We are just over a month into 2019, and we are amazed at how many churches have started using Online Giving. As seen in our older article Three Myths about Online Giving, accepting donations online is a great way to save your church time and encourage your people to give more regularly. That being said, we want to remind all our churches that anytime you are accepting money, there are risks associated with it.
Due to the world we live in, there are many individuals out there looking for opportunities to take advantage of others. In the same way we wouldn't let an offering plate sit out in the open unwatched for days, we must also do the same for Online Giving.
What risk is associated with Online Giving?
As a church, we are liable to pay any chargebacks due to fraudulent charges. These chargebacks can range anywhere from 10-$20 each time they are done. Though it may not sound like much, having multiple chargebacks occur can be a serious problem if they are not addressed.
How do I identify fraudulent charges?
Do you know the person giving? - If you don't know who the person is that gave online, it would be good to do a little research and also reach out if necessary.
Is the email valid? - If the email address isn't valid and you don't know who the person is, you should get to the bottom of it.
Is the amount given strange or small? - Often times, individuals with stolen credit cards will run very small charges to make sure the card works before they attempt to run up the card with multiple fraudulent charges. Charges under $10 should be suspect to you.
How do I combat chargebacks and fraudulent charges?
The best way to combat chargebacks due to fraudulent charges is to proactively refund donations ASAP. It is significantly cheaper to eat the cost of a transaction than it is to have a chargeback. Worst case scenario, you accidentally refund a legitimate donation and they have to redo the donation. Depending on the volume of your Online Giving, it may be a smart thing to check your donations every day or two to make sure there's no funny business going on. Don't let your "online offering plate" go unattended.
If you're reading this article and your church hasn't started using Online Giving...what are you waiting for? Click HERE to learn more about ChurchTrac Online Giving and start today!