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Apple Pay and Google Pay and Venmo...Oh My!

What do these "payment methods" mean for your nonprofit?

And, more importantly, what are they?

Apple Pay and Google Pay and Venmo...Oh My!

Screech! Stop right there, with misconception number one. Apple Pay and Google Pay and Venmo are not payment methods. Misconception number two? They’re not even payment gateways. So what are they? 

They are buzzworthy, super cool ways of making it easier for donors to give (or for you to go to the grocery store or pay your friend back for half of dinner). And they’re not all the same.  

CharityEngine lives in the payment processing world, and we’re always announcing big news about our capabilities. And our clients often ask us about the big three “payment processors” mentioned above, and about how soon they can get those buttons on their websites. We’re here to simplify what these are and give you a hint about when our clients can see them (and why they might want to). 

Apple Pay and Google Pay for Nonprofits 

These are a little different from Venmo so this is where we will start. You likely know that these are payment options allowing you, as a consumer, to tap your phone on a screen to pay a bill. You can also choose Apple Pay or Google Pay as an option at checkout when you’re shopping online. 

And now we’re painting the use case for nonprofits. If your donation page has the giving options of ACH payments, credit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay, you’re giving donors plenty of options and (we say it all the time) making it easy to give. Just remember:

  • ACH payments, or direct bank transfers, are a payment method.
  • Credit cards are a payment method.
  • A check you get in the mail or cash dropped in a bucket are payment methods. 

Apple and Google are offering virtual wallets.

These well-known, trust-inspiring companies help you submit your payment info quickly, all with the click of a button. When a donor clicks, the information from their credit card or bank account comes into CharityEngine if that's your payment processor), and then it’s processed just like any other transaction.  

The payment method is still a bank account or credit card. The payment processor is still CharityEngine. Apple Pay and Google Pay are conveniences for a donor, so they don’t have to enter their account information to donate. 




What Apple Pay and Google Pay Mean for Nonprofits 

Let’s answer the big questions we’re getting from our clients. 

  • When will these buttons be available on our website? Being in marketing, I can confidently say, “Any day now! Right around the corner!” Behind me, the development teams are shaking their heads, saying, “End of March. Or within a day or two thereafter.” We are simply testing them to make sure the functionality is seamless and reliable before we launch them. 
  • Can I track how these buttons are used, like I can with a credit card or ACH payment? Yup, we’re all about data, and Apple Pay and Google Pay transactions will be marked accordingly. So nonprofits will be able to look at a dashboard and see how often these buttons are being used and the funds that have been raised using them. 
  • What are some best practices for these options? It’s important that you offer line-item details, so a donor's statement reads “$50 donation” instead of just “Google Pay.” As always, you can make it even easier to give if you offer predetermined payment options so donors can check a box (or they have the option to enter an amount manually). CharityEngine will have a website page detailing onboarding and best practices, so you’ll have a lot of guidance moving forward. 

Venmo for Nonprofits  

You might see Venmo buttons on nonprofit donation pages. Venmo, owned by PayPal, swooped onto the scene and offered peer-to-peer payments without any fees. So, any smart charity might think, why don’t we accept Venmo transactions and not have to pay any fees for donations? 

Venmo/PayPal caught on pretty quickly, as you might assume they would. According to Venmo rules, nonprofits must now create a charity profile, and donations accepted there will be subject to fees.  

Is Venmo an option for CharityEngine clients? The short answer is that it can be. We are rolling out Apple Pay and Google Pay first and can then look into demand to see if Venmo is appealing to our clients. It’s a great idea for clients to come to our next product showcase webinar and let our development team know that’s something your nonprofit might like to see. 

Even More Payment Options for Nonprofits  

Take a look at this. One CharityEngine client, Metabolic Terrain Institute for Health, wanted to expand its donation choices. payment options

As you can see, our developers added a crypto/stock button to this donation form. We end with this example to show you that we will help our clients make it easy for donors to give, even if it means delving into a little custom work. When your mission is to change the world, our mission is to make that as easy as it can be. 

But the reminder we offer is this: you can dress up bank transfers or credit card payments in Apple Pay, Google Pay, or even Venmo, but they’re not payment methods or payment gateways. They’re virtual wallets, meaning that donors can give without entering account information. 

And we offer this distinction for two reasons. One, we will always listen to our clients and modify our software to best meet the largest needs. Two, even if you’re not our client, we want you to be educated about what’s happening in the nonprofit tech world, and this article was written to clarify some often-misunderstood facts. 

It goes without saying that if you’re not a client, and you’re a nonprofit finding us pretty darn smart and transparent, give us a call and we'll show you what we’ve got.