Red Kettle campaign returns with new smart pay option

A Salvation Army donation kettle, Photo Date: Dec 14, 2013 / Cropped Photo: The Salvation Army / Flickr / (MGN)

Those iconic Red Kettles that are a sure sign of the holiday season have returned - but with a new hi-tech option this year.

The Salvation Army's Red Kettle returned Friday, and for the first time, some locations will offer "Kettle Pay."

Organizers say the Salvation Army has placed smart chips and QR codes on Red Kettle signs across the Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties, allowing shoppers to simply "bump" or scan their phones to make a digital donation. These donations can be made through Apple Pay or Google Pay.

The Salvation Army says the move is in response to the country becoming an increasingly "cashless" society.

Now in its 129th year, The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign is one of the oldest and largest charitable campaigns in the world. Organizers say money goes to provide toys, clothes, and food for those in need during the Christmas season.

Donations are accepted at any of the more than 25,000 traditional Red Kettles found on street corners and in front of stores, online at, or on your phone by texting KETTLE to 91999.