Donations_inlineMany churches now accept credit and debit cards for offerings and special gifts (e.g., donating to speakers, missionaries, and missions trips). From time to time, churches ask how they should to handle these transactions and how much it costs.

Most banks can help your church get set up to take credit and debit card donations. You can use a large processing organization if you choose, but a local bank can most likely help get things going. Once your church is set up, the charge per transaction is typically 2.5 to 4 percent, depending on the type of card being used for the transaction. Your bank (or processor) will discuss these matters.

Remember that the church processes each donation, and the donor is given full credit for the full amount of the gift. The expense of credit card processing is simply an operational cost to the church, much like a bank’s charge for processing checks and cash deposits.

Some churches attempt to handle their own transactions. But many regulations exist, some more recent than others, that would strongly encourage churches not to attempt these matters. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a set of requirements for any organization that processes, stores, or transmits credit card information. These requirements necessitate the maintenance of a secure environment for every credit card transaction from beginning to end. This is known as PCI compliance, and any organization found to be in violation of this compliance is subject to fines.

If your church is processing its own credit card transactions, I would recommend you cease this practice and seek assistance from a bank or processing organization that is PCI compliant.