PBS adopts Apple Pay, enabling one-click donations for stations

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PBS member stations are among nonprofits nationwide that can now accept donations through Apple Pay.

It’s the first one-click donation option for PBS and its member stations, PBS Chief Digital and Marketing Officer Ira Rubenstein said in an interview. “It’s the first of what I hope will be more one-click options,” he said.

Apple Pay for Donations went live Nov. 14. It allows users to make contributions to select nonprofits online or on mobile devices using a payment card linked to an iTunes Store account.

PBS has been “discussing this possibility” with Apple for two years, Rubenstein told general managers in an email last week.

Previously Apple Pay was used only on purchase transactions for goods and services. Apple had to waive a rule that banned iOS apps from collecting funds for charities or fundraisers through Apple Pay.

Apple Pay provides “an easy and seamless way for your supporters to donate instantly to your station,” Rubenstein said in the email. Donors don’t need to provide billing or contact information. Transaction fees are similar to those of credit cards, with no additional fees for Apple. Member stations will have access to donor data.

PBS is working to integrate Apple Pay into its Passport video-on-demand platform and other station-branded donation forms, Rubenstein told Current.

Stations are also working to link into the Apple Pay system. Rubenstein said that because each stations uses its own donation forms, the process could take a while. PBS will launch an integration early next year that any station will be able to use.

WNET in New York City announced last week that it’s ready to take donations. “Apple Pay will allow donors to make gifts to the station with the touch of a finger with Touch ID,” it said.

Rubenstein said the next step is bringing Apple Pay onto OTT platforms such as Roku and Apple TV, “making it easy to support local stations in this digital distribution era, while also tying stations to content.”

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