Image: Square

Credit cards aren't just for store anymore. With fewer shoppers carrying cash these days, some non-profits have started embracing mobile-payment technology to raise funds.

This holiday season, bell ringers for the Salvation Army, which brings in almost $2 billion in revenue annually, began taking digital donations using Square, the New York Times reports. Ringers, equipped with Android smartphones donated by Sprint Nextel, will begin accepting Square in Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. The organization hopes Square will be more successful than its old credit-card terminal, which was last used nationally in 2009, after bringing in only $60,000. Cash donations, in contrast, totaled $148 million in 2010.

Image: Intuit

Earlier in the year, Intuit partnered up with Girl Scouts of Northern Ohio for the organization's 99th anniversary to collect credit-card payments for cookie sales with GoPayment, Intuit's mobile-payment app. In addition to its free reader, Intuit also reduced transaction fees for the scouts. In the past, troops had lost sales because fewer customers were carrying cash, the organization's business director said. The initiative paid off. By accepting credit cards, troops saw a 13 percent increase in cookie sales, with each scout selling an average of 20 more boxes, according to Intuit.

These non-profits have learned that if you're trying to raise funds, it's time to start taking plastic.

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