You may give electronically from a designated checking or savings account, or by using a credit or debit card. All gifts are much appreciated, but we encourage you to choose the checking or savings account option because the "convenience fees" for credit and debit cards are significantly higher.
Why This Change?
It's no change, it's just an additional option. We will still pass the plate Sunday morning, if you prefer to write checks or bring cash. But this new opportunity has several advantages:
- Online giving is an easy and secure way to make regular contributions. Online giving is more secure than checks or cash.
- You automatically receive records of your donations in your bank or credit card statements.
- The church will receive your automatically scheduled offering even when you are unable to attend.
- Checks make for much more work for both the giver and the church. And remember that they are more expensive for the giver as you have to buy new checks from time to time.
- Checks and cash require work by staff to count, record, and deposit donations. That time and energy could be better applied.
- Many churches that have embraced online giving have observed an increase of twenty to thirty percent in annual contributions.
But Is It Really Safe?
The short answer is that online donations through the church's financial service provider are more secure than using your credit card in person.
The online donations are handled by Vanco, a major financial service provider affiliated with Wells Fargo. They are required to be compliant to the highest level of PCI DSS (or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).
If you want to know more, either about this online donation system in particular or about staying safe on the Internet in general, just contact Bob Cromwell, who does things like cybersecurity and PCI DSS for a living. You can also read Vanco's privacy and security statement.
What Was That About "Convenience Fees"?
Providers like Vanco charge their customers (like our church) for the financial services they provide. They charge only a very reasonable $0.20 for each bank transfer from your checking or savings account.
However, for credit and debit cards they charge not only a higher per-transaction fee of $0.38 but of course they also pass along the payment card fees, an additional 2.65% of the total for Visa or MasterCard, and 3.5% for American Express.
Let's say someone intends to give $100. The result is:
|Visa, MasterCard||$100.00||$0.38 + 2.65% = $3.03||$96.97|
|American Express||$100.00||$0.38 + 3.5% = $3.88||$96.12|
So How Do I Get Started With Online Giving?
To begin giving online, click the green button below. Here is an overview of what you will need to do.
You must first create an online profile with your email address and other contact information.KeePassX
You must set a password. Since this identity is tied to your financial account, your password should be impractical for someone to guess. Also, it really should be unique — different from what you use for your email, Facebook, etc. Tip: KeePassX is an excellent password management tool that securely generates and stores passwords on computers and smart phones.
Once you have set up an account, click the "Add Transaction" button and select the amount and the frequency — one-time, or your choice of weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually.
Next, choose an account or source of funds. We encourage you to select a bank transfer rather than credit/debit card to minimize the "convenience fees" taken out of your donation.
If you choose a bank transfer from your checking or savings account, you will need the bank's routing number and your account number. These are the first and second long numbers printed on the bottom of a check, and they should also be on your monthly bank statement.
Set up or manage online giving
When you submit your donation, you will be taken to a screen that you can print as a receipt. Remember that you will also receive these records in your bank or credit card statement.
You will also receive an email every time a donation is processed. This gives you another way to monitor continuing donations.
You can log in to your account at any time to change the amount or schedule of an ongoing donation, to view or print a history of transactions, or to change your contact information.
Any Remaining Questions?
Contact Bob Cromwell with any questions about the security and networking aspects, and Howard Detweiler with any questions about church finances.
Thank you so much for your financial and spiritual support!