Since the early 2000s, the name PayPal has been the go to for online payments.
The money transferring giant, which also owns Venmo, basically revolutionized the process of non-physical financial transactions for the internet age.
So you might be asking yourself, “Should I use PayPal to accept donations at my church?”
Sure, you could.
But you could also mow your lawn with a chainsaw or drive to work in a golf cart.
PayPal’s Donate button doesn’t easily allow donors to designate their donation for a specific church fund, setting up recurring payments can be a chore, donors need a PayPal account, PayPal doesn’t offer text or kiosk giving, and doesn’t have dedicated customer service for churches, just to name a few reasons.
But there are some great online payment and money transfer tools out there designed specifically for churches that work seamlessly with your church management system, so let’s take a look.
PayPal alternatives for churches
PayPal is known for being easy to use, secure, and reliable, so those are all features we should look for in our alternatives for churches.
To keep things simple, we’re only including tools that are primarily designed for money transfers. Many popular church management systems—such as Servant Keeper, Church Community Builder, and ChurchTrac—have online payments integration built in, but in this article we will focus on dedicated apps.
I’ve only included options that have an ease of use rating of at least 4/5 on our site, with five or more reviews. I also looked for apps specifically designed for churches and faith-based organizations, and listed my findings in order of ease of use rating, then number of reviews.
Finally, at the end we’ll check out two unconventional selections that can save your church a lot of money that could instead be used to help people in need around the world.
Making a payment with Apple Pay in Tithe.ly
Ease of use: 5/5
Tithe.ly offers five different ways to pay:
- A mobile app for iOS and Android
- Text giving (additional fee)
- An online giving module built into your website
- Donation kiosks at your church using tablets or laptops
- By envelope, with administrative entry
There are no upfront costs, just a per-charge fee, and Tithe.ly gives donors the option to cover that fee themselves so that your church gets 100% of their donation.
Reviewers have praised Tithe.ly for its competitive pricing and ease of use.
Price: 2.9% + 30 cents per credit/debit card transaction. 1.0% + 30 cents per direct pay charge. Add text giving for $19/month.
Have you tried Tithe.ly? Leave a review!
A quick tour of Givelify
Ease of use: 5/5
Givelify aims to remove as many barriers as possible between donors and the act of making a donation. So they don’t bother with text donations or online kiosks, and the customizable app (mobile or web-based) allows users to donate in as few as three taps by choosing from a selection of donation amounts, kind of like when you’re withdrawing cash from the ATM (if anyone still does that).
Givelify’s online portal for administrators provides reports and campaigns for specific causes.
Reviewers seem to love Givelify for its simplicity, customer service, and easy pricing.
Price: 2.9% + 30 cents per credit/debit card transaction. No upfront costs or monthly fees.
Have you tried Givelify? Leave a review!
Mogiv’s online donation portal
Ease of use: 5/5
Mogiv is designed for nonprofits and churches. Donors can give by online portal (mobile or web), text, email, kiosk, or forms that can be embedded into your existing website.
Churches can launch unlimited campaigns, and Mogiv includes extensive reporting features.
Reviewers enjoy Mogiv’s streamlined interface and friendly customer service, but the pricing scheme is more complicated than other options.
Price: Mogiv offers three different pricing plans.
- Free: 2.9% + 70 cents per credit/debit card transaction; 1.0% + 45 cents per direct pay charge, $10 monthly minimum.
- $29/month: 2.6% + 30 cents per credit/debit card transaction; .75% + 30 cents per direct pay charge; no monthly minimum.
- $49/month: 1.99% + 30 cents per credit/debit card transaction; .75% + 30 cents per direct pay charge; no monthly minimum.
All three plans require an additional $10/month security fee, and text giving ($5/month) and kiosk giving ($19/month) are optional extras.
Have you tried Mogiv? Leave a review!
An organizational dashboard in Qgiv
Ease of use: 5/5
With Qgiv, donors have the flexibility of giving through your church website, on-site kiosks, iOS app, and text.
Qgiv also offers fundraising thermometer pages to monitor progress on your campaigns, and social media integration to encourage peer interaction.
Reviewers agree that Qgiv has excellent customer support and the platform is easy to use for donors. Some users had a bit of trouble embedding Qgiv in their website, though, and Qgiv’s per-transaction fee is a little higher than most.
Price: 3.95% + 30 cents per transaction.
Add thermometers, text giving, Facebook donation forms, and custom reports for $49/month.
Add social fundraising, event registration, even storefronts, gamification badges, and more for $199/month.
A physical kiosk with built-in internet connection starts at $99/month.
Have you tried Qgiv? Leave a review!
A peer-to-peer fundraising page in Donately
Ease of use: 4.5/5
Donately works with for-profit businesses, but specializes in nonprofits and churches, with reduced fees for nonprofit organizations.
The Donately app allows donors to set up recurring weekly and monthly donations, and users get their own dashboard where they can adjust their donations and get annual reports for tax purposes.
Reviewers agree that Donately’s customer service shines, and they appreciate the simple, competitive pricing.
Price: Donately has an automatically tiered per-transaction pricing plan that scales based on how much money is coming in.
- 0-$100K, you pay 3% per transaction
- $100K-$1M, you pay 2% per transaction
- Everything over $1M, you pay 1% per transaction
Have you tried Donately? Leave a review!
6. echurch by Pushpay
The echurch online account dashboard
Ease of use: 4.5/5
Echurch is the name of Pushpay’s online payment system for churches. Like Tithe.ly, echurch allows donors to give via mobile app, text, website, kiosk, or envelope (with administrative entry).
Echurch also provides a weekly giving summary, allowing administrators to quickly see how much money came in and where it came from.
Reviewers say that echurch has very helpful customer service and the app is a breeze to use, but some bristled a bit at the monthly fee.
Price: Pushpay does not provide specific pricing information online, instead offering custom pricing plans that start at $99/month, in addition to the standard 2.9% + 30 cents per credit/debit card transaction.
Have you tried Pushpay? Leave a review!
Two interesting PayPal alternatives to check out
The following programs may not come up in a search of PayPal alternatives, but they are intriguing because they could save churches significantly in transaction fees over the course of a year in one case, and channel funds to worthy causes around the world in the other.
It may sound too good to be true, but My Well Ministry offers credit card processing and equipment to churches at cost with no additional fees per transaction. In the name of keeping money in the churches so that it can go toward good causes, My Well also offers customer support, website integration assistance, and business expertise.
John Pitzaferro, CEO of TransNational Payments, decided to start the program at his church as a charitable outreach, then extended the offer to other churches and religious non-profits.
Interested churches can contact ministry director Carolyn Irwin for more information.
sWipe Away Poverty is a standalone donation app with standard features such as online payments with custom branding, mobile payments, recurring donations, and text giving.
What makes it different is that a portion of the revenue generated from each transaction is automatically donated to Compassion International, a global humanitarian aid organization.
sWipe Away Poverty’s pricing is not available online, but Prolific Business Solutions processes the transactions as an outreach ministry to keep costs low for churches.
Do you use a PayPal alternative for your church?
What tool does your church use for online payments, and how do you like it? Did we miss anything that we should look into?
Let me know in the comments, or Tweet me @CapterraAC.
Looking for Church Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Church Management software solutions.