Is Your Church Getting Fair Credit Card Payment Processing Rates?
As your church experiences steady growth and more donors, you as a leader grow with them. With time, you may find that the old ways of handling financial transactions do not work any longer or serve your greater purpose. One of these areas may be in your financial transactions. And if you’re not getting fair credit card payment processing rates, your ministry is losing money.
When most of the donations made to your church are with a debit/credit card or ACH (bank transfer), you need to find the best merchant processing experts to handle those transactions.
In this e-book, we cover two fundamental things:
1. How credit card processing works
2. What to look for when selecting a merchant processing provider
We have put together this guide hoping that your church administration and management teams will benefit from the wealth of information. Most importantly, to help you find the perfect online giving provider—the one that ensures your donations are:
- Going further and reaching more people.
- Expanding your reach as a nonprofit or church.
- Targeting your missions exactly as intended.
- Saving you banking fees.
Remember, the ideal online giving provider’s services should also boost the quality of life of your donors.
Your donors are the lifeblood of your ministry. They should be happy to give every time. Practically, they should be satisfied with your handling of their online transactions and donation processes.
To ensure their satisfaction, a digital church giving platform is essential. Read on to find out what to look for when selecting the best church giving platform.
Online Giving Statistics
In its 2020 Charitable Giving Report, the Blackbaud Institute reported on a particularly tough year for nonprofits.
Still, it found that since the pandemic, online giving made it possible for churches to continue meeting their mission goals. There was a dramatic shift to digital giving, as the numbers below show:
Check Out These Key Giving Trends:
- Online giving grew in 2020 by nearly 21%.
- In 2020,13% of the nation’s church fundraising came from online donations.
- Mobile devices were used for 30% of all online gifts.
- Across the country, nonprofits of all sizes experienced lows in charitable giving in April, May, and June. However, the second half of the year took a turn when online giving statistics shot back up.
The statistics above were most likely because the pandemic closed down a lot of in-person activities. Churches had to find ways to pivot, and it took a few weeks to a few months for each to become used to alternative ways of communicating with their congregation.
Remember that many members, even those on management boards, had to learn to operate digital tools and shift their perspective on the possibilities for growing donors and accommodating online donations.
General Trends and Statistics
Now let’s look at some more general online trends and statistics for digital giving:
- Nearly half of all donations given to churches are made with a debit or credit card.
- 80% of people who give to their church have zero credit balances. These are people with very good credit and always pay off the balance each month.
- 60% of parishioners are willing to donate money to their church electronically. No one likes to bother with cash anymore. Electronic payments are quicker and easier. Plus, donors have a clear record of each transaction.
- Tithers usually make up about only 10%–25% percent of an average congregation. With automatic deductions made to a donor’s credit card, tithers are much easier. Parishioners are more likely to set up tithing with an online donation solution.
- Churches that have adopted online tithing methods have increased their overall donations by 32%. And this is just the beginning. As the pandemic drags on, more people are expected to set up tithers rather than donating manually each week.
- Currently, only about 3%–5% of Americans who donate to their local church do so through regular tithing and 80% of Americans who give only give about 2% of their household income.
Setting up an online tithing program for your parishioners will encourage more people to give regularly. If they are already accustomed to automatic payments, then automatic tithing will make sense to them. Plus, each payment is documented on their credit card statement so they can also reap tax-deductible benefits.
Online Transactions Make Life Easier
Online shopping and electronic banking are rapidly becoming the norm. It’s not just a “trend” anymore. If you as church leaders and pastors learn how to use modern technology to advance the church missions, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
Never forget that it’s those minor changes to your methods that can be your the best decisions you ever made — or your deepest regrets.
Now, we understand that not everyone who is highly trained in Bible and spiritual growth is necessarily tech-savvy.
This is why we at DonorWerx want to teach you how to grow by maximizing the tools at your disposal. We know that if your church is being consistent in your message and outreach, then people will want to support you. They will be eager to give and give again.
At DonorWerx, we help handle your online and mobile donations, so that you can focus on your spiritual work and growing donors. We develop software that makes it easy for you to encourage giving in the church: one-click solutions, online databases for management, and easy-to-share giving options for your members.
Online Partners for Donation Processing
Paying online is quick and easy for the consumer, but to move transactions smoothly, most companies rely on a third party. They make sure financial transactions flow. They ensure efficiency and accuracy. This service then requires a processing fee.
If you choose a different, free solution, it may be useful to a certain extent. But as your church grows, as the donations grow, and as you continue to manage a growing number of donors, you will need to upgrade your church’s digital services as well.
