This post discusses one of the primary issues concerning online giving for churches.
A pastor I know is looking into adding online giving to his church website. He is having a hard time justifying processing fees being taken out of the tithe. All credit card processing companies charge a small fee per transaction, usually 3% of the total transaction. So this raises an interesting question: Is it wrong to pay 3% of a church member’s tithe to a credit card company?
Let’s look at it from both sides of the issue.
The 3% of a tithe should go to the church
As someone who tithes, I can understand why this would be an issue. I want God’s money to go to His church, not a third party. Looking at the math, the super easy math, if someone is giving $200 a month, that’s $6 that won’t make it to the church. Now, that is only $72 dollars a year, but if you have 50 people giving online, the total is $3,600 a year. To me that seems like a lot of money. Think about how your church’s youth group could benefit from $3,600. Or that would go a long way to replace your existing church website with one that, well, works.
3% is a small price to pay
Being an American, I can say that we are inherently lazy. I tend to not do things that I don’t want to do, or might be out of the way. For me, this includes leaving my check book at home on a Sunday. I always forget. And if the church I am attending does not have online giving, it’s rare that I give. There I said it. For me, the 3% is worth it, because without it, the church just wouldn’t see my tithe, it would go somewhere that allows me to give online.
And if the credit card fee’s an issue
If the fee is an issue for some people, they will find away around it. I believe that in regards to tithing, churches should give people the most options to give as possible. Have a box in the back of your church people can put a tithe in, have online giving, and pass around a bucket. People will find the best and the most convenient way possible for them to give to the ministry they are apart of.
While this might be annoying to members of your church, you could put the credit card processing fees on them. You could have built into your site the ability for your tithe system to add an additional 3% to the tithe amount. But you might make your church the Arco of online giving.
Large Online Processors
Church Focused Processors
Photo credit: Tracy Olson