Churches are stocking up on ATMs thanks to a new IRS rule that requires taxpayers to closely document their charitable giving. By placing an ATM in the lobby, congregants can collect a paper trail, and churches can collect tithings. It’s win-win. According to Time, the practice isn’t new:
Large urban churches have been accepting credit cards for several years, tapping into the Generation P (for Plastic) aversion to carrying cash. Pastors like to tell jokes about parishioners collecting Frequent Flier points on the way to heaven. A recent Dallas Morning News poll found that 55% of 200 local churches accept credit and/or debit cards.
Automatic checking account withdrawals are used by some churches, and more recently, ATM-like kiosks are now available in many church corridors and lobbies, where parishioners can swipe a card and receive a printed receipt, which they can either save for the IRS or plunk into the collection basket with a flourish, so pew mates will know they’re not spiritual freeloaders.
Despite wanting to appeal to “Generation P,” many churches only accept debit cards to avoid getting ensnarled in congregant bankruptcies.