Ecommerce Credit Card Processing for non-profits

What are the best choices for accepting credit cards for online payments for non profit organizations? Google Checkout, Paypal Payments, and traditional merchant accounts cost analysis, plus all in one donation form with integrated payment solutions.

Paypal costs for 501c(3) non-profits

1.9% +$.30 per transaction for organizations with over $100,000 monthly volume
2.2% +$.30 per transaction for organizations with less than $100,000 monthly volume.
3.9% + $0.30 USD Transaction Fees for Cross-Border Payments – United States

Google Checkout costs for 501c(3) non-profits

Google Grants recipients are eligible to process donations for free until 2010 (need to buy Google AdWords)
Others pay these standard fees:

google checkout non-profit rates

Google checkout vs Paypal for non-profits:

It depends on the size of your organization. If you can only choose one, Paypal would be better due to wider acceptance.

Payment processing costs when included with online donation form generator:

Some web sites specialize in providing an all in one solution for non-profits to collect cash donations, create auction sign ups, or create event registrations.  The theory is you collect more money than you would normally (usually true), so it offsets any higher costs you may pay for the service which ranges from free to $29.95 per month and up plus other fees.

Merchant Services provider costs ie traditional merchant account and internet gateway

These numbers are going to be all over the place. So how can you tell if  you are getting a good deal?
A typical average is 3% effective rate for online credit card processing. This rate varies by target audience and many factors, and can be lower, but generally should not be higher. Non-profit merchant accounts with >3% credit card processing effective rates usually have hidden information, few details, or poor price plan.

View the entire presentation including pros & cons and actual examples of what to look for on your merchant statement. Recommendations are valid whether you have an ecommerce store, online donation form, recurring donor payments, event or one time donation.

Ecommerce Credit Card Processing for non-profits (PDF download)

3 thoughts on “Ecommerce Credit Card Processing for non-profits

  1. Good starter info. Interesting perspective of Non-Profit Organisations. Just wanted to add in general when looking at merchant accounts. If you don’t ask the right questions, then any answer you get will do and won’t matter. Once you find out the right questions to ask, start avoiding Sales Reps/Companies who give you no answer, evasive answers, or ‘smart’ sounding answers that further confuse you. If the beginning of the business relationship does not fit, then it won’t get better by adding time and especially being locked up in multi-year contracts.
    Also, don’t get bullied by high pressure sales tactics because a good deal today will be a good deal next week.

  2. I think best way to receive online payments or donations is with Google Checkout. Regarding Google Checkout fees for non-profits, see below from Google, it doesn’t have any timeout date mentioned, as of March, 2010. Also, many donors like to make recurring (monthly, annualy, etc.), payments, which you can do with Google Checkout, it’s difficult to setup recurring donations on your own, but you can get it done for a reasonable fee at:

    From Google: “Non-profits who are part of the Google Grants program are eligible to receive free donation processing. Google Grants awards free AdWords advertising to non-profits who meet certain eligibility guidelines and integrates with Google Checkout to help you increase your online fundraising. If you’re not a Google Grants recipient, we strongly encourage you to apply.”

  3. I disagree that it’s difficult to set up recurring payments IN GENERAL. There are numerous opportunities to set up recurring donations at no cost to the non-profit. All it takes is a simple form, gateway and merchant account that accepts recurring billing, which all the major gateways offer.
    Here’s a link to how to do it in paypal free Paypal has a very simple process.

    I can offer non-profits a virtual terminal to set up recurring billing for phone and mail orders as well. There is no set up fee for the virtual terminal.

    Here’s how you can do it per Google at no cost: “The ability to process recurring charges or subscriptions using our API is currently available in beta. Subscriptions will allow you to charge customers on a regular basis with out additional input from your customer. If you’d like to implement this functionality, please view the integration tutorial in our Developer’s Guide Beta Features page.
    Alternatively, you can process recurring charges by sending Google Checkout email invoices to your buyers. To do this, you’ll need to send an invoice to initiate each billing recurrence manually. “

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