Are you looking for an easier way to accept donations for your church?
Whether you would like to set up a planned giving program (with monthly recurring billing) or you simply want to take credit cards at church functions, there are a few points to keep in mind.
First, processing rates are based on:
- how you accept payments (online, face to face)
- type of card (rewards or corporate cards)
Unfortunately, at this time there are no “price breaks” that apply for churches or non-profit organizations (the base rates are determined by Visa and MasterCard).
However, here are a few ways to make it more affordable for your organization…
How to accept credit cards for your church
If you want to accept credit cards “face to face” you’ll need a credit card terminal of some type. The good news is that processing rates for “swiping” a card will be lower than accepting payments online.
So that helps.
But if you want to use a wireless terminal (and perhaps your cell phone) additional monthly fees may apply (i.e. wireless access fee, and perhaps an additional transaction charge).
However, many processing companies offer “free equipment” programs on credit card terminals and POS systems, so you won’t have to buy a machine. The key? To make sure that your terminal really is “free” be sure to ask about:
- there is no early termination fee
- no application fee
- no set up fee
- no credit card terminal lease
- make sure your rates are competitive
In other words, some companies charge customers more money (thru higher processing charges, etc.) in order to pay for the terminal.
So you’ll want to make sure that no additional hidden charges apply.
What about how to accept donations online?
How to process payments online
When it comes to accepting credit cards online (and setting up recurring billing) there are 2 or 3 components that need to work together:
- merchant account
- your website (optional)
The merchant account piece is required to accept Visa, MasterCard, etc. and have the money automatically deposited into your bank account.
So what is a “gateway?”
It’s a term that describes the “connection” between your website and merchant account (i.e. “buy now” and “donate” buttons, etc.) or processing payments online directly through a “virtual terminal.”
Besides slightly higher processing fees over face to face rates, here are some additional charges that may apply to your account:
- monthly gateway fee
- additional gateway transaction charge
- recurring billing monthly fee
- higher processing fee
- SSL certificate
You may also need shopping cart software (or a virtual system) to integrate the gateway with your website.
I know it seems a bit complicated… and that’s because it is, especially when it comes to online set ups because it requires a little bit of technical knowledge.
And as we mentioned earlier, you should avoid:
- set up fees
- programming fees
- early termination charges
Finally, make sure you choose a company that provides customer service to help you get all of this set up at an affordable price.
I hope you found this information helpful. Please feel free to share your comments below.
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