When choosing an online donation provider, consider the quality of their offers. If you can offer your donors an exceptional experience when processing donations, then any fees you incur with your online partners could be well worth it.
The most important consideration is that the service provider fills your needs. Because of the culture of donations and tithings to the church, the partner you choose should ideally have some knowledge of giving culture in the church.
Here are some questions to ask when choosing the perfect partner:
- Is your provider supplying the type of service you need?
- Are you getting your money’s worth?
- Are you happy with the tech support and customer service they provide?
- How good is their customer service? Can you get a hold of them when you need them, even if it’s in the middle of the night
- Are your payments deposited into your church’s bank account on time?
- Do the amounts deposited match your records?
- Does the online donation provider supply you with updated records of all transactions?
Specific Questions to Ask Regarding Fees
- Does the company charge a monthly fee?
- Are the processing fees reasonable?
- Does the company offer any types of discounts, like volume-based or loyalty bonuses?
- What online donation tools does the company offer? Only on the internet? Cell phones? Text donations? Do they have a kiosk? Can people donate manually?
- Will your church have to sign a long-term contract?
- Can the online giving software be integrated with the existing management software your church is already using?
- How easy is bank reconciliation? Does the church need to hire an accountant to make sense of the bank statements?
- Can recurring donations be set up? How easy is it to set up? Can donors set it up themselves or will a highly trained technician be required? How much will that cost?
- Is the processing fee paid for by the church or can donors choose to cover these costs?
- What types of customer support does the company provide? Can they be reached on the phone? Do they have live chat? Can the church contact them through email? Are they active on social media? If so, on which social media sites can they be contacted?
Understanding Processing Fees
To help you understand the costs (and benefits) of online donation systems, we’ll take a closer look at processing fees, including:
- What is a processing fee?
- How much does it cost to use DonorWerx?
- Why does DonorWerx require a fee?
- What is the best online giving provider for your church?
What Is a Processing Fee?
A processing fee is just what it sounds like — a fee charged for processing the transaction. This is done behind the scenes, so most consumers never give it a second thought, unless it is shown to them upfront, like at an ATM, for example. When you go to an ATM, you will get a message saying: “There is a processing fee of $1.50–$3.50 (depending on the vendor) on top of whatever your bank charges. Do you wish to continue?” You either accept the extra charges or cancel the transaction.
The same applies when you use your debit or credit card online or anywhere else, except you are not usually told about the fees ahead of the transaction. You only see them on your bank statement or credit card statement, and maybe not even then. The processing fee is not normally itemized on your receipt.
In the case of online donations, a processing fee still needs to be paid. Typically, your donors will be told about the fee before they make a donation. And, as their church leaders, you must make sure that they are aware of any fees incurred before sending their gift.
Some donors, if aware of the processing fees, will even choose to give slightly more than promised, to cover the fees for you. You want to encourage giving in a way that benefits the mission projects most.
The first step in understanding processing fees is noting the four companies involved during online transactions:
- The credit card association
- The donor’s issuing bank
- The payment gateway
- The online donation and mobile giving software company
Now let’s look at what each business does and how it is involved in the process.
Credit Card Associations
The credit card associations provide consumers with actual credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Generally speaking, credit card associations are the ones in charge of the entire operation. They create the rule book everybody else involved must follow. They set the terms, rates, conditions, etc.
This is the entity that actually issues the card. It serves as the middleman between you and the credit card association. It could be your own personal bank or credit union, or another bank or credit union willing to extend you credit. The issuing bank maintains your credit account and credit limit and accepts payments from you to pay off the debt. In other words, you never make a credit card payment directly to Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. You make the payment to the issuing bank, and the issuing bank then pays the credit card association its share of the processing fee.
The actual payment goes to your issuing bank because they are the ones extending you the credit. But the credit card association needs a cut of the pie; otherwise, why would they let anyone have a card at all? The credit card association’s share is very small because they have so many customers all over the world. A small fraction of a cent from every Visa card issued in the world adds up to billions of dollars a year.
Online transactions must go through a payment gateway. Just as Visa or MasterCard do not directly collect money from the store where you purchased your groceries, your issuing bank does not directly collect money from the merchants you use online. You may already be familiar with some of these payment gateways. The most common online payment gateways are Stripe, CardConnect, Paypal, and Braintree. They will process the donation, secure data from you and your parishioners, and send the request to your issuing bank for payment (approval) or denial. Then, the money is sent off to the church account set up to receive payments through this method.
