Best payment systems for charities
We explore the best options for processing payments online and by card
It’s broadly accepted that card payments trump cash. Even before the pandemic, more than half of all payments in the UK were completed by cards, according to the BBC.
Many more customers are also making purchases online. Statista records that, in February 2021, a whopping 71% of UK customers were buying more online than prior to the pandemic.
Clearly, the pandemic is hastening the shift towards a cashless society. Not only are cards convenient, but contactless payments reduce the possibility of virus transmission.
Charities who have not invested in the tech to accept card payments are missing out. Taking stock of the best payment systems, we go over how the card systems work and what the advantages are.
Stripe offers the entire suite of options for sophisticated and simple operations. The payment system has two main components which are useful for charity businesses. It can take card payments from both digital and physical infrastructure. The advantage here is that Stripe can provide charities with point-of-sale (POS) machine rentals as well as support for online transactions.
Pricing: Non-European cards processing start at 2.9% of the amount plus 20p per transaction in a pay-as-you-go format.
Opayo processes online and physical transactions. In addition to mainstream payments, Opayo can also deal with payments made over the phone. The main benefit for charities is its ability to link up with existing Sage platform accounts (Opayo is the rebranded version of SagePay). Invoicing and cash flow tracking is made easier through the linkage.
Pricing: Flexible pricing plans start at £25 per month.
PayPal offers services to accept fundraising donations. PayPal accounts allow charities to accept payments but they are not linked to operations. The services are best for purchases made over the internet or singular events rather than wholesale operations.
Pricing: Discounted rates are available for charities. Payments are accepted at a rate of 1.4% on the amount plus 20p per transaction.
Square’s payment system offers the latest technologies for charities. Payments can be completed via traditional card insertion, contactless tap, online, key-in, and through invoicing. The software system also transforms desktop computers into a payment terminal. Additional hardware can also be rented from Square.
Pricing: Fees vary by plan, but start at 1.75% of the transaction amount and go up from there.
The main benefit of using LibertyPay is its customised features for charities. The payment platform has ready-to-use donation boxes, in addition to payment processing for online and retail payments. LibertyPay also operates a credit and debit card gateway provider CharityGateway, whose profits are donated to charity.
Pricing: Charities can negotiate bespoke plans based on requirements.
Banked is the new kid on the block in terms of e-commerce payment options. Unlike the more traditional providers of hardware, Banked is an API software intermediary that can be tacked onto charity websites. The payment platform uses real-time bank account data to complete transactions. Charities could benefit from the platform’s ability to process high-value transactions.
Pricing: Charities can request more information.
Among the more traditional payment systems, WorldPay’s platform works for both simple and complex operations. The ‘checkout’ features for online payments integrate directly with websites through the API. One of the main benefits of this platform is its dashboard, which can help teams monitor transactions and prevent fraud.
Pricing: Plans start at £19 per month and include a minimum contract term.
Adyen works for both online and physical card payments. POS machine rentals are available for charities with retail outlets. Adyen’s additional services differentiate it from competitors. The payment platform has a customer insight section which allows users to compare payment methods and gather intelligence on transactions. This could be a powerful analytical tool for charities.
Pricing: Unlike the other pricing models, Adyen offers a mix-and-match approach. Charities choose which card payments are acceptable and are charged on that basis.
You’ve probably seen street vendors and market merchants use the Zettle card reader for on-the-go payments. This platform is great for charities looking to maximise retail space in a fast-paced setting. The little reader and accompanying till devices look sleek and don’t take up a lot of space. Zettle can also complete gift card and refund transactions, making it a good retail option.
Pricing: Card transactions incur a 1.75% charge on the transaction amount.
Payoneer caters to small businesses and freelancers. The payment platform manages payments from other internet services like AirBnB, Fiverr and Upwork. Charities need to have a bank account to move funds in and out of. Charities with international operations should check this one out, as cross-border payments can be made here.
Pricing: Credit card payments incur a fee of 3% of the transaction amount. Payments between Payoneer clients are free of charge.