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Blog Feature

By: admin on November 16th, 2011

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Clover Donations FAQ's

Company News

Hey everyone - thanks for all the feedback about Clover Donations so far.  You've asked a lot of specific questions, and you've been patient for the past couple weeks! To be honest, the payment processing industry is one of the most convoluted industries we've ever ventured into. Please feel free to ask as many questions as you'd like about our new product... If something is unclear to you, it's more than likely because it is actually confusing. And we will always do our best to answer your questions as directly as we possibly can!

Here are the answers for everything you've asked so far:

What is the price?

We've done everything we can to simplify our end of the price.  We'll charge a 1% fee for all transactions, and that's it.  You'll also need a merchant account (which is kind of like a license that allows you to accept money online).  We're working with a company that provides merchant accounts at the lowest rate we could find anywhere (starting at 1.96% + $.25 per credit card transaction).  They pass through their direct costs (the fees that the card companies and banks charge), so the final transaction fee varies, but it's always the lowest you can get.

Also, the fee for a bank transfer is significantly less (0% + $.29), and this is one of the areas where many other companies (especially PayPal) make their money.  PayPal prompts its users to enter their bank account info by calling it "getting verified".  Then they pull money from that bank account instead of using the credit card on file.  And even though this costs them much less, they still charge their full rate.

Bottom line:
- When you take in a $100 donation from a credit card, you'll pay Clover $1 and the merchant fees will be between $2 - $3 on average.
- When you take in a $100 donation from a bank transfer, you'll pay Clover $1 and the merchant fees will be $.29.

Can the donor choose to pay the credit card fee?

For the initial version, we weren't planning on having that as an option.  But we think that's a great feature and we'll definitely consider adding it!

Can I use Clover Donations if I don't have a website with Clover?

Yes!  You can use Clover Donations with any website you have, or even if you don't have a site.  Everything is hosted on our secure servers, so you can simply link to your donation forms, or you can embed them in your site.  We'll also provide code to easily embed "donate now" buttons in most sites, as well as simple links to share your donation forms on social networks or over email.

How will this integrate with a Clover site?

If you have an existing Clover site, there will be lots of ways to link to your donation forms with Clover Donations.  You'll be able to add a "donation page", which will create a customizable "donate now" button (similar to the launch button for a media player, calendar, photo album, etc.).  You can also link directly to your forms with a text or picture link.  We're also working on an option to embed your donation form in your Clover site, rather than linking to it.

Will Clover Donations be available for customers outside of the US?

Unfortunately, the financial system (and the regulations for providing merchant accounts) vary widely from country to country.  We will be working to find ways to provide Clover Donations to all our international customers, but for now, it will be limited to those in the US.

Can I accept money from donors outside the US?

Yes, you will be able to accept donations from almost every country.  They will come out of your donor's accounts in their currency, and be converted to US dollars when they're deposited in yours.  Additional fees will apply, and they vary by country.  We'll do our best to provide more detailed international pricing as soon as we can.

Can I use Clover Donations for event registrations?

There are ways to make your donation forms work for event registration, and we've made sure to put several specific features in place to make this work (things like allowing you to set specific pricing options, and giving you lots of control over wording on your forms and receipts).  We plan on providing more features for event registrations in the future, though, because we want the solution to be great, rather than just ok.

Will there be a way to set up different pricing options for event registrations or for selling products?

Yes, you can set your own pricing options, and it should work well for events.  However, because we're not making a full e-commerce solution, you won't be able to set options like "small t-shirt: $12", "medium t-shirt: $15", etc.

Can I run reports for donors? And use them for tax reporting?

A huge part of our solution is robust reporting and donor management and search abilities.  This is where many other companies fall short (like PayPal), and what most sophisticated non-profits spend tons of money trying to accomplish.  We also send automatic email receipts to your donors (which you can customize), which covers part of your tax reporting obligations.  For end of the year reporting, you'll most likely need to export your data so you can merge it with your records of everything that you've collected offline.

