More and more consumers prefer plastic to paper. Paper checks and bulky bills are quickly giving way to credit and debit cards. Many consumers greatly prefer the simplicity and ease of this form of payment. That, combined with purchasing protection plans and detailed purchasing history provide a great incentive for most consumers.


Credit Cards and Online Donations

While the use of cards means companies can now accept online donations, it also means they must work their way through a maze of options to make their systems compatible with credit card donations. Here are a few things companies should understand if they want to accept online donations.


Merchant Account

The most common way for a company to handle credit card transactions is to create a merchant account. Most financial institutions can get you set up with a merchant account, but beware, applying for a merchant account often requires a credit check.


One Time Fees

When you open a merchant account, you should be prepared for three types of fees. The first type, one time fees, are charged when the account is created. These fees may include gateway fees, application fees, setup fees, etc.


Recurring Fees

The second type of fees associated with a merchant account are recurring or monthly fees. These fees vary greatly from company to company, but they are typically all considered the fees necessary to maintain your account.


Transaction Fees and Discount Rates

The final type of fees associated with merchant accounts are transaction fees.  Again, these fees vary greatly from company to company.


Risk Factors

One factor that impacts transaction fees and discount rates is the risk factors associated with any given credit card transaction. Transactions where the card is not swiped are called -card not present- transactions. These scenarios are considered more high risk and therefore typically have higher fees associated with them. If your business deals primarily with online donations, you will want to look into what charges will be associated with -card not present- transactions.

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