4 Questions to Ask Your Online Giving Provider

There’s been quite a bit of talk about effective giving rates around here recently, and for good reason. Over the last few months, we’ve encountered many churches that are simply overpaying their online giving providers, and most of them don’t even know it. On Tuesday, we hosted a webinar about this very topic, and Pastor Russell Korets joined us to share about his church’s recent experience in shopping for a new online giving provider. During the conversation, he mentioned an important question that he asked all the providers his church was looking at. You can check out that portion of the webinar here:

If you’re unfamiliar with what an effective rate is or how to calculate it, we’ve covered that exact topic here. Simply put, some online giving providers overcharge churches by either failing to offer volume-based discounts, or by adding hidden fees in addition to their processing rates. This causes a high effective rate, which means that the church ends up keeping less money from each donation. Finding your effective rate is extremely important because it allows you to see a common-ground comparison between all of the giving providers you are looking at. It also allows you to see if you are currently overpaying.


So how do you get a low effective rate? Great question! And speaking of questions, here are four that you can ask each giving provider you talk to.


If John donates $100 with his card, how much money will our church be left with after ALL fees are taken out?

This is a simple question to ask, and it will help you get to the bottom line in terms of finding your effective rate. Pastor Russell mentioned that he continued to ask this question until he got a clear response from the companies he was looking at, and his persistence with this question ended up saving his church quite a bit of money.

Will we be charged any fees in addition to your processing rates?

Like we mentioned above, some companies actually charge more fees in addition to their processing rates. These could be labeled as security fees, batch fees, merchant account fees, or even monthly fees. There is no reason your church should have to pay for any of those things on top of your processing rates.

Do you offer volume based discounts?

A good provider will reward your church with lower rates as you grow with them. If your church processes just $50,000 per month, there is no reason why you shouldn’t start seeing your processing rates drop to the low 2% range (even below 2% if you are processing well over $100,000 each month). Having volume-based discounts in place will ensure that your giving solution is a good fit long-term.

Assuming an equal mix of debit, credit, and ACH donations, if we process $10,000 a month how much will end up in our bank account each month after all fees are taken out/paid?

This will help you get even more clarity about what your effective rate will be, as some companies charge different rates for debit, credit, and ACH transactions.

Want even more resources to help save your church money? We’ve got you covered! Click here to check out our full webinar. We’ve also got an awesome eBook that dives even deeper into the topic of effective rates. You can download it for free by clicking this link. And if you want to make things even easier, Subsplash offers a free analysis of your current giving statement. No fluff, no sales pitch, just a free consultation to help your church save as much money as possible. Give us a call at 206-965-8090 or drop us a line at hello@subsplash.com, we’d love to help!

Brendan McDonnell