Cash or Credit? Salvation Army Kettles Take Plastic

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Instead of the sound of coins dropping in Salvation Army buckets this holiday, donors may hear the sound of receipts printing.

The charity is now accepting plastic-- fitting some of its famous red kettles with credit and debit card machines.

"Slowly we're becoming a cashless society, and that leaves the bell-ringer standing," said Major James Sullivan of the Salvation Army. "So we want to make sure that the Salvation Army doesn't get left standing."

The Salvation Army tested the credit-ready kettles in Dallas and Colorado Springs last year. This holiday season, they'll put the new kettles in more than 120 cities.

"I've seen how much they need... I've seen them doing the food baskets," said charity volunteer Francine Saunders. "I've seen what these people were getting. I mean, they need it, they really need it."

The new system will also mean lighter kettles for bellringers. The so-called "plastic kettles" don't look different from the signature kettles, but have wireless card readers next to them, similar to those seen at gas stations.

*Originally Published December 2, 2009

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