What do you know about nonprofit payment processors?
Your answer may be, "Honestly, not much, other than knowing they help nonprofits collect donations online." If this is all you know about payment processors, you're certainly not alone! Though nonprofit payment processors are essential tools for strengthening your organization's online presence and powering your operations, their technical nature can make them confusing to understand and shop for.
But that doesn't mean you should simply flip a coin to pick your organization's payment processor. In fact, choosing a nonprofit payment processor will be one of the most important steps you take in building or revamping your organization's website, and will require thorough research to get right. That's where this guide comes in, designed to teach you the basics of payment processors and give you our top recommended providers.
In it, we'll cover the following:
If you're ready to take control of how your organization accepts every kind of payment from donations to membership dues, and provide donors with a safe, secure, and easy donation process, this is the article for you. Let's jump in!
Before you can pick a payment processor for your nonprofit, it's worth learning what this tool actually does. Read on to gain an understanding of the basics.
A nonprofit payment processor is the backend tool that takes funds from your donors' bank accounts and deposits them in your nonprofit's bank account. In other words, when a supporter uses your website to submit a donation, pay membership fees, register for an event, or buy merchandise from your online store, a payment processor helps your organization actually collect that money.
For example, say a donor uses their debit or credit card to make a payment on your website. They enter their payment information, and then their card information is sent through the payment gateway to be validated by the card association. As long as the card’s information is legitimate, the transaction will be processed by your payment provider. The process is even easier for ACH (automated clearing house) payments, as there's no card association involved.
An application program interface (API) integration between your content management system (CMS) and payment processor allows your organization to accept online payments directly through your nonprofit's website. API integration will help you avoid sending your supporters to a third-party platform to make their donation or purchase, eliminating worries about the safety of their personal or financial information and keeping your supporters on your website longer.
Note that some organizations will have less control over their payment processing than others. For example, nonprofits using a less comprehensive CMS will likely have to purchase a separate fundraising platform and aren't likely to be able to choose their payment processor. But, for nonprofits using a CMS that allows you to create your own payment forms, choosing and integrating a payment processor will be an important part of creating a robust online giving tool.
According to Re:Charity's guide to donation processors for nonprofits, there are two types of payment processors — aggregators and dedicated payment processors.
Aggregators are tools that use the same merchant account for all of the organizations they serve. They're easy and cheap to use, but because they host multiple organizations on one account, security can be easily compromised. Plus, many of them have caps on deposits.
On the other hand, dedicated payment processors create personalized merchant accounts for each individual organization, meaning your data and transactions will be more secure. This type of payment processor takes a little more work to get set up but is well worth it for the added security.
It goes without saying that some nonprofit payment processors will be better equipped to meet your organization's needs than others. Though you'll need to take your nonprofit's unique characteristics into account when shopping for a solution, here are four universal "must-have" features to look for:
Note that most of these essential features focus on one thing — security. Keeping your donors' data secure will ensure that your organization's reputation remains intact, enabling you to retain supporters and keep moving your mission forward. In addition to these features, make sure to look for a processor that is affordable and that provides top-notch customer support.
Now that you know what a nonprofit payment processor is and what to look for as you shop, it's time to do some thorough research on different providers. Here are our top 10 recommendations!
Stripe is Morweb's preferred payment processor. Stripe accepts all major credit cards and over 135 different currencies. Through API integration with your nonprofit CMS, donors can simply enter their credit card information on your website’s donation form and their payment information will automatically be passed along to Stripe for processing.
As a leading nonprofit CMS, the Morweb platform is equipped to integrate with a wide variety of payment processors to accept online donations directly through our built-in payment forms.
Morweb partners with Stripe to allow for advanced integration with our CMS platform. Stripe is our preferred payment processor for all of Morweb’s nonprofit website modules, including donations, event ticketing, and eCommerce.
Nonprofit websites built on the Morweb platform that use Stripe as their payment processor will gain access to a Stripe reporting dashboard in the backend of their website. With this feature, they can see all of their website and payment data in one simplified interface.
To learn more about Morweb's integration with Stripe and to get started setting it up, visit this page.
American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, JCB, Diners Club International, UnionPay, and ACH transactions
Supports over 135 different currencies
2.9% + $0.30 for Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express
While Donorbox isn't a payment processor itself, it is a powerful recurring donation platform for nonprofit organizations. It offers a variety of features such as donation pages, donate buttons, donor management, automatic donation receipts, goal meters, crowdfunding, and more.
Debit Cards, Credit Cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, and low-fee ACH and Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) bank transfers
Supports over 20 popular currencies
1.5% Donorbox fee + 2.9% + 30¢ (For Stripe) or 2.2% + 30¢ (For PayPal) or 0.8% + (capped at $5) (For ACH Bank Payments)
iATS Payments is a payment processor specifically for nonprofits. For over 20 years, iATS Payments has allowed nonprofits to collect online donations securely and efficiently.
Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and ACH transactions
CAD, USD, GBP, EUR, CHF; gateway services to an additional 180 currencies
Depends on the card type
PayPal is an excellent nonprofit payment processor because it is so well-known. If your donors are located in North America, chances are they already have a PayPal account. This makes the donation process straightforward because your donors can simply enter their password instead of typing in their credit card details.
Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diners Club International, and EnRoute
Supports 25 currencies
1.99% + fixed fee based on currency received
2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
WePay offers quick and easy integrated payments. The payment processing is handled by Chase, a top financial institution in the United States.
Currently, WePay only supports users in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. If your nonprofit is international and receives donations in many different currencies, you may need a payment processor that is equipped to handle these types of donations.
Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and ACH transactions
USD, CAD, GBP
2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, 1% + $0.30 for ACH transactions
TransNational Payments allows you to accept online and recurring payments easily and securely. TransNational is a merchant service provider, so all payments are processed through their account.
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club International, JCB, BC, and UnionPay
Annual fee up to $95 per year for 3 years
Fundly is primarily a crowdfunding platform with built-in payment processing. Fundly offers a variety of tools to help nonprofits maximize online donations.
American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover
CAD, USD, AUD, GBP, CFP, and MXN
Fundly platform fee 4.9% + credit card processing fee 2.9% + $.30/transaction
Moneris is Canada’s top payment processor, founded by RBC and BMO Bank of Montreal. Moneris supports payment processing for a wide variety of industries, including nonprofits.
Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club International, JCP, Interac, UnionPay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay
Supports over 90 currencies
2.65% fee per transaction
Authorize.net is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Visa. Operating since 1996, Authorize.net is a leading provider of payment gateway services, managing the submission of transactions and processing networks on behalf of merchant customers.
Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, Discover, PayPal, Apple Pay
CAD, AUD, USD, EUR, GBP
$25 monthly and 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Braintree is a PayPal company that offers the utmost flexibility in payment options for your organization’s donors.
Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Maestro, JCB, Discover, Diners Club International, Unionpay, Venmo, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal, Masterpass, and more
CAD, USD, AUD, GBP, RMB, HKD, NZD, MYR
2.59% + $.49 per transaction
Choosing the right nonprofit payment processor is a crucial first step in providing your supporters with a great donation experience. Now that you know what a nonprofit payment processor does and the different types and features to look for, you and your team can begin narrowing down these top providers and deciding on the processor that will most effectively help you move your mission forward.
After you've picked your payment processor, you'll want to optimize other aspects of the donation process. Check out these additional resources that can help: