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  5. 6 Best Credit Card Processing for Churches (Easy Setup) [2024]

6 Best Credit Card Processing for Churches (Easy Setup) [2024]

Ivana Shteriova Ivana ShteriovaFinance Specialist April 24, 2024
April 24, 2024
There are several factors to consider when choosing a payment processor for your church. Since most churches receive support in multiple smaller donations, your per-transaction fees will quickly add up. You’ll need to evaluate whether you can afford higher per-transaction fees or would benefit from subscription-based pricing. What about hidden fees? It seems every payment processor has them, especially those that look cheap at first.

There’s a lot more to consider: most credit card processors lack essential features like recurring billing and shareable payment links, which can help you build a stable donation flow. You’ll also need a processor that can seamlessly integrate into your donation flow. And, ideally, without any expensive setup costs.

Even for someone like me, with a bachelor’s degree in Economics, the credit card industry can be complex and confusing. Armed with two months of extensive research, I know exactly what the best credit card processing for churches is made of. My recommendations are easy to use, have affordable fees, offer free Point-of-Sale (POS) equipment, and have stellar support that will pick up – even during Sunday service.

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS), in particular, offers churches affordable processing solutions. LMS’s custom pricing, model, low fees, top-of-the line equipment, and donation-specific features are a match made in heaven for churches with diverse needs. Keep reading to learn more about its benefits and evaluate my other top options.

Short on Time? These Are the Best Credit Card Processors for Churches in 2024

  1. Expert’s Choice
    1 1LMS_Monogram Leaders Merchant Services
    Leaders Merchant Services is a popular choice with our readers
    Low rates and support for new and established churches that need to maximize donations.
  2. 1 1Paysafe Lockup Off-Black RGB Paysafe Multiple payment methods and multi-currency support for churches with supporters in different countries.
  3. 1 1staxx logo Stax Subscription-style or surcharging plans that help churches with many donations save more.

What We Look For in the Best Credit Card Processing Companies for Churches

After months of research, I can confidently say these are the key features you must consider when selecting a credit card processor for your church:
  • Reasonable fees. I looked for credit card processing companies with payment models favoring organizations that process multiple small transactions monthly. All providers on my list have either affordable fees or discounted rates for churches.
  • Donation tracking and reporting. Most of my recommended credit card processors provide software that allows you to keep track of your donations, and in most cases, you don’t have to pay extra for it.
  • A range of payment methods. This is essential because you’ll want to accommodate diverse donor preferences. Offering ACH and e-check options in addition to credit, debit, and digital wallets can reduce your processing costs because transaction fees are typically lower.
  • Surcharging. Having the option to pass the credit card processing fees to your donors will result in more money for your mission.
  • Free POS equipment. Most of my options provide the equipment for processing in-person donations for free. Some also offer apps that can turn your mobile and tablet into terminals, enabling you to accept donations during events outside your church.

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) gives churches multiple ways to save on processing costs and optimize donations. It offers industry low rates, negotiable plan pricing, top-of-the-line equipment, and tools to manage charitable giving, including subscription and loyalty programs. Fast approval and onboarding and a straightforward setup process allow your church to start collecting donations quickly.

You can choose from an impressive selection of equipment and software from Clover, SwipeSimple, and other high-quality POS systems that help you strengthen giving capabilities. For example, you can download the 360 Donations app for Clover, which allows you to create campaigns, set targets, and segment donation goals. You can also accept donations via PayPal and Venmo, which offer discounted rates for verified charities, and process check donations with Magtek Mini-MICR.

LMS’s rates are among the lowest in the industry. Its pricing model is flexible, allowing you to pay only for the features that you really need. You can save even more if you already use another provider and switch to LMS, as it promises to meet or beat your current rates or give you a $200 gift card if it can’t.

Features and Benefits

  • Customized accounts. Talk to your sales representative about your church’s size, budget, and challenges to receive a more personalized and affordable credit card processing solution.
  • Rich selection of fundraising apps. Through the Clover app marketplace, you’ll have access to a handful of useful fundraising apps, many with free plans or free trials. The customizable DonateNow app helps you to easily collect donations and issue tax receipts, while Donation Kiosk turns your Clover device into a self-service donation kiosk.
  • Free POS equipment. You can get one high-quality Clover device for free with a contract. The Clover Flex for example, is portable and lightweight – perfect for passing along to members during service or for raising funds at charitable events.
  • Flexible funding options. In times of fundraising drought or when you need a cash injection, you can get a merchant cash advance from LMS. This type of funding doesn’t require you to put up collateral – LMS will take a percentage of each future donation, plus a small fee until you pay back the amount you owe.
Read our Leaders Merchant Services review to learn more.

