Following is a transcript of this podcast episode, with audio/video below.
Welcome to the Two-Minute Treasurer’s Tip Podcast. I am your host, Cyndi Meuchel, Co-Owner of MoneyMinder, where our goal is to make your life as a volunteer really easy.
Today I’m answering the following question:
What recommendations do you have for selecting a method to accept credit cards? Josh writes in, “My parent group is trying to decide what method to use to be able to accept credit cards. Do you have any recommendations for determining what the best solution is? For example, we’re looking at MoneyMinder’s built-in store, Square, Venmo, and a few others. Can you help me compare them?”.
Wow, so I’ll warn you right now, this is going to take way more than two minutes to cover. Some of the advice that I can give you is taken from best practices, talking to groups around the world, but much of this that I’ll share I learned the hard way with my own group.
Here’s the deal. When you set up an account with Square or PayPal or some of those other payment platforms, you usually set it up under your name, not your group’s name. So that means when it’s time for you to transition away from being a treasurer, that account goes with you, not the group. It does not stay with your group. Worse yet, let’s say someone sets up an account like this and then decides they want to go on vacation or buy a flat-screen TV, but they don’t have the money. They can, with the click of a mouse, change the bank account that the money gets deposited into to their own and soon they’re the owner of that new flat-screen TV.
It’s that easy. So for security reasons you want to set up an account that lives with your group. That way it can be tied to your group’s bank account, and when treasurers come and go, the account stays in one place. That is critical. Sadly, Square, PayPal and many other payment platforms don’t offer this ability.
The next thing you want to look for are tools that will make it easy for you to be the treasurer and manage this money that’s coming in via credit card transactions. Often it’s rare that a group only needs money tracking. Oftentimes they need information that goes along with it. So things like t-shirt sizes or contact information. Another common thing is the need to be able to accept both online and in-person payments. How and what service is going to offer you that ability? You’re going to want to make sure that you can find that.
So if a person-to-person payment works for you, then something like Zelle or Venmo might be your solution, but again, remember that you’re relying on whoever is receiving the money to get it into your group’s account, not into their own pocket. Payment platforms, like PayPal and Square, are also good solutions, but they’re more of a one-and-done type of collection site.
CheddarUp is an example of a payment platform that I consider a solid long-term solution. It checks all the boxes. So first of all, you can collect money from folks both in the form of e-checks and credit cards. I want to repeat that because this is a big deal for folks and groups who don’t want to pay credit card processing fees. I can’t say I blame them. You can accept both e-checks and credit cards via CheddarUp. Check it out.
You can also collect information and the account lives with your group, not the treasurer. It’s really easy to use. You can accept payments both at live events and in-person and online. You can have folks fill out forms online right when they’re paying. So you don’t need an app for all this, they just need a link and then they can go in and you can get what you need from them. You can also have several collections going on at once.
So, for example, people can pay for multiple things at once. They say “I want to buy a t-shirt, paid membership dues, and buy my daughter’s yearbook.” or maybe, “I want to pay for a meal and dues, both at the same time.” In my case, I’m able to ask participants about the shirt size they want, the color, what event they want to participate in, and I also require them to sign a waiver before making a payment. So this works really well for my group. I can then get the reports I need that are meaningful to me and I can export them to Excel if I want to dive deeper.
And a great way to get the link to folks at an event is to create an inexpensive sign or two with a QR code on it that folks can simply aim their phone at and it’ll take them directly to that payment page. It’s just easy-peasy. No need to even slide credit cards. It’s all within the control of the person that’s paid.
So here’s a bonus. If you’re a MoneyMinder user, you can connect your CheddarUp account for free and you can receive the Team Edition of CheddarUp for free. Just for being a MoneyMinder user! That’s a $30 a month savings.
All that said, to figure out what solution will work best for your group, you’re going to want to make sure to start with the problem that you’re trying to solve. So what do you need to collect from the payer besides their money, and then identify what solutions offer those features? Of course, fees need to be considered. Let’s not ignore those. Some processers allow you to pay or, I’m sorry, to pass the fees on to the payer and others don’t. So you may want to do that, you may not want to do that. And while fees vary, you’ll want to equally consider how easy the solution is for both you and the payer. If it’s super cumbersome or not safe in terms of making sure the money gets into the bank account correctly at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter
how low the fees are.
So that’s it for today. Thanks for listening, and if you have a question you’d like answered, email it to me at [email protected]. My name is Cyndi Meuchel and this is your Two-Minute Treasurer’s Tip for today.