Credit card ousts the giving basket at US churches

WASHINGTON, Oct 6, 2006 (AFP) – The days of donating at church by dropping money into a basket may become a thing of the past if Marty Baker has his way. Baker, a pastor in the southern state of Georgia, has come up with a divine idea to raise money for the Lord — automated teller machines, or Giving Kiosks, that relieve worshippers of their tithe duty with the simple swipe of a credit card.

The kiosks have proved a hit at his Protestant congregation, Stevens Creek Community Church, and are beginning to pop up in other churches across the country eager to roll with the high-tech times.

“I think this technology really provides convenience to people,” the 45-year-old entrepreneur told AFP. “You see, our culture lives with a debit card in their hand and so when they come into our church we need to help them and provide them with the convenience so that they can serve the Lord.”

He said he came up with the idea for the teller machine several years ago when his church was trying to raise money for a new building.

“I started to examine my life and I looked at how I no longer carried cash or a checkbook but lived with a debit card in my hand,” he