Salvation Army now takes kindness in plastic in select cities

Salvation ArmyYou don't have to fumble for change or apologize for not carrying cash the next time you pass by that friendly Salvation Army guy outside your favorite store.

Just use plastic.

That iconic red kettle, which relies on kind cash and holiday spirit, is getting a makeover in 30 cities to ring in donations through debit and credit cards. The "plastic" kettles are a result of fewer shoppers carrying cash, according to MSNBC.

True, it takes a toll on the quaintness of hearing the jingling coins in the kettle, but It's a smart move, given the changing times for the most recognizable charity campaign in America. Last year, despite the economy, the campaign raised more than $130 million nationwide, a new record, according to the Salvation Army.

In Colorado Springs -- one of two markets where the credit machines debut in 2008 -- funds raised soared to $64,000, an 11 percent jump compared to the previous year. About $5,000 of the increase was from donors using plastic, MSNBC reported.

"I kinda feel sad that the kettles are taking credit cards," said Britt Beemer, a consumer expert and chairman of America's Research Group, in a phone interview. "But so many people today live or die with credit cards, so I think this is really the way to go."

The credit kettles look similar to their cash counterpart, except, for a wireless card reader next to it resembling the kind you use at gas station to pay for a fill up. It even coughs up receipts for the kettle and for your records.

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