Simple Give: Not So Simple After All

Two years ago we offered the option of paying pledges on credit cards through a program called “Simple Give”, which is used by a number of churches.  The advantage to both the Church and the member is that the member can set up a payment or payment stream and forget about it, as the payments will recur automatically.

After two years’ experience, it turns out that Simple Give is not so simple after all, or as advantageous as we thought at first.  The enrollment process is somewhat cumbersome, and omitting the number of payments intended and the beginning and ending dates results in payments continuing until the credit card expiration date.

Also, if a credit card expires and is replaced or is cancelled for any reason, all payments stop, requiring the card holder to go back on-line and re-enroll.

All of this requires staff time to monitor and track down problems.  It also inconveniences the members, who must re-enroll.  Furthermore, the Church has to pay a processing fee on credit card payments, so from a member pledging and intending to pay $2,000 the Church would receive only about $1,940.

We do not intend to cancel the credit card payment option.  However, we believe members who pay their bills online might find it less cumbersome and equally convenient to arrange automatic periodic payments to the Church through that facility.  That process is equally as automatic, is more dependable, involves less hassle and is more financially advantageous to the Church, and we urge you to explore that option with your bank.

We also suggest that members who wish to continue charging their pledge payments on credit cards consider increasing their payments by 3% to offset the processing fee we have to pay.  That will ensure the intended pledge is paid fully in accordance with its terms.