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Plans to dispense some charity at UK cashpoints

People will be asked to make a small donation to charity every time they take money out of a cash machine in a scheme that ministers are proposing after copying the idea from Colombia.

Customers would also be offered the chance to “round up” their bill in shops and restaurants to the nearest pound — with the difference going to good causes as part of the standard chip-and-pin payment process.

Ministers believe many consumers would not consciously reject giving small one-off amounts to charity and that the “pennies” generated would add up to significant sums every year.

Under the Colombian scheme, which raises $22,000 (£14,300) a month, bank customers are asked to choose from making a donation of 50 cents, $1, $7.50 or nothing. Donors are then prompted into giving to a choice of charities: homelessness, a children's foundation, or the children of wounded and dead military personnel.

Ministers may meet resistance from banks concerned about a backlash from consumers if they are asked for money in every transaction.

Among other proposals contained in the Government's Green Paper on Giving, are Plans to allow charitable giving when filling in tax returns, establishing an eBay-style volunteering site where people can both get help and offer their time, and plans for the UK's first charity shopping search engine.

Belfast Telegraph