Norwich tech firm helps Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal go contactless

Norwich tech firm Thyngs has created an app to help people donate to the Royal Birtish Legion's Popp

Norwich tech firm Thyngs has created an app to help people donate to the Royal Birtish Legion's Poppy Appeal via their smartphones. - Credit: Thyngs

Steeped in tradition, the Poppy Appeal has been around for the best part of a century, raising funds in memory of fallen soldiers.

But as we move towards a cashless society, rattling tins on the street may not be as effective as it once was.

That's why an East Anglian businessman has created a contactless donation system in partnership with the Royal British Legion.

Entrepreneur Neil Garner, vice-chairman of the Tech East campaign, has teamed up with payment processing firm Worldpay and bank Natwest, as well as the charity, to allow people to give to the appeal via their smartphones or contactless bank card.

Norwich-based tech start-up Thyngs, of which Mr Garner is chief executive, has attached stickers to collection tins which allow someone to access a donation page at a tap of their smartphone as part of a trial taking place across 13 NatWest branches.

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With many people no longer carrying cash, two new collection tins have been adapted to allow people to pick up their poppy and donate with a wave of their contactless card or using their mobile phone. The move will also allow the Royal British Legion to collect gift aid, making sure they get the most from each donation.

Mr Garner, chief executive at Thyngs, said: 'It is a privilege to support the Royal British Legion's 2016 Poppy Appeal in this partnership by transforming the donation tins and poppy trays into interactive 'thyngs'.

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'There's nothing simpler than tapping the poppy design to connect to a compelling digital experience to find out more, get in touch, or donate with gift aid. Quite simply better than cash in every way.'

If the trial is successful, the technology could be rolled out across the country for next year's Poppy Appeal and made available to other charities.

Mobile payments are increasingly taking the place of cash, and a survey by accountancy firm Sage has found using cash could be costing small and medium-sized businesses up to £9.4bn a year across the country.

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