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Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Codes promote digital donations

A lack of change in their pockets doesn’t have to stop Denton County shoppers from giving to the Salvation Army this year.

A new initiative launching this year will allow people to use their smartphones to scan Quick Response, or QR, codes to donate $5 or $10 to the charity.

“Fewer and fewer people are carrying cash,” Salvation Army spokesman Pat Patey said. “We’re just not going to be able to collect anything if we don’t figure a way to do it.”

To accommodate those who are not carrying pockets full of change to drop in the 400 red kettles across Denton, Tarrant, Collin, Dallas and Ellis counties, Patey said, there is a section of the sign at each location where a QR code appears. Those with smartphones can use an app to scan the code and make a donation.

“The expense comes up on your phone bill. It’s quick and easy, Patey said. “Putting that on our 400 locations was no more an expense then printing up 400 signs.”

He recalled three years ago when the organization tested using credit card scanners for donations at a dozen locations.

“We never followed through,” Patey said, adding that there were several drawbacks to that system.

Credit card machines had to be leased or purchased and the bell ringers had to be trained to operate and service the machines.

“And some donors may not have trusted it,” Patey said.

The beauty of the QR code system, he said, is that everyone uses his or her own cellphone to make a donation.

There isn’t much information on how successful this initiative has been, Patey said. Most of the kettles went out on Black Friday, so he is working on getting hard data and anecdotal data from bell ringers.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is