whatever the charity more and more of us turn to our plastic to show our support – whether that’s through direct giving or by taking out an affinity card to give a little every time we spend.

“Online, the card is king – helping charities like to change the face of fundraising and the way we give. Card companies are themselves some of the biggest givers in the UK – donating directly to both charities and the community.”