Is It Time to Automate Your Church’s Offering Plate?

At one time, churchgoers carried checks or cash to Sunday service, holding it in waiting until the offering plate was passed around. But we live in an increasingly cashless world, making it likely congregants will find, in the middle of service, that they have insufficient cash. Even personal checks are less of an option these days, as fewer and fewer people are lugging checkbooks around on the off chance they might encounter a merchant who doesn’t take cash or credit cards.

Just as technology has changed the way we pay bills and handle daily sales transactions, churches are learning new ways to take up offerings, and they have nothing to do with that large silver platter. Here are some of the exciting ways churches and religious groups are accepting credit card payments.

  • Lobby kiosks. Similar to ATMs, these kiosks are often located in church lobbies, featuring a touchscreen that allows members to tithe before or after the service. Churches that install these services report an increase in giving, according to The Christian Post.
  • Online payments. At one time, churches handed out envelopes to members to allow them to mail checks to the office. Today, churches are beginning to contract with third-party companies to offer the option of tithing online. E-giving, as some churches call it, also allows users to set up automatic payments, providing more consistency (and higher revenues for the church). Instead of relying on a member being at church each week to put the offering in the plate, the member is now able to give every week, whether or not he or she is able to attend services.
  • Mobile card readers. For churches that don’t want to pay the hefty¬† expense of purchasing and installing a kiosk, a GoPayment reader could be a great solution. The reader can be used both in the church office and during services, processing donations for members who are unable to pay by cash or check. Payments are handled completely electronically and a receipt can even be emailed to the member once the transaction is complete. Additionally, GoPayment gives churches the ability to manually key in credit card numbers for phone payments, allowing absentee members to stay on track with their tithing goals. Church offices can also accept payments for wedding rental fees, donations for special events, and more.

About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who also works in information systems. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.
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