When you first heard about the COVID-19 virus you probably thought it would never effect you, much less your job, local schools and now church services. Most churches are the same way when it comes to online giving solutions. They heard about a solution for their church members to donate online but thought it was something their church would never need or utilize...until now.
In this article we hope to provide a good basis about online payment processors so you and your church can make an informed decision regarding online contributions for your congregation.
There are basically three parts to an online payment process:
- AUTHORIZATION: Like a bank cashing a check from your account and verifying availability of funds, online payment processing verifies the available balance on a credit card before authorizing the payment or transaction.
- CAPTURE: Is the second step in the process of how the transaction is being handled. Donations can happen in person using a credit card reader or online by the individual entering their credit card or banking information on a website or payment gateway. During the capture process, the bank places a hold on the cardholders funds.
- SETTLEMENT: Is the final step of the process and is when a payment network sends the funds from the contributor to the church’s bank account. Depending on the banks involved this process is usually within a few days from the actual transaction date.
There are several essentials to look for when searching for the right payment processor.
PCI-DSS COMPLIANT: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a set of requirements for companies that accept, process and in some cases store credit card information in order to verify the security of the data collected by the organization.
It gives contributors assurance that their transactions are being handled in a secure manner based on how donations are accepted.
SECURE DATA: To minimize security risks with cardholder data, make sure the company that provides your payment gateway is properly storing and managing sensitive customer information in a secure manner. This is an extra layer of protection for the donors, especially if they can create a profile or have entered their data for recurring donations. This would also apply to any church software that stores personal and sensitive financial data of members.
FRAUD PREVENTION: This is not a typical issue for churches receiving donations. This is again an added level of security used by the payment processor to verify the card information matches the cardholder. A company that with fraud filters in place will look for mis-match information as well as fund availability or spending thresholds.
What is the cost For Online Giving Solution? The average credit card processing fee is between 2.4% and 3.5% plus an additional .10 to .30 cents for each transaction. Sometime there is also a per month fee associated with maintaining the account that averages about $25 dollars. A 100 member church with annual online contributions of $100k could have a total annual cost between $3,740 - $4,840 dollars.
- Annual Processing Fees between $2,400 - $3,500
- Monthly maintenance fees totaling $300 each year.
- Per transaction fees based 100 members weekly giving $1,040
The least expensive solution we've seen is Authorize.net https://www.authorize.net/payments/echeck.html They have a simple solution which is for E-check only processing. Donors can enter their bank account and routing numbers from their own checks to make donations to the church.
- No Setup Fee.
- Per Transaction Fee of .75%
- Monthly Gateway Fee $25 dollars. This allows donation link to be emailed or added to your website.
Below are other costs by payment processors.
Square https://squareup.com/us/en 2.9% + $0.30
PayPal https://www.paypal.com/us/non-profit/fundraising/fundraising-online 2.2% + $0.30
Tith.ly https://get.tithe.ly/pricing 2.9% + $0.30
Pushpay https://pushpay.com/pricing/ Contact 844-7874 for pricing
Bluepay https://www.bluepay.com/ Contact 866-292-5032 for pricing
The State Convention of Baptists in Ohio exists to strengthen churches and start churches. Click here to see how your church can serve your community during this virus outbreak.