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Don’t Have Cash for the Collection? Just Swipe Your Card

Credit Cards in the Offering Plate?

As the hymn begins and the ushers come forward, there is the unmistakable sound of hundreds of people reaching for their wallets and purses to find bills to stuff in the collection basket. Now, a new sound may be heard at this time–the sound of people swiping their credit cards. As society moves away from cash transaction, churches are beginning to feel the pressure to add credit cards to their list of acceptable donations in the collection basket.

An article on MoneyTalksNews mentions two companies, ParishPay and SecureGive, who provide credit card services specifically to religious organizations and non-profits. ParishPay works with Catholic churches and synagogues and they claim to have increased the amount given to the institutions they serve by 20 percent or more. SecureGive works with everyone from churches to Hindu temples, zoos and hospitals and they usually use special kiosks within the facility.

credit cardWhat is driving this interest in new payment methods? Basically, people just aren’t carrying much cash anymore. Figures on creditcards.com indicate that 80 percent of consumers carry a credit card, 78 percent carry a debit card and 17 percent carry a prepaid card of some kind. There are also online payment services like PayPal and cell phone based payment services, and almost all of these options discussed are generally considered to be safer than walking around with a large wad of cash. With this new method of tithing, it’s important to be more mindful of where your money is going after you swipe your card; to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to monitor your credit report regularly or join a service like Lifelock to protect your identity.

One Southern Baptist pastor comments in his Blog that his aversion to taking credit cards has to do with the belief that the “Bible actively discourages indebtedness because the borrower becomes a slave to the lender.” Other followers of the Bible might think of the passages about Jesus angrily driving money changers from the temple. The key to using credit cards wisely is Responsible Stewardship.

The relationship between religion and money, particularly through the process of tithing or giving donations to the church, has always been difficult. While the religious institutions clearly need the donations to continue to function and provide charitable assistance to their congregations, there is concern that the people who give to the church cannot always afford to do so, and credit card donations could make it even easier to spend beyond their means.

Religious institutions need to keep money flowing in if they want to continue to operate, so it is in their best interest to make it as easy as possible for people to make donations. Accepting credit and debit cards will certainly make it easier for people to donate, and it should be safe as long as people take basic precautions when using their card.Credit cards offering

Other options for supporting your church are via online giving which many churches are adopting. One organization that is helping churches set up websites and online giving options is Clover Donations through their “Blue Pay” processing system.

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Photo Credits: by Qfamily