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Best payment processors to receive online donations for startup NGO’s

You’ve set up your nonprofit with an online donation page on the website. Now it’s time to pick a payment processor. Where do we go from there? Well, there’s so many options to pick from when choosing an online payment service that best suits your nonprofit. It can be overwhelming as you do your research online but we are here to lessen your confusion in the easiest way possible by breaking down these 3 biggest payment processors used by thousands of organisations around the world.  

First things first. 

What is an online payment processor?

An online payment service or processor, as it relates to nonprofits, is a company that deals with credit or debit card transactions between donors and nonprofits. The background process involves handling donors’ financial information whenever they make an online donation transaction like submitting a donation or supporting an art contest by buying art pieces. 

1. Stripe

Overview

Stripe offers simple integration with WordPress by linking to your website via the API key associated with your account. Some knowledge about WordPress and how to install plugins and add-ons is all you need to get this one going. 

Why we love it

  • Short customer online journey

Stripe allows you to create a donation form directly on your site without having to open third-party forms and pages in a new tab. It’s always important to avoid lengthening the payment process as it easily turns off the person looking to donate. Take a look at how quick it is to fill out this Shine International donation form.

  • User experience

A good example of a company that has managed to offer an excellent user experience (UX) is Instagram. It disabled links on its application to encourage users to stay longer on it and not be directed away from it. The same applies to you when you choose Stripe. Your web visitors will stay longer on the website and will discover more about your organisation than what they originally came looking for which is obviously a good thing.

  • Accepts over 135 currencies. Talk about offering the utmost flexibility! 

What we don’t like 

Stripe’s transaction fees are in the higher range for most payment processors. 

Pricing

Stripe charges a flat rate of 2.9% + 30 C per successful credit and debit card transaction. 

International Transactions: Additional 1%

Currency Conversion Fee: Additional 1%

 2. PayPal 

Overview

PayPal still remains one of the commonest and easiest ways to accept payments online but it depends on the budget and volume. So, which is better?

PayPal Standard Vs PayPal Payments Pro. 

The standard account is free and allows you to put the typical PayPal button on your site linking to a form hosted on PayPal’s server. When you click on the “checkout through PayPal” button, it opens a new tab and redirects the user to a form generated by PayPal.

The pro version has a monthly fee and different transaction fees that vary depending on the transaction details. The advantage with the pro account is that it allows for a good user experience where your user stays on your site without having to login their details on the PayPal site. 

Why we love it

It’s pretty affordable for small nonprofits that don’t have big budgets yet to pay for elite fundraising and payment processing tools. If you’re not yet at that level, it’s okay to work with what you have. One of our clients, Remnant Generation is relatively new in the digital market but effectively uses PayPal.

You receive money into your account within one day of payments.

What we don’t like

As explained in the overview, the user has to get off your website and be redirected to the Paypal account if you’re using the free account that is. It therefore doesn’t offer the best user experience.

Pricing

2.9% + 30 C per successful transaction

3.5% per International Transaction

4.4% + fixed fee Monthly Fee: $30  

ServiceStripePayPal Standard
Fee per Transaction*2.9% + 30¢2.9% + 30¢
Nonprofit Discount*2.2% + 30¢2.2% + 30¢
Setup Costs or Monthly FeesNoNo
Contract RequiredNoNo
Micropayments (<$10)Same Flat Rate5% + .05¢
Recurring BillingYesNo
Chargeback Fee$15$20
RefundsNo Fees ReturnedNo Fees Returned
Customer SupportEmail, Help Center, 24/7 Phone & ChatEmail, Help Center, Phone & Chat
Ease of UseEasyEasy
Ease of SetupModerateEasy
PCI ComplianceYesYes
Countries Available32+200+
Access to Funds Times2 Days (Average)Immediate
Data PortabilityYesNo
Online InvoicingFree for your first $1M in salesFree
In-Person Card Readers

PaidFree & Paid
Payments Handled 100% on Your SiteYesNo
*US-based only. Fees vary by country.

3. iATS Payments 

Overview

iATS Payments is known to be the leading provider for payment solutions with over 14,000 non profit organisations in their clientele database. It has partnerships with dozens of nonprofit fundraising software providers, making integrations with different platforms no problem for nonprofits who work with a number of different solutions.It accepts various forms of payment methods which include mobile payments, all major credit cards, CDN payments and ACH payments. 

Why we love it

  • iATS has high levels of security in their system. Payments online are super convenient but it brings with it worry and uncertainty as you could be duped but iATS maintains the highest level of PCI-compliance (with plenty of fraud prevention methods in place). If your organisation solely depends on donors, this would be a great option for you to try. 
  • Donors can also set up a recurring donation and have great responsiveness and useful support to their clients. 

What we don’t like

iATS limits the types of currencies it allows to transact. Infact, it only permits CAD, USD, GBP, EUR which is disadvantageous to many people. 

If your donors currency is in Ugandan shillings, you’re bound to lose out on donations so we wouldn’t advise going with this payment process.

Pricing 

iATS’ credit card processing rates range from 2.49% to 3.2%, depending on the card type. ACH processing costs a flat fee of $0.26 per transaction. No extra charges on set-up fees.  

And there you go!Feel less confused? Now all you have to do is choose. Ideally, you should always choose a payment processor that integrates with your web forms, including your branding, like our simple fill out form by Stripe but if you can’t choose, you can add another payment method to the site to give your donors options. 

Alternatively, leave a feedback form on the donation page to hear from your well-wishers on their experience using the payment options you offered them. It can go a long way in helping your organisation make the best decisions. 

Tess Hazel

Tess Hazel is the copywriter at era92 Creative. She loves to read novels and runs a personal blog about poetry and creative nonfiction short stories.

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+1(213) 674-9869
info@era92.com

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info@era92.com

USA Office

9385 12th Ave Sw seattle, wa 98106
+1(213) 674-9869
info@era92.com

UK Office

12 Mill Square Portstewart BT55 7TB Northern Ireland
+44 7956 989809‬

Uganda Office

Lungujja, Kampala along Kalema Road
+256 784 239 786‬
info@era92.com
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