Using terminals for in-church giving
Debit and Credit card processing terminals are another way congregations can receive gifts in a society which is more and more cashless. Terminals can be passed around the congregation during the offering, or set up at the back of the church for people to give as they come or go. (Donors who gave when they came in could put the donation receipt in an envelope and on the plate.) When accepting such donations, you’ll need to make sure you capture or confirm the personal information needed for a charitable tax receipt. (This usually only needs to be done once.)
While people can also use the donation form on your website during the service with a smart phone or using a personal computer or tablet set up in in the church foyer, manually entering credit or debit card information into a form can be time-consuming when people want to grab a seat in the sanctuary or distracting when they want to focus on worship.
Congregations are also finding handheld terminals very convenient when they have fundraising dinners, are collecting registrations for events, or selling items through bazaars.
There are many providers of such terminals, all with slightly different features. So far, we’ve found that the stand alone terminal sold by Square is the most economical and is easy to use, so we’ll use that as an example. We’ve provided two other options you can explore below.
It’s easy to train a greeter on how to use the Square terminal and the interface is familiar to donors who have used it in stores. They can quickly navigate the few screens it takes to make a transaction with their debit or credit card. The Square terminal prints receipts and offers a tap-to-give option which is good in our post-COVID-19 world.
Although there is a one-time charge to purchase the Square terminal, there is no flat monthly fee, only a transaction processing fee for each donation received. This is important for churches because during some months of the year the terminal may sit idle.
If the Square terminal has access to the Internet, either via WiFi in the church or by using someone’s cell phone, gifts given by debit card over the Interac network will cost only $0.10 per transaction. This is considerably less than the approximately 3% or more your church will pay for credit card transactions (or debit transactions processed over the VISA/Mastercard networks).
Even if you can’t provide the Square terminal with access to the Internet, your church can still receive debit card donations. However, your church will pay the higher fee for any delayed debit transactions that are processed once you get back to a location that has Internet access. Fees are also higher for credit or debit transactions keyed in by hand.
You can add your list of regular donors to your Square dashboard so a donor’s contact info can be quickly searched and found on the terminal. This is handy for having the information you need to issue a charitable tax receipt.
PCC churches get a special discount period when they acquire a Square terminal. Contact Jim MacDonald in the Stewardship and Planned Giving Department for more information.