How do you collect unit dues? How do you stay on top of payments for field trips and camping?  How do you react when a parent says “do you take credit cards”? 

In today’s near cashless society many unit committees and treasurers may prefer not to deal with cash and checks. The good news is that there are payment solutions available that can be used by units to collect and manage payments for activities, unit merchandise, and unit dues.

First, a few considerations:

  1. All payment solutions charge some fees for using their services. These may include:
    1. Set up fees – there may be an initial setup fee to establish an account or acquire card readers
    2. Transaction fees – every solution will normally charge a transaction fee. This will normally be a percentage of the transaction value (typically 2-4%). Fees may vary based on the volume of money flowing through your account or the medium in which you are processing the payment. Some providers may charge a flat fee (eg 15 cents) plus a percentage.
    3. Ongoing subscription fees – monthly or annual fees to use the service
    4. Cancelation fees

2. You will need to decide how you handle these fees. For example, you could adjust your cost for an activity to cover the fees. 

3. You will need a unit bank account to set up a payment solution. This is normally an account that has been set up by your Chartered Organization for use by your pack, troop or crew. The payment provider will need the account to transfer funds received.

4. When you utilize a payment processor you may be required to provide personal information of an individual who will operate as the administrator. This is required under federal “know your customer” law. Be sure you change this contact when you change your treasurer, or committee chair. You could use a generic email (eg treasurer-packxxx@gmail.com) to help with transitioning administration when your treasurer changes.

5. Many payment solutions provide some basic reporting that will meet your unit’s needs. If you desire a more robust accounting system, consider one that is integrated with the payment processor so that payment data can automatically synchronize with your accounting software.

What solutions are available? Some of the more common solutions used by units are:

Paypal

www.paypal.com

Features:

  • No startup costs, no termination fee, no monthly fees
  • Accept PayPal payments, Venmo, PayPal Credit, and all major credit and debit cards with PayPal Checkout
  • Accept PayPal payments, PayPal Credit, and all major credit cards and debit cards with PayPal Payments Stand

Fees:

Mobile & in-store payments:  2.7% per US swipe (3.5% + $0.15 for keyed sales).

Online payments & invoicing: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction within the US.

Square

www.square.com

Features:

  • No long-term contracts or early termination fees
  • No setup or startup fees
  • No monthly payment processing fees
  • No statement or reporting fees
  • No additional fees for American Express, corporate, or international cards
  • No refund fees
  • No chargeback fees
  • All-in-one setup (no merchant account needed)
  • Next-day deposits
  • Integrated readers and POS software
  • Integrated online and offline payments
  • Free reader for magstripe cards
  • Real-time analytics built in

Fees:

In person: 2.75%  for every tapped (mobile payments), dipped (chip cards), and swiped (magstripe cards) payment.

Online: 2.9% + 30¢  for every payment you take online using Square Invoices.

Card-not-present transactions: 3.5% + 15¢ when you enter a credit card number manually in the Square Point of Sale app.

Cheddar Up

Features:

  • Branded collections with custom URLs
  • Share with a link or send an invite
  • Automatic reminders and follow-up
  • Online payments and forms
  • Automatic tracking and notifications
  • One-click spreadsheet export
  • Unlimited withdrawals to bank account
  • Easy handoff with online history
  • No fees for collector

Fees:

Collecting on Cheddar Up is always free (BASIC service). There are no setup or hidden fees.

There are monthly fees for PRO and TEAM service.

Payers pay a convenience fee of 3.5% plus $0.45. If your community needs more payment options, you can enable a second payment method – echeck (electronic bank transfer). This comes with a flat convenience fee of $0.45 per transaction.

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