The ability to accept donations by credit card can be a major asset to nonprofit organizations. Not only does nonprofit credit card processing offer donors the ability to contribute in a way that may be most convenient to them, but people tend to give more when they use their credit cards compared to other donation methods. There are numerous options available for nonprofits that want to accept credit card donations, and it's not always obvious which solution is right for a given organization's needs. But a misstep in choosing your credit card processor can be costly. There are some common mistakes worth watching out for when you look for a nonprofit credit card processing solution.
Failing to Do Your Homework
Every company puts its best face forward when it wants your business, and credit card processing companies are no exception. Many of them will advertise their best rates — but some won't tell you under what circumstances those rates apply, or how much transactions that don't qualify for those low rates will be charged. They may hide an assortment of miscellaneous fees in fine print, or never tell you about them at all.
The best way to avoid finding your organization on the hook for huge fees – or being unable to access your donation funds at all – is to perform due diligence. Compare credit card processing rates from various providers. Carefully read the contract agreement and search online for customer reviews. If anything seems fishy or unreliable, look elsewhere.
Choosing the Wrong Plan Size
Not every nonprofit organization experiences the same donation volume or size. If your organization receives only a few donations a month, the best credit card processing option is probably not one with a high monthly fee. On the other hand, if you receive a high volume of donations, you don't want an account that takes a high percentage off the top of each transaction — so paying a slightly higher monthly rate is likely the less costly option. Credit card processing accounts aren't one-size-fits-all.
Confusing Donors with Third-Party Processing
By going through a third party for your card processing, you use their processing account instead of getting your own to receive donations. Unfortunately, your organization's name won't appear on donors' credit card statements, making it more likely that they will dispute the unfamiliar transaction in confusion, which may cost you the donation as well as chargeback fees.