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Salvation Army Red Kettles Now Take Apple, Google Pay

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Because of debit cards, many of us don't have cash in our wallets these days.

But not to worry – now, making a donation to the Salvation Army on the street or at the mall is as easy as grabbing your cell phone.

The small ringing bell, the red kettle, and the warm greetings are traditional and familiar sights and sounds of the holidays.

"I just think that the Salvation Army is a wonderful place to donate to during the holidays," one woman said.

But a new feature this year is very attractive to Elizabeth Nettleship.

"I never carry cash, so this is a great idea," she said.

The Salvation Army has made a concession to an increasingly cashless world.

"The Apple Pay for the Salvation Army is really cool," Nettleship said.

That's right, Apple Pay and Google Pay are accepted right at the old red kettle.

"They're working downtown Chicago and it's, 'Hey, I don't have cash, but I've got my Apple Pay and I can do this right here," said Salvation Army Major Amos Sheils. "Now it makes it really, really easy for them."

You can aim the camera phone at a sticker on the sign over the kettle, and make the donation electronically.

And as more and more businesses go cashless, and consumers are more likely these days to pay with a debit card, a charity born 154 years ago now has a high tech channel for donations.

The Salvation Army collects a total of 70 percent of its donations in November and December.

"We just need to be kind of catching up and moving along with technology, so we can offer hope and resources to people that are in need," Sheils said.

Nettleship said she had wanted to donate, and thanks to the new technological options, now she can.

"It's really cool," she said.

Now to be clear, the Salvation Army still accepts donations the old-fashioned way. Cash and coins are still welcome at the old red kettles.

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