Online Donations and Mobile Giving Software
While virtual money seems to float around the internet effortlessly, it is the software that makes it all happen. At DonorWerx, we work with a trusted payment gateway to optimize your online receiving experience, increase your donations, support the mission of your church, and advance your church missions.
Two Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Your Online Payments Partner
Choosing an online provider is no small task. You must trust your provider enough to entrust them with the gifts of the church. Handling your donors’ contributions wisely and responsibly is something that you want your church to be known for.
As long as you can provide trustworthy services to your donors, they will be happy to help you further your cause.
There are two main things to consider before deciding on your online giving partner:
1. Ease of Use
The mobile software tools at your disposal should be easy to use. No frustrating systems, no complicated processes. It must be user-friendly — perhaps even fun! Think about those in your congregation who are still learning about new technology. Put yourself in their place. Would they be willing to advance to such a system for their monthly tithes?
2. A Seamless Process
You may have other integrations in use for your church. Look for the provider that can accommodate hosting and collaborating with your other platforms as well. Think of all the tools you use as part of a well-oiled machine. As manager or captain of this “ship,” all parts must be in sync and functioning properly.
This Is Our Promise to You:
DonorWerx is a trusted merchant processing expert, known and valued in the church and nonprofit world. Our partnership with the leading credit card processing company, Clearent, means we can offer the best services available for churches online today.
We will deliver innovative, full-service payment solutions, credit card processing with no hidden fees, fast funding, and ultimate visibility into your transaction data.
With high-tech online donation tools and an easy-to-use giving app to spark generosity, we help your nonprofit ministry succeed with your mission. We’re excited to help your church reduce credit card processing fees and greatly increase online giving.
Here’s What You Can Expect:
- No more waiting several days for bank transactions. Get your donations as soon as the next business day with Next Day Funding.
- Interactive online reporting allows you to keep track of donors and their gifts.
- Access to your account 24/7 — a good setup for your church management teams.
- No hidden fees. (We’ll cover everything you can expect in the next pages of this e-book.)
- Easy-to-read monthly statements.
Do More with DonorWerx
Hopefully, you are now fully convinced that to thrive as a church, you must integrate online solutions for your donors.
Still, that’s a lot to manage, and a lot of tech to learn.
The other secret to thriving as an entity is outsourcing.
Let others who know your scope of responsibility manage the tasks that are time-consuming — so that you are free to focus on what you do best: leading your flock spiritually. Growing the donors. Teaching them Bible principles. Studying and living the faith. These things are all your duty as pastors, and nobody will fault you for focusing on these important ministries.
At DonorWerx, you don’t just get a slick online interface. You have the luxury of a technological solution that meets all your needs and a team that understands your mission as pastors.
Here is a small sampling of what you can look forward to:
- One-time online giving forms for donors who aren’t yet committed to tithing.
- Mobile giving apps for donating from anywhere in the world, at any time.
- Text giving options for people who prefer SMS solutions.
- Kiosk donation options.
- Transaction recordings for accurate record-keeping.
- Recurring giving tracking and options. Donors decide how much to give, when to give, and how often they want to donate.
- In-depth reports on all account activities.
- Superior customer service.
- Smooth cloud software integration.
- Steady improvements and automatic updates.
… Plus a lot more!
The Step-by-Step Process, Made Simple!
This is standard pricing as set by the card association. It is simple and straightforward, although it may seem a bit complicated on the surface. Here is a practical example of what this means to your church:
Someone makes a donation to your church of $100 using a debit or credit card.
The processing fee for this debit card transaction is $3.20 (2.9% + $0.30).
The donor can cover the processing fee and pay $103.20 to the credit card company. Here, your church will receive an even $100.
If the donor does not wish to cover the processing fee, then the total deducted from the donor’s account will be $100, the processing fee will be deducted from this total, and the remaining $96.80 will go to your church.
With DonorWerx software, you can give your donors the option of covering the processing fee at the time of the online donation. They can do this with the simple press of a button. Some online giving providers don’t offer this simple option. Some systems require donors to cover this fee manually. It is important for your church to know how the system works from the donor’s point of view. Remember, the simpler the system, the more likely parishioners will be to use the online donation option.
Our Unique Payment Plan System
When it comes to fees for online giving providers, many charge monthly fees. When you use one of these services, you must pay that monthly fee, even if no one in your church makes an online donation.
This is not the case with DonorWerx. You never pay a monthly fee for using our service. As stated earlier, there are no monthly fees and no contracts, and you are free to cancel at any time. No questions asked.
How can we afford to do this? It’s quite simple, really. At DonorWerx, we operate with what is called a pay-as-you-go system. This means that you only pay for services you actually receive. When there aren’t any transactions to process, you don’t pay.
