Nonprofit credit card processing solutions are tools nonprofit organizations use to complete credit and debit card transactions securely and quickly.
Leveraging a secure payment solution throughout the donation process strengthens donor trust and allows them to use a convenient payment method. Credit card payments are donors’ preferred giving methods—63% of donors prefer to give online with a credit or debit card, followed by direct mail (16%), PayPal (10%), wire transfer (5%), cash (4%), digital wallet (1%), and text-to-give (1%).
In this guide, we’ll review the top credit card processing solutions for nonprofits and best practices for choosing the right platform. We’ll cover:
- The best nonprofit credit card processing solutions
- How to choose the right nonprofit credit card processor
- Nonprofit credit card processing: FAQs
The best nonprofit credit card processing solutions
Best for: Nonprofits that want to leverage a secure payment processor integrated with their Bloomerang CRM and online fundraising tools.
Bloomerang is the top integrated payment processing option for nonprofits looking to keep donor information secure, leverage donor data for future campaigns, and increase donor satisfaction.
Other payment processors integrate Stripe and Paypal, so nonprofits may not be able to access nonprofit-specific giving methods and may be charged additional fees. Bloomerang Payments is built on top of Stripe, allowing for customization to suit nonprofit needs.
One of the greatest benefits of the Bloomerang Payments system is fraud management and protection. Fraud management is included in the system, so nonprofits aren’t charged extra for this service. Plus, if a nonprofit does experience fraud, they’re not liable for expenses like chargeback fees—Bloomerang takes on that responsibility.
In addition, here are a few features that make Bloomerang Payments a top option for nonprofits:
- Instant approval
- Ability to process one-time and recurring gifts
- Automatic card updates
- Real-time payout information
- Automatic updates of outdated card information
- Daily deposits
- Mobile app compatibility
- Industry-leading PCI compliance and fraud monitoring
- Simple setup with expert support
- Seamless donor data collection with a native Bloomerang CRM integration
In addition, tap-to-pay is an exciting new feature within Bloomerang Payments. With this functionality, donors can tap their credit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay digital wallet onto a mobile device and have their gift processed through the Bloomerang mobile app. Tap-to-pay creates a speedy in-person donation process and doesn’t require any specialized card readers.
Payment Methods: Google Pay, Apple Pay, debit, credit, ACH, in-person donations
Payout Timeline: Daily deposits with a two-day delay, flexible payout timelines
Pricing: Bloomerang offers among the most competitive rates in the payment processing field, with a processing fee of 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction. The ACH fee is 0.8% + $0.30 per transaction. There is also a 1% fundraising platform fee on all transactions processed through Bloomerang. Processing fees apply to the total transaction volume and include the optional donor-covered fee. However, Bloomerang allows donors to choose to cover processing fees. They do so about 70% of the time, which means that nonprofits typically keep $99 for every $100 raised, based on average Bloomerang customer processing volume.
Best for: Nonprofits looking to easily accept global payments and access instant payouts if needed.
- Access to over 100 payment methods
- Global reach
- Machine-learning optimizations that help mitigate fraud
Payment Methods: Credit/debit cards, Apple Pay, Afterpay, PayPal, Google Pay, and many more
Payout Timeline: Daily automatic
Pricing: Discounted processing fee for nonprofits
Best for: Nonprofits looking to manage point of sale and online transactions.
- Square Reader to accept payments on a tablet or smartphone
- Automatic sorting of donors into a segmented directory
- Square Analytics to access real-time reports and track fundraising progress
Payment Methods: Cash, checks, ACH bank transfers, credit/debit cards, swipe or chip cards, and contactless NFC payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Payout Timeline: 1-2 business days
Pricing: Online transactions have a 2.9% + $0.30 fee per transaction. Explore the pricing page for plans and fees.
Best for: Nonprofits looking for a payment processor that prioritizes digital conversions.
- Ability to add a donate button directly to your nonprofit’s website
- Use invoicing tools to collect pledged donations
- Ability to build a custom donation flow with PayPal Payments Pro
Payment Methods: Major credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and Venmo
Payout Timeline: Two to three business days
Pricing: Discounted rate for charities of 1.99% and a fixed fee
Best for: Nonprofits looking for a wide variety of payment types to offer donors, from eCommerce to eCheck, point of sale, mobile payments, and more.
