You’re a professional fundraiser — you know the ins and outs of online fundraising, the dos and don’ts of setting up your donation page, and all the best practices for keeping donors coming back. But did you know that not all online payment processing fees are what they seem?
When you’re shopping for an online payment processor and comparing fees, keep an eye out for these caveats:
Qualified Cards vs. Unqualified Cards
Some vendors’ fees vary based on different types of transactions. There are “qualified” transactions, “unqualified” transactions, and sometimes “mid-qualified” transactions. There are a lot of different qualifiers that have to be met for a transaction to be qualified, and you can look here if you feel like trying to figure out what type of transaction is which.
Figuring out a provider’s rates can be tricky, but it gets even weirder when you realize that not all providers list their mid-qualified and unqualified transaction rates. You might see one rate listed on their site, followed by an asterisk and a teeny-tiny disclaimer at the bottom of the page about how the rate only applies to qualified transactions… and a lot of people miss the asterisk. Make sure you read carefully!
Every nonprofit dreams of getting thousands and thousands of dollars in donations someday, which makes this particular fee especially annoying. It’s not unheard of for different solutions to vary their fees based on the number of donations you receive. Nonprofits who process less than a certain amount per month may pay a different transaction fee than those who process more in donations.
This usually isn’t a major issue — providers typically charge lower rates for nonprofits that process over a certain threshold, which is nice if you’re having a particularly successful fundraising season. But if you’re having a slow month in online donations, double-check your statements to make sure you’re not being charged a higher transaction fee. Every provider is different, so double-check how your provider handles fluctuating transaction volumes.
Qgiv Tip: Qgiv clients, you don’t have to worry about either of these fees! Your fees stay the same regardless of your transaction volume, and we don’t charge differently for qualified/ mid-qualified/ unqualified cards. If you have questions about the fees you’re paying for your donations, you can check out your statements for a refresher. Just log into your dashboard and click “Statements.” You’ll see a breakdown of each transaction and the associated fee. If you still have questions, feel free to call us — we’re always happy to help!