If you’re like me, you probably find yourself paying for goods and services with that handy little piece of plastic you carry around everywhere—your credit card. From small items at a local convenient store, to large appliances, and definitely with online shopping, that credit card gives you the convenience and quickness of paying for anything you want. With everyone having one and merchants everywhere taking them, it was only a matter of time before churches and organizations alike started allowing people to make donations by credit cards. Before doing this, however, you should read on and take some precautions to ensure you are faithfully handling your money and know what to expect when donating by credit card.
The Technical Details
Just about all of you reading this won’t have a problem with learning how to make a donation with your credit card. Quite honestly, it’s pretty much the same as if you were to buy some type of product online or at a store. Essentially, what you need to do is find out if the church or organization you want to donate to has the capabilities of accepting credit cards. Believe it or not, there are many charities and churches in particular that will not accept cards; some do this out of principle, not wanting to encourage debt, while others decide it’s not a financially wise move for them. More often than not, they will have to pay a transaction or convenient fee for allowing the use of credit cards. So, that $50.00 tithe you made online won’t actually be $50.00 in the hands of the church or charity—it would be a handful of dollars less. So, before making a donation by credit card, make sure you have all the details and information necessary.
Be a Good Steward With Your Money
The Bible never has nice things to say about debt. In fact, all of the times debt is mentioned within the Bible, it is negative. This is not to say that those in debt are filthy sinners. However, debt is a huge problem in the world today (just ask congress). Students are facing thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt, nations continually sink deeper into their financial woes, and individuals often purchase items (hello iPhone 6) that they cannot afford. It’s a vicious and terrible cycle, and credit cards certainly help exacerbate the problem. Dave Ramsey, a popular financial radio host and outspoken Christian, always mentions how credit cards can become problematic very quickly. People tend to spend more with plastic in their hands, and reason seems to escape their brains. With this in mind, before donating by credit card, you must make sure that you are being a good financial steward of your money. It would be bad to continually charge your card with tithes to your church, then realize you have no money and cannot pay your credit card payment.
Online, Over the Phone, or In Person
The times I have donated using a card, I’ve encountered three general ways of doing it. You can usually donate by going to the church or charity’s website, talk to someone over the phone, or meet with them in person. Which one do you choose? It largely is based on your personality. Many people feel uncomfortable sharing credit card information over the phone, while others may think the online forms are not secure and thus can be broken into and leave their information very vulnerable. If neither one of those work for you, remember that you can always meet with someone in person and deal with them face to face.
Should you donate using a credit card? Although it seems like a simple question, the answer is anything but. Many people enjoy the convenience of hooking up their card with an online tithing account or some type of regular and consistent donation that gets charged monthly (or weekly, yearly, etc.). Some people feel inclined to do it because of how easy it is, but others also do it because they get some type of perks (miles, rewards, cash back.). What do you think? Should people ever use a credit card to donate money to a charitable organization or to send a tithe to their church? Share your thoughts with me by dropping a comment in the space below!
Related reading: Advantages of Offering Online Giving