- Automatic, monthly credit card updates
- Store credit card information to simplify repeat donations
- Digital invoicing to receive payments faster
Payment Methods: Credit/debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, eCheck
Payout Timeline: 2-3 business days
Pricing: Monthly gateway is $25 with a 2.9% and $0.30 transaction fee
Best for: Nonprofits looking to accept donations via multiple giving methods, including POS, mobile, and desktop
- Keep donor data secure with point-to-point encryption, tokenization, and EMV
- Customized integrations to suit your nonprofit’s needs
- Access to integration help and growth support
Payment Methods: Cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Payout Timeline: 1-3 business days
Pricing: Rates start at 2.3% + $0.10 per transaction
Best for: Nonprofits looking for a payment processing system that integrates with the Keela CRM and fundraising tools.
- In-house support contained in one service
- Level 1 PCI DSS compliance
- Native integration with the Keela donor management system
Payment Methods: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, ACH
Payout Timeline: Customizable disbursements; payments can be withdrawn nightly, weekly, or monthly.
Pricing: Depends on the payment method used; visit the Keela website for pricing information.
Best for: Nonprofits looking to simplify payments while keeping costs low.
- eCommerce integration
- Option to add a donate button to your website
- No cancellation fees
Payment Methods: Credit cards
Payout Timeline: 2 business days
Pricing: $12 per month fee and processing fees of 0.10% + $0.08 for storefront payments and 0.10% + $0.11 for virtual payments
How to choose the right nonprofit credit card processor
How can you determine which of these payment processors is right for your nonprofit? Follow these steps to narrow down your top options and choose the best system for long-term growth.
1. Consider your nonprofit’s size.
Often, choosing the right payment processor comes down to your nonprofit’s size. That’s because some fee structures work better for different-sized organizations. Here’s a breakdown of the structures that work best for large and small nonprofits:
- Large nonprofits with more transactions: Some payment options offer lower fees for higher donation volumes, which can be helpful for larger organizations that process more gifts.
- Small nonprofit with fewer transactions: A pay-as-you-go or flat-rate model works best for these organizations. These fee types are more predictable and cost-effective for smaller organizations.
Carefully assess your nonprofit’s needs and compare fee structures to find the right fit for your fundraising efforts.
2. Assess integration needs.
Leveraging a payment processor that’s integrated with your other software solutions makes it easier to gather donor data and use it in future donation transactions. Plus, when your payment processor is visually similar to your online donation form and branded to your organization, you can reassure donors that they’re giving to the right organization.
Search for a payment processor that integrates with software tools like your:
These integrations will ensure seamless, secure data transfers and simplify your fundraising process.
3. Understand fees.
It’s important to understand how payment processing fees work so you can find the right solution that fits into your budget and generates the highest return on your investment.
Here is some terminology that you might see when exploring payment processing costs:
- Platform fee: Typically a monthly or annual fee for using the payment platform.
- Transaction or payment processing fee: Charges incurred per transaction, typically calculated as a percentage of each transaction plus a fixed fee, such as 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction. Payment processing fees are often different based on the payment method, whether credit card, ACH, etc.
When choosing the right platform for your nonprofit, calculate the effective rate for each option by dividing total fees by total expected donations. This can give you an idea of how much you will pay for each platform.
Additionally, many payment platforms offer discounts for nonprofits or other ways to reduce costs, such as enabling donors to cover processing fees. Look into these benefits as you compare top options.
4. Evaluate features.
Your payment processor can do much more than just manage financial transactions. Advanced systems, especially those built specifically for nonprofits, offer additional features to increase revenue and improve the payment experience. Look for features such as:
- Recurring gifts. Your payment processor should be able to accept both one-time and recurring donations. Donors should be able to turn their gift into a recurring payment with just the click of a button.
- Mobile-friendly interface. 57% of nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile devices. Look for a mobile-friendly payment processor that facilitates simple transactions on both mobile and desktop devices.
- Online and in-person payments. Your payment processing platform should offer digital and in-person donation processing functionality. This ensures that you can easily gather donations during in-person experiences, like fundraising events.
Be sure to determine whether these features are built into the platform or if they’re available for an additional fee.
