If you think your nonprofit could benefit from processing credit card payments, your next step is to set-up a merchant account. Luckily, there are many companies that provide this service. Yet, merchant services can be complicated and costly (especially without the right partner to help guide you).
We’ve provided a list of five important things to consider when selecting a merchant services provider. Hopefully the information here will help you select the right partner!
- Credibility: Partner with a company that has experience, ethical values, positive testimonials, and is a certified payment processor. There are many options out there, so if someone can’t prove their credibility, it’s probably best to move on. There are too many credit card scams to partner with someone that isn’t qualified.
- Set-up: You’ll want to select a partner that provides an easy process, such as an online application form and a customer service representative that helps walk you through this process and prepare you by providing a summary of requirements needed to apply. A good company can usually get you set up and approved in just a couple of days (unless there are extenuating circumstances).
- Fees: Every merchant service provider charges a fee for processing transactions, so this is not something you can avoid. However, the range of credit card processing fees can be very different. Rates also vary for different types of businesses (non-profit vs. for profit) and for debit vs. credit card transactions. In addition to transaction fees, there are monthly service fees, costs for mobile processing, late fees, fees for customer support and of course early-termination fees. Be on the lookout for all of these.
- Contracts: some companies require organizations to sign a contract binding them to use the service for a minimum of one year (or more), and they charge termination fees if the customer cancels early. Take note and possibly avoid these companies. Binding customers to a contract and threatening fees for leaving doesn’t seem like a great way to build a loyal customer base.
- Credit card Equipment: First determine what type of credit card processing you plan to do. Will you only be processing donations via your website or do you need a point of sale system or a mobile processing app for processing payments at fundraising events? Find out what type of credit card processing equipment is offered and what it costs. Some companies charge hundreds of dollars for equipment, where others offer it to clients for free.
Merchant services has become an extremely competitive field. There are lots of options from the basic service of PayPal to the custom shop that offers credit card processing for one niche business. This is a buyers’ market; so do your research and choose a merchant service provider that is right for your organization.
DoJiggy Merchant Services (DMS) offers payment processing services for nonprofit organizations. With DMS, you’ll see lower rates, better customer service, POS terminals included at no cost, seamless integration with your organization’s fundraising website, and they even include a Free Donation Website when you sign up.