Is your church set up to receive card donations or purchases?

by John Campbell

July 6, 2017

My children have attended daycare over the years. They’ve also participated in activities like sports and dance. To my disappointment, each of these services and opportunities costs money! Yes, I understand that those who provide services to my family need to be paid. It’s just that every month when I get a bill, it’s painful to spend that money.

Frankly, I’m grateful for the service daycare staff provides. The rub comes when it’s time to pay for that service. I rarely carry checks and only have enough cash for small payments; I’ve become accustomed to using tools like debit cards or my cell phone to pay bills. Our daycare, however, doesn’t accept card payments. When it’s time to pay them, I have to have my checkbook handy. If I don’t, it can take a day or two longer to actually pay my bill. If they took card payments, they’d have their money right away.

Is your church set up to receive card donations or purchases? Today, this is not just a convenience. It’s a necessity. Use of electronic payments continues to grow as cash and check use diminishes, especially for retail and consumer payments. If you’re not offering electronic payment options, you’re actually making it inconvenient for many of your members to donate or buy resources.

You likely have reasons that seem valid for not offering these options. Here are some common ones:

It costs too much. Keep in mind that all services have a cost, even the counting of physical money and checks.

No one uses it. If you don’t explain, promote and remind people about electronic giving, they won’t use it. You’ll get what you ask for. Offering plates tell people you prefer cash and checks.

It’s confusing. Yes, it can be, until you get started. Fortunately, there are partners like ECCU that understand ministry and can get you up to speed.

There are good reasons to overcome these hurdles. For starters, many businesses today only take electronic payments, so many of your people are already comfortable with this payment option. Plus, card payments enable members to donate even when they can’t attend a weekend service. Your members can easily miss one or two Sundays a month visiting friends, taking vacations or even caring for sick family members.

So how can you set up what bankers call a merchant account and begin receiving card payments?  Here are some first steps:

  • Find a partner that understands ministry. See how ECCU can help..
  • Remind your congregants and donors that they have giving options. Do this through pre- and post-service slides on your screens, and with messages in your printed program and on your website. And tell stories of how people give and the impact of their financial support.
  • Review your giving at least annually to see what channels people are using.

If we believe giving is spiritual, then we can help the people who support our ministries grow in their faith by making it more convenient for them to give.

Category: Ministry Matters