Supported Payment Methods Credit and debit cards, digital wallets, ACH, bank transfers, check
POS Equipment
  • Free equipment with a contract or purchase outright (no contract required)
  • 3 Clover devices, 2 SwipeSimple devices, Magtek Mini-MICR check reader, First Data FD150 terminal and RP10 Pin Pad available to purchase
PCI Compliance Fee $129/year
Transaction fees on cheapest plan ~0.15% + $0
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $9.00

Paysafe is one of the few payment processors that support over 40 currencies. This multi-currency provision provides a seamless process for your foreign supporters to make contributions. Plus, Paysafe accepts 250+ payment methods, including Paypal, Venmo, Skrill, ACH, and credit & debit cards. So, if members of your congregation have family abroad, they can easily donate to your church via their preferred method.

I like how Paysafe offers multiple payment channels, including MOTO, digital invoicing, subscription-based billing, pay-by-link, and QR code payments. Paysafe put a lot of thought into providing versatile payment options so organizations like your church can process payments/donations from anywhere.

Paysafe also partners with Vindicia, a subscription management platform that can help you set up and track recurring donations. The platform includes a Retain tool that can recover failed donation transactions. Paysafe also offers affordable fees, starting as low as 0.50% + $0.10 per transaction and $7.95 monthly.

Features and Benefits

  • Free mobile card reader. If you get an in-person account, Paysafe will give you a free mobile card reader, which can help you save costs.
  • Encytro Advantage Program. For a monthly fee of $29.95 per location, you’ll get access to Paysafe’s Encytro Advantage program. This reimburses you for chargebacks, going up to $250 per chargeback.
  • Advanced APIs. With Paysafe’s API, you can embed a checkout page onto your church’s website, streamlining the donation process for your patrons.
  • Integration with Authorize.net. Paysafe’s integration with Authorize.net lets you use one of the best payment gateways on the market, making it easier to accept online donations and process mail-order/telephone-order (MOTO) donations.
Read our detailed Paysafe review to discover more benefits.

Supported Payment Methods Credit and debit, digital wallets, bank transfers, ACH, EFT, Skrill, Venmo
POS Equipment Clover terminals, Pax A80, Pax A920, and FD150
PCI Compliance Fee $9.95
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 0.50% + $0.10
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95

Stax offers a flat-rate subscription, zero markup on interchange fees, and the lowest per-transaction fees of 0% + 10¢ (in-person) in the industry. Its monthly rate, starting at $99.00 isn’t the cheapest, but Stax’s payment model allows you to save up to 40% compared to traditional providers. This is ideal if you’re a big church with a high volume of transactions and $8,000+ in monthly donations. If you’re processing less, Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) is a better option.

Stax’s monthly subscription includes free surcharging capabilities that allow you to pass a 3% credit processing fee to donors who use their credit card. It also provides fully compliant surcharging technology, so you won’t have to navigate the complex laws by yourself.

Churches get a free terminal for in-person payments. You can also turn your mobile into a terminal with the Stax mobile app and collect donations from anywhere.

Features and Benefits

  • Easy-to-use dashboard and robust analytics. Stax’s free all-in-one software allows you to oversee all your donations, securely store donors’ data, set up recurring payments, and access reports.
  • Free recurring payments. This feature, included in your monthly rate, is a breeze to implement with Stax and can save you up to 40 accounting hours a month. You can set up recurring billing for both credit and debit cards. It’s also a great way to get support from those who may not be able to visit your church.
  • Unlimited Text2Pay mobile payments. With this feature, you can collect donations by sending your donors text reminders, and they can authorize the payment by simply replying to your text. It’s an easy and frictionless donation method you can rarely find elsewhere.
  • Monthly contracts with no cancellation fees. Unlike competitors that will lock you into multi-year contracts, Stax offers flexible monthly agreements and allows you to cancel for free at any time.
Read our expert Stax review for more details.

Supported Payment Methods Credit and debit cards, ACH payments, digital wallets, Text2Pay, bank transfers
POS Equipment
  • Free Dejavoo terminal
  • Dejavoo terminal models, 4 Clover devices (Clover Flex LTE or WI-FI, Mini LTE, Station Solo, Station Duo, and SwipeSimple B250 mobile reader available to purchase
PCI Compliance Fee PCI compliance fee not included
Transaction fees on the cheapest plan 0% + 10¢ (in-person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $99.00

Sekure doesn’t directly provide its own merchant services, but its payment experts can help you negotiate and get a specialized plan for your church. You can start by taking a quick survey on Sekure’s site, where you’ll share details about your church and its needs. By the end of the survey, Sekure will recommend equipment, rates, and merchant services for you. Alternatively, you can opt to speak with Sekure’s team.

