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Salvation Army bell ringers now accepting Apple Pay, Google Pay

No cash? No problem. It’s a more than century-long tradition that's getting a modern update.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — There’s a new way to donate to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle bell ringers this holiday season. They’re now accepting Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Salvation Army Major James Allison said oftentimes people want to donate, but don’t have any cash on them.

“The number one kettle patron response is, 'I don’t have any cash,' or 'I’ll catch you coming out the door,'” Allison said. “This year we have settled the 'I don’t have the cash' piece.”

Here’s how it works: Anyone can simply tap their smartphone against the sensor or use their camera to scan the code. It will open a donation page on the phone, then the person picks the amount and send off their payment.

“This is definitely directed at the millennials to give the future of our country the opportunity to donate in a way that’s comfortable, and a way that they’re accustomed to donating,” Allison said.

Allison said kettle donations are holding strong. They just want to reach a broader audience.

Terrance Griffin said he donates to the Salvation Army all the time. He was dropping a dollar into the donation kettle, on his way out of Greenbrier Mall.

Asked about this new cashless option, he said it’s a great idea. 

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“A lot of people use their cell phones and sometimes they don’t have any cash. I guess the app is a lot better for the kids. They do their phone now,” he said.

Another mall shopper, Kishara McPhearson agreed.

“It’s actually awesome. It’s modern and everyone uses their phones and it’s easy,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t have my credit card on me and sometimes I don’t have my cash on me. I can use my phone - bam! There we go.”

Allison said this is the first year the Salvation Army, nationwide, is doing the cashless option.

“We’ve made it attractive to the millennials; for the folks like myself who are used to carry cash and dropping cash – we’ve got you covered; for the folks who still carry the checkbook, we’ve got you covered as well,” he said.

There will be 98 red kettles across Hampton Roads this Black Friday.

Allison said they want to raise more than $400,000 this holiday season, through their red kettle bell ringers.

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