5. Seek out security credentials.
A secure payment process is critical to keep donor information safe, build trust, and inspire more repeat donations. Make sure the payment process you choose offers security measures like:
- PCI-compliance. This means the payment tool complies with regulations set by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. Some of these requirements include installing a firewall system, encrypting data, protecting against malware, and other security regulations.
- Fraud monitoring tools. Your payment processor should leverage fraud monitoring tools to catch and evaluate suspicious activity. This includes machine learning algorithms that scan for unusual patterns and tools that verify that the donors’ CVV code and billing address match the information provided by their bank.
- Regular software updates. Check the changelog for your top option to ensure the platform receives regular security updates and fixes. This includes minor bug fixes as well as larger core updates that keep the system fresh and reliable.
Request a demo for each of your top options and ask each representative to walk through their system’s security credentials. Ask plenty of questions to make sure you feel comfortable with your final choice.
6. Assess the level of customer support.
Your payment processing platform should offer access to an experienced support team that can answer your questions promptly. This is necessary to quickly address and resolve any payment issues and maintain donor satisfaction and trust.
The support team should be available via live chat, phone, or email. They should also provide a wide variety of support services to handle different needs. For example, Bloomerang’s support team provides implementation and onboarding support, coaching, and consulting services based on the level of support you need.
7. Read reviews.
Use third-party software review aggregators to get insight from real customers. Search for your top payment processing options on platforms like G2 and Capterra. These resources will provide an unbiased look at each payment processor and insights into what customers like or dislike about the systems.
8. Consider generational giving preferences.
Offering a variety of payment methods, including credit card payment processing, is essential to appeal to different generational preferences.
According to Nonprofit Tech for Good, these are the preferred giving methods of each generation:
- Silent Generation (1925-1945): Prefer communicating and donating via direct mail and phone calls
- Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Gen X (1965-1980): Prefer communicating via calls, text, email, or social media and giving online
- Millennials (1980-1996) and Gen Z (1997-2012): Prefer communicating via text and social media and donating online
To connect with all generations, it’s important to offer in-person, direct mail, and online payment methods. When determining what payment processor to invest in, find a solution that aligns with your supporters’ preferences.
9. Choose a solution with your team’s input.
Consult with your nonprofit’s fundraising team to gather their input and make your final payment processing decision. Gathering feedback from fundraising team members will help you choose an option that works best for your unique donor base. Plus, they’ll be able to provide insight into which options work best based on your donors’ demographics and giving preferences.
Nonprofit credit card processing: FAQs
To review everything we’ve covered about nonprofit payment processing, let’s explore a few frequently asked questions.
What payment types can nonprofit payment processors accept?
As mentioned in the list of payment processing options above, these platforms can manage a wide range of transactions, including:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- Samsung Pay
Many platforms also offer modern payment methods like donor-advised funds, cryptocurrency, and Venmo.
Do nonprofits get credit card processing discounts?
Often, yes. If you’re interested in using a payment processor that’s not specifically built for nonprofits, like PayPal or Stripe, look into fee discounts and other perks available to nonprofits.
Are there any hidden fees involved with payment processing?
In addition to monthly or transaction fees, some payment processors may come with extra fees that aren’t accounted for in the initial pricing information. Look out for additional fees like:
- Setup fees
- Monthly minimums
- Integration fees
Depending on your nonprofit’s budget, these fees may add up over time and reduce your ROI. Be thorough with your questions in each demo to ensure you fully understand each platform’s fee structure and determine what works best for your fundraising efforts.
How quickly can nonprofits access donated funds?
It depends on the payment processing system. Typically, platforms make funds available in one to three business days. Some platforms may offer same-day or instant payment transfers for an extra fee, which can come in handy in times of urgent need.
Additional nonprofit credit card processing resources
Careful research is required to find the right credit card processing option that will serve your nonprofit’s long-term goals. If you need more support to find the right choice and understand how payment processing works in the context of your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts, start with these additional resources:
- What Is Nonprofit Payment Processing? Looking for more insight into the steps of nonprofit payment processing? Start with Kindful’s guide to the basic terms.
- 19 Incredibly Easy Online Fundraising Ideas and Expert Tips. A powerful payment processor will power your nonprofit’s online campaigns. Build well-rounded online fundraising initiatives with the help of this resource.
- 30 Best Practices to Optimize Your Nonprofit Donation Page. Your nonprofit’s online donation page should leverage a robust payment processor. Learn more about top features that will optimize your giving form.