If you’re a new church or on a budget, you’ll appreciate Sekure’s free equipment and PCI compliance, which can help minimize costs. You’ll also get same-day or next-day funding for free – something most credit card processors only provide for an additional cost.

Besides Sekure’s customized plan, there’s also the option of zero-cost processing. Sekure’s Edge Program lets you save up to 100% of your processing costs by passing on a 4% charge to donors who contribute via credit card. This is yet another way Sekure helps you reduce the typical fees, although you’d have to pay a $39.95 monthly fee to use Edge.

Features and Benefits

  • Discount for Authorize.net payment gateway. As a Sekure merchant, you can access Authorize.net’s payment gateway at a discounted price or, in some cases, for free.
  • Free virtual terminal. If your church doesn’t have a website, Sekure provides a free virtual terminal for collecting contributions via email, text, or over the phone.
  • Fast payouts. Sekure Payment Experts releases your funds the next business day after processing, sometimes even the same day. This allows you to maintain a healthy cash flow for running church operations.
  • Automated online payments. Sekure enables you to automate online payments by setting up subscriptions and recurring billing for repeat donors. Your supporters can also securely save their card details so they don’t have to re-enter payment details whenever they want to contribute.
For more features, read our expert Sekure review.

Supported Payment Methods Credit and debit cards, digital wallets, ACH, bank transfers
POS Equipment
  • Free equipment of choice
  • Terminals, tablet POS, mobile POS, and other POS devices from various brands available for purchase
PCI Compliance Fee
Transaction fees on cheapest plan 2.99% + 19¢ (in-person & online)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $39.95

5. Helcim: For Churches That Primarily Rely on Online Donations1

When it comes to choosing a credit card processing solution for your church, Helcim stands out as a good choice, especially if you prioritize online donations. While it doesn’t offer free POS equipment, its low-priced card reader is a real bargain. What’s more, your church can use the virtual terminal or mobile app to accept contributions in person and over the phone as well.

A range of features help you build a secure and reliable donation stream. You can add a donate button or form to your church website to enhance online fundraising and create hosted pages for church members. Through tokenization, Helcim securely stores sensitive donor information in its “credit card vault.”

Pricing transparency is another plus. Unlike some other processors, Helcim doesn’t burden churches with monthly fees, hidden charges, or PCI compliance fees. This ensures you’ll never have to worry about unexpected financial surprises that can drain your resources.

Features and Benefits

  • Charity interchange rates. If your church is a certified MCC 8398 nonprofit, Helcim will charge the special charity rates offered by card brands like Visa and Mastercard. These reduced rates can yield substantial savings.
  • Built-in CRM. Helcim’s proprietary CRM gives you tools to manage your donor database so you won’t have to pay for costly third-party software.
  • Recurring donations. With Helcim’s subscription management tools you can easily set up recurring donations. You can track how many donors regularly contribute and customize automated reminders. The system will even flag and notify you when a donor’s credit card is about to expire.
  • Eliminate processing fees. When you enable Helcim Fee Saver, your church can pass along the cost of credit card processing fees to donors. Donors can choose to pay with an ACH transfer, charged at a much lower rate of 0.5% + 25¢, to avoid paying the fee.
See our expert Helcim review for more details.

Supported Payment Methods Credit and debit cards, selected digital wallets, ACH, bank transfers
POS Equipment
  • No free equipment
  • Helcim Smart Terminal with built-in thermal printer, Helcim card reader and thermal printer add-on available to purchase
PCI Compliance Fee
Transaction fees on the cheapest plan 0.30% + 8¢ (in-person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan N/A

6. POS Pros: Best If You Collect Donations From Memberships and Events1

POS Pros integrates with MemberLeap, a comprehensive member-based management system. You can create a donor database and encourage your regular supporters to enroll in recurring donations. The software also offers tools to maintain their engagement, such as newsletters and text messages.

You can also use MemberLeap’s event management tools to increase your funds through charitable events. It allows you to set up a campaign, run promotions, and set up event registrations – all within the same dashboard. With MemberLeap’s volunteer management system and built-in CRM, you can also grow your volunteer base and maintain a more personal touch with each participant.

With monthly fees starting at $5.00 and transaction fees starting at 0.30% + 10¢ (in-person), it’s one of the cheapest options for small- to medium-sized churches. But pricing isn’t set in stone, so make sure you read your contract carefully before putting your signature on it.

