Church of England worshipers will now be able to give digital offerings

(Photo: World Council of Churches / Peter Williams)Traditional style offering at the 8th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Harare, Zimbabwe, Dec. 3-14 1998. Morning Worship: Offering for Hurricane Victims in Central America.

Passing the plate has taken a new format in the United Kingdom as worshippers will be able to use contactless cards to donate after the Church of England disclosed plans to digitize its collection plates.

As of August some 40 Anglican churches are expected to have hand-held terminals to process donations made using contactless cards, the Financial Times reports.

For centuries the Sunday ritual of passing a collection plate around the church has been a given part of the worship of Christians, but now it's going digital.

The Church of England, the national church in England and Wales, is to use a "tap and go" contactless payment system for donations, but the donors will not be able to give more than 30 British pounds ($39) using this method.

The aim is to offer the system to every diocese in England next year.

"We're aware that younger generations - and there are many people now who don't carry cash - want to give in different ways. Enabling them to give in a way that suits them is something we'd like to try, John Preston, national stewardship officer at the Church of England, told the Financial Times.

The newspaper reported that contactless use has rocketed over the past three years in the United Kingdom, as retailers, transport providers and consumers have adopted the payment system launched in 2007.

The UK Cards Association said that in 2016, 25 billion pounds was spent using contactless, more than double 11 billion pounds spent in the previous eight years combined.

The Charities Aid Foundation says that as a result, people are carrying less cash.

The Financial Times said the trial will examine the practicalities of different methods of use, from offering the card reader as an option alongside the collection plate to installing a terminal at the back of the church.

To simplify the process parishioners may be asked to choose between three common donation amounts, though they can give more by selecting "other" and tapping in an amount.

Rural churches outside mobile phone coverage will be unable to use the digital collection system.

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