Charity Merchant Account

Charities Get Discounted Rates In Many Cases

Charity credit card processing is often cheaper than accepting cards in the for-profit realm. This is because nonprofits tend to have lower risks for fraud and chargebacks, and procesing companies often will offer discounts in exchange for publicity from the charity, which can be as simple as an acknowledgement on the website or in a newsletter. Like other businesses, merchant services companies have philanthropic pursuits and are not averse to leveraging the good publicity that comes with a donation, or at-cost processing as a sort of in-kind donation.

Shopping Around Is Important

Non-Profit Credit Card Processing The phrase "caveat emptor" should not just inspire nostalgia for the Brady bunch when it comes to shopping for services. There are several "charity" processors out there that actually cost the same, or more, than traditional processors for business entities. They may position themselves as being created for philanthropic enterprises, and will oftentimes include a free website with a built-in payment portal. This can be a trap for the unwary director or conservator of an institution. Bundled processing and website packages may be attractive to the boards of nonprofits, but in reality a cheaper long-term solution would be to create a website with a secured donation page which ties into a payment gateway for online donations, and will work with credit card terminals as well as giving kiosks.

Your charity should negotiate pricing in the same manner as a small business: with an eye on keeping as much money as possible from the transaction. Remember, web sources will disclose the percentage of a donation that goes to the actual cause for which you are making a collection, and a bad deal on processing can make your charity look greedy or inefficient. For example, a 3.5% rate on credit cards means that right off the bat you are getting $96.50 for every hundred dollars donated. For $10,000 in donations (which some groups can get in a single weekend) this means the processor took $350. Even though it is not possible to get free credit cards processing, every percentage point you can shave off the bundled rate is more money that goes to the needy.

Accepting Donations Through Kiosks and Terminals

Unattended giving kiosks are a new way to collect dollars in places like museums, at charity events, and at places that may be attended by only a few individuals. In some cases kiosks are set up in city offices, churches, or at non-profit agencies so people can stop by and make a contribution. These kiosks may utilize tablets, touchscreens, or specially built containers that hold computer and communications equipment necessary to authorize credit cards.

Charity credit card machines are often the same as ones used by business owners. In some cases they can be rented for specific events, then sent back when the fundraiser is complete. Once again, it is important to understand the rate structure for machines, and if you have a fundraising goal you can often calculate the costs associated with using one seller over another.