This type of pay-per-use charging is not unique to us, and not unique to the online world, either. Some brick-and-mortar businesses have operated in this way for many years. Utility companies (water, gas, and electric), cell phone carriers, and email service providers, for example, offer similar payment options for their users. Customers only pay for what they use.
To accomplish this, we have come up with a simple, yet comprehensive, low-priced usage fee solution that will do three important things for your church:
- Process donations made by your parishioners.
- Create a secure product that will never lose or leak sensitive client data.
- Continually create, update, and develop innovative technology to keep you a cut above the competition.
What Does Each of These Points Mean to Your Church?
1. Process Donations Made by Your Parishioners
Even though the giving process is quick and easy on the user end of the deal, it all looks quite different from the other end. A lot of complicated grunt work goes on behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly on the surface.
In the simplest terms, this is what happens on the other side of the screen when a donation is made:
- Giver pledges an amount to donate – either a one-time donation or a recurring monthly payment.
- The online donation and mobile giving software records the transaction and puts in a request to the payment gateway.
- The payment gateway receives the request and puts in a request to the card-issuing bank.
- The card issuing bank approves the charge.
- The money is sent to the church’s bank account on record.
This process of making a donation online to your church costs money. Every company involved along the way needs a piece of the pie. As an online giving and mobile donation software provider, we cannot avoid these charges. We incur a fee every time we deliver a donation from the donor to your church.
2. Create a Secure Product That Will Never Lose or Leak Sensitive Client Data
When a consumer makes a donation (or any type of purchase) online, they want a full guarantee that any information they provide will be kept safe and secure. Criminal hackers lurk in every corner of the internet, just waiting for a chance to steal debit or credit card information or entire personal identities. It is essential for every vendor online, us included, to ensure total security.
We cannot allow even one little piece of data to slip through the cracks. In order to do this, we have created a high-tech proprietary security system and developed a top-notch team of professionals that ensure all donations made to your church are as secure as possible.
3. Continually Create, Update, and Develop Innovative Technology to Keep You a Cut Above the Competition
Today’s world of high-speed internet and instant everything has made people come to expect to pay with the touch of a pad. Tapping your card on a POS machine is so much faster and easier than digging through your wallet or purse for some cash. And with top security password-protected payment methods, your credit card information can be securely stored on your favorite shopping or donation sites for instant payment. Regardless of where or what they buy, consumers expect a smooth, hassle-free experience.
Cost to Use Online Donation and Mobile Giving Software from DonorWerx:
- 2.9% + $0.30 per credit/debit card transaction
- 1.0% + $0.30 per ACH/bank transaction
Because it has become such a common practice, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal on the surface. When you use the best online donation and giving service provider, it’s not a big deal for your church. It is extremely important, but there isn’t anything you need to worry about on your end. We guarantee the privacy of donors remains safe and secure at all times.
You can rest easy and leave the heavy lifting to us. When people make online donations to your church, they expect the experience to be just as simple, fast, and smooth as they do when they shop at any other online store or website. We ensure that they have this simple, fast, and smooth experience.
Make Giving a Joy, Not a Chore
Would you like to make it easier for your congregation to make online donations or mobile gifts to your church?
How about guaranteeing financial support for your work and missions for months and years to come?
Does your payment processor make it easy, simple, and fast for someone to contribute money to your church?
When you upgrade to online giving, and if you make it easy for your congregation and donors, they will keep coming back.
People love to give to their churches, especially when the giving process is fun and easy, and serves a greater purpose!
Don’t lose another donation dollar. Start with an online donation or mobile giving provider today! Click here to get in touch with our team at DonorWerx, so you can see the difference in your online giving strategy. We are happy to offer consultation calls to discover our services. We’d love the opportunity to serve you and your church.
“Thanks to DonorWerx, our online giving system is set up and running smoothly! Now we can count on the regular tithes to support our church.”
“Previously, our church suffered a loss in giving, due to the pandemic. After switching to online solutions with DonorWerx, we were able to continue our global ministry. This is a fantastic boost for us financially and for our church missions worldwide.”
“We were spending too much on processing fees with our former online payments provider. DonorWerx doesn’t have the hidden fees the others charged. They simply do only what they say—no more, no less. We love the product!”
“Switching to DonorWerx was the best decision our church made this year. I sometimes wonder how we would have survived without the usual in-person services. Thanks to this new technology, we don’t have to lose givers or give up on our goals!”
If you’re looking for better credit card payment processing rates, contact us today to learn how we can help!