Are you looking for an easier way to accept church donations?
Whether you want to process credit card, debit card or check payments online or in person there are a few points you’ll want to consider.
First, you’ll need to consider the rates and fees associated with setting up a merchant account, including costs for online processing and a recurring billing system.
Next comes how you will process payments:
- in person with a credit card machine
- through your website directly
- or by using a virtual terminal
Finally it comes down to finding the right merchant account provider for your needs.
Merchant account rates and fees
When it comes to processing payments there are rates and fees that will apply to your merchant account.
Some are processing fees (based on the dollar amount and number of transactions), while others are monthly fees (such as gateway fees, customer services fees, monthly minimum fees).
So what should you look for?
First, make sure the merchant account provider discloses ALL the processing fees (including any possible surcharges) that will apply to your account.
Next, ask for a breakdown of all monthly fees.
Some of these might include:
- Gateway fee
- Recurring billing fee
- Customer service/Statement fee
- Monthly minimum fee
- Annual fee
- PCI compliance fee
Of these, the monthly minimum is probably the most confusing. It will apply to accounts that have a low monthly volume — you can think of it as an additional surcharge added to your processing fees for not having enough volume to meet the minimum.
Finally, make sure you ask about (and avoid) and early termination fees.
Next, when it comes to setting up automatic recurring billing or to accept credit cards through your website there are a few points you will need to consider…
How to process payments online
Accepting credit cards online involves three components:
- Your website (or virtual terminal)
- A “gateway”
- A merchant account (to process Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, debit cards and to process checks)
There are a number of gateways available to you.
One recommended solution is authorize.net, since it integrates seamlessly with thousands of software solutions and website “back-end” designs.
Finally, your merchant account allows you to process credit cards, debit cards and checks through your website (or through a virtual terminal). Think of the merchant account as the link between your “gateway” and your bank account.
You can visualize the system this way:
Website >> Gateway >> Merchant Account >> Bank Account
All merchant account providers can set you up with the gateway as well.
Just be sure BEFORE you sign up with a company that their gateway will work with your website.
Church donations simplified
The fact remains that most people want to make contributions on a regular basis that fits their monthly budget.
Unfortunately, very few churches have a system in place as a way for setting up a conscientious giving and donation program.
By using a merchant account with “recurring billing” you will have an automatic system for your church to receive funds without creating any extra work for your staff.
Additionally, your congregation has an easy way to donate to their church on a consistent monthly basis.
I hope you found this information helpful. Please feel free to share your comments below.
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