Features and Benefits

  • Free POS device and consultation. POS Pros has an impressive range of hardware from 25+ brands. You’ll receive a free consultation with a POS specialist to help you select the best equipment for your needs. You can also qualify for a free terminal.
  • Payment gateway at a discounted rate. If you use MembersLeap through POS Pros, you’ll get access to Authorize.net for less than what you’d pay directly to Authorize.net. Through this advanced payment gateway, you’ll get additional invoicing, subscription, and security tools.
  • Next-day payouts. POS Pros releases your funds to your bank account within 24 hours as standard.
  • Generous price-match policy. If you’re processing credit card donations elsewhere, POS Pros promises to either save you money on your current rates or give you $500 if it fails to offer a better deal. POS Pros will even pay any early termination fees you might encounter at your current processor just to win you as a customer.
Curious to learn more? Take a look at our full POS Pros review.

Supported Payment Methods Credit and debit cards, ACH, bank transfers, digital wallets, QR codes ( depending on the POS brand used)
POS Equipment
  • Free Dejavoo Z11, Clover Mini, or Clover Flex terminals
  • A wide range of POS terminals, systems, and accessories available for purchase
PCI Compliance Fee PCI non-compliance fee applies if PCI self-assessment questionnaire is not submitted within three months
Transaction fees on the cheapest plan 0.30% + 10¢ (in-person)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $5.00

Increase Your Donations by Selecting the Best Credit Card Processor for Your Church

I’ve researched dozens of services that claim to be the best credit card processors for churches, but I gave my amen only to six. Of those, my top recommendations offer affordable rates, personalized accounts, and reliable donation management software.

For most churches, LMS is my top recommendation. Not only does LMS offer one of the lowest rates in the industry1, but you’ll also get free equipment (with a contract) and features to maximize donations. You can really score a bargain with its meet-or-beat guarantee if you already process elsewhere.

If you need international processing support, go with Paysafe1. It supports 40+ currencies, enabling your donors to pay in their local currency. It also accepts over 250 payment methods, allowing your patrons to contribute using their preferred payment option.

Large churches that process a high volume of donations may benefit from Stax’s subscription-style plans with no interchange markup. Stax also offers surcharging1, which allows you to pass the cost of processing credit cards (though not debit cards) along to your donors.

The table below will help you identify the best payment system for your church at a glance.
Best Feature Best For Monthly fee on cheapest plan Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Leaders Merchant Services Personalized payment solutions. Industry low rates, and features to support giving Churches that are looking for affordable pricing and tools to optimize donations $9.00 ~0.15% + $0
Paysafe Accepts 40+ currencies and 250+ payment methods Churches that accept (or want to start accepting) donations from all over the world $7.95 0.50% + $0.10
Stax Subscription pricing model with lowest per-transaction fees that provide up to 40% savings Big churches with high-volume transactions, processing $8,000+/month $99.00 0% + 10¢ (in-person)
Sekure Specialized plans for churches and free features New churches unsure of what they need in a payment solution $39.95 2.99% + 19¢ (in-person & online)
Helcim Affordable and transparent interchange-plus pricing can save churches as much as 25% Churches that prioritize online giving over in-person donations N/A 0.30% + 8¢ (in-person)
POS Pros Comprehensive association management software and an impressive range of hardware Churches that want to organize fundraising events to secure ongoing support $5.00 0.30% + 10¢ (in-person)


What is the best payment processor for churches?

The best payment processing company for churches is Leaders Merchant Services, as it offers church’s essential payment solutions at the most affordable prices. LMS provides donor-specific features like payment links, recurring payments, and access to useful apps which are critical for establishing a stable donation flow.

How to choose the right credit card processing company for a church?

To choose the best church credit card processor, consider your congregation size, donation frequency, and required features. Leaders Merchant Services, for example, is the best option if you want low rates, high-quality POS equipment, and features for enhancing donations. Paysafe, on the other hand, can help you accept donations from around the world, as it accepts 40+ currencies and 250+ payment methods.

Do churches have to pay credit card fees?

Yes, churches must pay fees when accepting donations through credit cards. Some of the best credit card processors for churches offer specialized and affordable plans for 501(c)(3) organizations. This can help you keep a higher percentage of your donations and support your church’s mission.

How to get free credit card processing for churches?

There’s no free credit card processing for churches, but to reduce your costs, explore partnerships with payment processors that offer surcharging capability. It allows you to have congregants cover the credit card processing fees as part of their donations. You’ll still have to pay the card issuer’s interchange rate and your subscription cost, including any extra fees for services not covered.

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