The Impact of Cashless Payment Options on Face-to-Face Fundraising

Last registered on June 01, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

The Impact of Cashless Payment Options on Face-to-Face Fundraising
Initial registration date
May 31, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 01, 2021, 10:27 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Cashless payments are ubiquitous, but not for all kinds of economic transactions. When people are asked face-to-face to contribute to charity, presenting a cashless payment option (CPO) may deter individuals from donating. To investigate whether this is a common phenomenon, we conduct a field experiment in the context of an art exhibition at a German university. After taking a guided tour, visitors are asked to fill out a feedback survey and to support the exhibition financially. As part of a 2x2 design, we randomly manipulate the opportunity to donate, either offering the CPO or not. To check whether the findings are special to donations, we additionally implement two pay-what-you-want (PWYW) treatment conditions (with and without CPO) by asking to compensate for the service of the guided tour. In a complementary survey experiment, we manipulate a charitable giving context similar to the one investigated in our field experiment. Contrary to previous considerations, we test whether a CPO might increase charitable donations by taking away the excuse of not having cash available and, hence, raising social pressure.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Chadi, Adrian. 2021. "The Impact of Cashless Payment Options on Face-to-Face Fundraising." AEA RCT Registry. June 01.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Payment choice as well as intensive margin and extensive margin of contributions (study 1), perceived social appropriateness of behavior (study 2)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
CPO offered to visitors of a guided tour or not & request to donate or pay-what-you-want (study 1), Hypothetical scenarios in which visitors of a guided tour are offered a CPO or not (study 2)
Experimental Design Details
In study 1, we identify the implications of offering a CPO for visitors’ contributions (extensive and intensive margin) across charitable giving contexts. Regarding the latter, we modify the framing from donation to pay-what-you-want context, which allows us to inspect the role of norms, assuming that adoption of modern payment technologies depends on whether the technology is more or less commonly used in related contexts. To deeper analyze mechanisms behind individual choices, we make use of additional survey data to examine the effects of a CPO on the perceived need for help and satisfaction with the fundraiser. Furthermore, the survey data allow distinguishing between individuals who should be more or less affected in their decision-making by a CPO given their preferences for paying with cash or by card.
In study 2, we implement two hypothetical scenarios similar to the setting of study 1. Survey participants have to judge the social appropriateness of refusing to donate given five potential excuses ― with not having cash available as one of them. This allows us to test whether the presence of a CPO has an impact on the psychological pressure to give. Furthermore, additional survey data allow distinguishing between individuals who should be more or less affected in their perceptions of CPO. This could be a particular issue for self-employed individuals who had to bear costs by potentially being forced to offer CPO due to the restrictions on cash payments in June of 2021 when the survey is scheduled to be conducted.
Randomization Method
Die (study 1), computer (study 2)
Randomization Unit
Group of visitors attending a tour (study 1), individual survey participant (study 2)
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Study 1: Treatments clustered at the group level with 50+ (group) clusters
Study 2: Treatments not clustered
Sample size: planned number of observations
600+ (study 1), 1200+ (study 2)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
4 treatment conditions with 150+ individual visitors each (study 1), 2 treatment conditions with 600+ survey participants each (study 2)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Ethics committee Trier University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials