Credit Card Receipts at Ministries      0050-01    ZZall

                                                     - - - Rejoice in the Lord always ... again I say Rejoice !!! - - -


                   TO:  Interested Ministries                                                                                  FROM: Jim Bramer, Retired Auditor-CPA
                                                                                                                                                    FILE:  0050-01/all

                    RE:  Credit Card Receipts at Ministries                                                        Originated:  January 2000                                


    The topic before us is Ministries getting paid for various purposes via Constituent's Credit Cards. This does NOT pertain to the Ministry using Plastic to make purchases as set forth via Click here..

    For more information on this and related topics, please see our web site links or 
Publication List  below.

    Like you, we have known of Credit Card abuse; or people have used Credit Card plastic in a very undisciplined manner and bought/borrowed more than they could handle. The result is that the term "Credit Card" has a negative connotation with certain people.

    Some Ministry leaders even believe strongly that constituents should NOT be allowed to pay for items at the Ministry using their Credit Cards as the Ministry is providing them with undesirable temptations. Perhaps we should do that with TV (and class room videos) and Computer Systems (and Online resources and Internet), as well.

    However, the emphasis, especially within Churches, in my judgment, should be 'how can the leadership assist people to be good stewards of this tool." People are going to use Credit Cards whether any of us like it or not and resources should be available to help them prudently use debt and not abuse these resources as they prayerfully move toward  Righteous Personal Finance.

    So the ways that Ministry Constituents could make payments to the Ministry using Credit Cards ---- (Please Click here for potential use of the Debit Card  Option) in likely order of preference --- appear to us to be as follows:

          
                                                                At a Church

    For
"Paperless" fund raising reasons ----
Used by Constituents

    1>  At a Merchants (E-SCRIP program) to pay for Merchandise with a percentage flowing back to the Church.  See SCRIP Store publications below.
    2>  For "Paper" fund raising reasons ---- Used by Constituents
   
3>  At the Church's SCRIP Store...whereby Constituents acquire merchant gift certificate equivalents from this Store and make purchases therewith at applicable Merchants .. again, a percentage flows back to the church.

    For other reasons ----- Used by Constituents at the Church
   
4> To pay fees for church sponsored Christian Camps of the area.
    5> To pay for Church events. Examples include: Youth and Adult outings, Short term Trips, AWANA, VBS, Sports, etc.
    6> To make repetitive Over/Above Special Project Contributions.
   
7> To make Contributions to the General Fund.


                                         At a Christian School

  •   For "Paperless" fund raising reasons ----Used by Constituents

    A> At a Merchant (E-SCRIP program) to pay for Merchandise with a percentage flowing back to the School.
    B> To pay for Merchandise via the School's Web site (Shop&Connect) -- again, a percentage flows back to the School.

    For "
Paper" fund raising reasons ---- Used by Constituents
   
C> At the School's SCRIP Store...whereby they acquire merchant gift certificate equivalents and make purchases therewith at applicable Merchants .. again, a percentage flows back to the School.

    For other reasons ----- Used by Constituents
   
D> To pay for Tuition and Fees ...... monthly or otherwise. Click Here for SCHAR issues and matters.
    E> To make repetitive Special Project Contributions.
    F> To make Contributions to the General Fund.

                       At a Mission Agency or like Ministry -

    Used by Constituents at the Mission Agency

1> To pay for Mission Agency Expense Reimbursements or Short term Mission Trips.
2> To make repetitive Pledge like Contributions ---- like Staff support , etc.
3> To make contributions to the General Fund.


                                                       OBSERVATIONS:

         During a phone call to a retail store, the question was asked: "Do you honor Credit Cards here?", the answer was "Oh my yes, we not only honor Credit Cards, we worship them." This seems to indicate that they are an integral part of today's society.

        Prayerfully encourage Constituents to use Credit Cards as tools (blessings)- not tyrants (curses). They should strive to pay no Credit Card interest expense.  See comments below about the practice of Online paying the unpaid balance weekly.

        A Constituent pledge to the leadership along these lines might be appropriate. Ask us for samples.

        A good financial stewardship/management factor is that your prudent Constituent can benefit from the "float factor" .....namely, purchases can be made now and paid for some 30 days hence, etc.

        There may be merit in Constituents prudently having different sets of Credit Cards. Let's say that you discovered that it was prudent to pay for something in installments using this form of borrowing with one set of Credit Cards. Then, for accounting or perk purposes, with the annual fee situation in mind, they use other sets of Credit Cards and NEVER pay any interest expense on them.

        Some Constituents go out and buy using Credit Cards .... then write a check ( or ask us about getting the equivalent of the Credit Card Online and pay off the the balance weekly) to pay for these Credit Card charges weekly. They, in essence, pay for things when they buy it. They hold onto these checks and reconcile to the monthly statement - then send the checks to the Credit Card Company.
CAUTION ..... you need to view the balance in your checking account as if the checks had been released, etc.  Please  Click Here for  Debit Card  aspects of all this.

        Credit Card processing expenses at a Ministry is simply a budgeted "part of doing business" expense. Ask us about Associates who process your Credit Card receipt transactions for you via their Credit Card system.


                                                                    Publication List

Buying Cycle 0013-01 ZZall
E-Ministry Finance Options 0035-01 ZZall
Plastic Buying/Vendors, Ministries use thereof  0114-02 ZZall
Plastic/Credit Cards, BLVR use thereof   4040-01 ZZqve 
Righteous Personal Finance 5011-02 ZZchu
Schar Plastic Plans 7008-01 ZZsch
SCRIP - Fund Raising Endeavor 0101-02 ZZall


--MINISTRY FINANCE "LINGO"  INCLUDE--

                MFT or MFTeam = Ministry Finance Team
                    Schar = Sch)ool A)ccounts R)eceivable
                    VBS = Vacation Bible School


     The bulk of this Publication originated in January 2000 and was     UPTD: May 23, 2010  

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