We weigh up the most cost-effective and useful online payments platforms for small and medium sized charities.
Integrating into the UK’s cashless society is essential for charities big and small. 64% of UK adults own a credit card while debit card was the most frequently used payment method in 2017. To keep up with the way donors are using their cards, using a payment gateway can help charities automate debit and credit card transactions.
Things to consider include whether payments are made just online, in a charity shop or by a fundraiser in the street; whether transaction amounts are large or small; and how frequently payments are made. We’ve shortlisted some of the most cost-effective, flexible and reliable platforms for charities:
One of the most well-known payment platforms, WorldPay offers charities a whole suite of options – from accepting credit cards to managing all other types of business payments. In addition to opening e-commerce payments for charities, WorldPay offer services for line and equipment rentals so charities can accept physical payments from credit and debit cards.
The platform is feature-rich, with the ability to collect recurring donations, and make better decisions and get insight into donor habits through a data reporting function. Online, charities can accept donations using their existing payment pages or let WorldPay provide a customised solution to process payments without sending visitors off their website. Pricing, while not specific to charities, is across four tiers.
The Simplicity Plan and Fixed Monthly plan may appeal to charities looking for fixed basic costs and services. The Simplicity Plan charges a gateway fee of 10p per transaction, on top of a monthly online fee of £19.95.
Verdict: Charities with many different activities should look here to manage payments.
Aimed specifically at the non-profit sector, LibertyPay is marketed as a low-cost, flexible payment option for small and medium sized charities. LibertyPay’s services include contactless donation boxes and card machines, online payments and telephone payments. The company acquired charity payment gateway CharityClear in 2017.
All profits made through the platforms are donated to annual charity beneficiaries. This year, Marie Curie is the chosen charity for 2019; last year’s charity was Epilepsy Scotland. Pricing is available on request, as LibertyPay work with charities on a personalised basis to develop a tailor-made solution that is cost effective for them.
Verdict: A good option for charities looking for a provider with charity-specific support and the flexibility to manage different payment options including donation boxes and card machines.
Stripe’s platform is dedicated to e-commerce and online fundraising. Payments can be integrated into an e-commerce store, website or crowdfunding platform. Stripe’s payment extension (plug-in) can even be attached to a WordPress website, allowing charities to direct payments from any credit card directly into a bank account. An account can be set up within minutes, making things very easy for charities, and its setup is designed for simplicity, but there are also lots of options for developers to adapt the platform in different ways.
Pricing for the UK is set at a flat rate of 2.4% and 20p per transaction. For charities accepting payments totalling more than £250,000 bespoke pricing is available.
Verdict: Stripe’s strength lies in its simplicity, flexibility to integrate with online platforms, and ease of use.
Offering payment services for e-commerce, physical Point of Sale payments and telephone payments, SagePay is one of the more established providers. Charities can use the SagePay’s drop-in checkout on existing payment pages to take credit and debit card payments, with an option to collect Gift Aid on donations.
As the biggest independent payment gateway provider in Europe, SagePay is a well-respected and a recognised brand and offers great support for its clients due to their high level of expertise. Allowing for further customisation, SagePay’s services can be tailored with custom form integration, and can integrate with payroll, accounting and other systems such a PayPal.
SagePay has advanced fraud screening and complies with PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards. Helpful for charities still unsure about online payments, a sandbox environment is also available for them to experiment with before going live. Pricing for SagePay plans start at around £20.90 per month, allowing for 350 transactions. The corporate plan, for larger charities, allows for 3,000 transactions and includes dedicated customer service options.
Verdict: Tried, tested and true, SagePay is a safe choice that also integrates well across different systems.