As more organisations around the globe engage with the latest fintech trend, Scotland’s National Trust has also taken steps to endorse the cashless craze, by embedding contactless technology into replicas of two prominent artefacts. 

In an attempt to water down the practice of cash donations at two distinguished historic locations, the National Trust has embedded the technology into a bust of Robert Burns placed at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayrshire, and another in a historical painting of Colonel William Gordon found at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire. 

Scotland’s National Trust have innovatively merged the old with the new; the 200-year-old Burns bust is now displayed with a handy accessory, quite literally. A hand has been designed with in-built contactless technology created on a pedestal placed next to the artefact, encouraging visitors to make donations without the use of coins or notes. 

In Aberdeenshire, the 18th Century painting by Pompeo Batoni has been updated to display the goddess Roma holding a contactless card, while Colonel Gordon offers a contactless reader device in hand. 

Although the project may have been deemed offensive by Scottish heritage devotees, arguing that it makes a mockery of invaluable artefacts, the Trust collaborated with Visa and the Bank of Scotland to launch this idea, claiming it was a vital upgrade intended to freeze the practice of cash donations being made.  

Chief executive Simon Skinner stated that “like all charities, we face a significant fundraising challenge as cash donations have fallen sharply in recent years. This initiative could not come at a more crucial time and will enable us to accept contactless donations at our sites for the first time.”

The creative project comes at a time when several other charities are sanctioning cashless donations. In September 2016, a trial was launched amongst 11 leading charities in the UK utilising portable payment boxes designed to accept both Chip and PIN and contactless donations, including those made by mobile devices. 

Albeit a short trial, it was reported only a few months later at the beginning of 2017, that the initiative was well-received by the public, with the involved charities reeling in over £20,000 worth of contributions.