Can I export information to Quickbooks or Excel?

Most definitely.  Our tools make it easy to export information for donors and transactions based on a specific search, a date range, or for all your data at once.  For those of you that have existing donor records in other systems, we'll even provide a way to add your own unique id's to your data in Clover Donations to make reconciliation easier!

Will there be an option to not allow credit cards?

Yes.  You can choose to accept credit cards, bank transfers, or both.

Is it possible to differentiate between debit cards and credit cards? [UPDATED 9/26/2012]

Unfortunately, no...  at least, not at this time.  Online transactions are very different than in-person transactions at a retail store, and as of now it's not possible to differentiate debit vs credit transactions to only allow one or the other.

UPDATE: We're happy to let you know that there is a now a way to differentiate debit card and credit card transactions with Clover Donations. Before, we had no way of seeing whether a card being used by a donor was a credit card or debit card, so we couldn't offer a feature where you could only accept debit. Now when you fill out the application for your merchant account, you can choose to only accept debit and not credit cards if you'd like. This was an important improvement, because debit cards have a lower transaction rate than credit cards, which can help lower the fees an organization pays to accept donations, which is always great news. In case you're interested, you can read more about the cost differences between payment methods here: https://www.cloverdonations.com/bluepay/pricing/

Is my card and bank information secure?  Will Clover Donations be PCI certified?

We wouldn't be much of a solution if we didn't keep your information secure.  We take security very seriously, and we're also kinda geeks when it comes to encryption and privacy.  Everything that happens on your donation forms and in the Donation Center is secured by SSL encryption, and is protected in many other ways.  We're also becoming PCI Level 1 certified, which is the highest level possible.  Part of that certification is an ongoing audit by a recognized security agency, so our security measures will be proven and reliable.

One of the best things about this is that it means that you bear the smallest amount of liability and burden for security.

Are the fees different for bank transfers vs credit card transactions?

Yes.  Bank account transfers (also called eCheck or ACH) have a much lower rate.  You'll still pay the 1% for Clover Donations, but the merchant account that our partner offers charges 0% + $.29.  So for a $100 donation, you'll pay $1 to Clover and $.29 for merchant fees.

Will there be a version for general e-commerce or a store that for-profit companies can use?

Right now, it's only for donations (or giving, tithing, or whatever you call it).  You don't have to have a 501c3 or 501c6 status to sign up, though.  And the price is the same regardless of your official non-profit status.

Will there be a way to link this with a form page on a Clover site?

At this point, our two products won't be integrated in that way.  But we have lots of plans for getting there in the future.

What are the fees for bounced checks and declined credit cards?

There are no fees for declined credit cards, but there is a fee for "insufficient funds" via a bank transfer.  There is also a fee for something called a "charge back", which is when someone pays with their card and then later disputes the charge with their credit card company.  This is extremely rare when it comes to donations, so it's not something to worry about too much.  And the costs for these two items are pretty standard across the industry.  When we have more information, we'll provide it.

Will I be able to use my own existing merchant account if I have one?

Yes!  We're working on integrating our system with the major merchant account providers and gateways.  If you have an existing merchant account that you'd like to use, and it's through one of the providers we support, we'll be able to set you up with no additional work.

How often will we get deposits to our bank account?

All your donations will be grouped together each day, and deposited on a rolling basis two days after they're made.  This is actually faster than the industry standard, which is 3 days (and can range up to 7 days with some companies).

Does Clover Donations come with a way to swipe cards in person?

Clover Donations is strictly an online tool for now, but our merchant account partner can set you up with all kinds of other solutions for credit card processing in house.


Hopefully that answers all the questions you've had up to this point. Feel free to keep the conversation open. And of course, as we get closer, we'll explain more things in detail. We can't wait for you all to try this thing out!


Update: June 1, 2012 We've just made a change to the Bank Transfer (ACH) fees and wanted to make sure it was noted. The cost will now be 0% + .29 per transaction to the merchant account and 1% to Clover. This is .04 more than was previously posted.