Processing Donations with Stripe

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Stripe is the payment processor used by Giving to process online and Text-to-Give donations.

An active Stripe account is required to set up and use Giving. If you have an existing Stripe account, you can connect that to Giving. If not, you will have the opportunity to create a free account during the Giving setup process.

You can find information about your Planning Center account and connected Stripe account from the Stripe Info page in Giving.

How Stripe Processes Transactions

Stripe processes transactions as follows:

  1. Stripe processes card and ACH transactions, deducting the processing fee from each transaction.
  2. As transactions clear, they are bundled together into Stripe Payouts and scheduled for deposit.
  3. The payout is deposited to your church bank account.

ACH is only available for our US customers. This is not currently available to our Canadian customers. 

Stripe’s deposits to your bank are set by default to pool together successful transactions from the past two days and initiate a payout to your bank. Because these payouts need to wait for donations to clear, the length of this process can vary depending on the selected payment method.

  • Cards: Clear in 1-3 business days; Pay out in 2-5 business days
  • ACH: Clear in 3-5 business days; Pay out in 7-10 business days

Keeping your Stripe Account Secure

When using Stripe to collect donations, you are a customer of both Planning Center and Stripe. Though you've connected your Stripe account to your Planning Center account, these accounts are separate. For security reasons, we at Planning Center do not have access to your Stripe login credentials.

To ensure that your account remains secure, we strongly suggest taking these steps:

  • Make sure you know who your Stripe administrators are. By default, this will be the person who created the account. 
  • Make sure your Stripe administrators have enabled two-factor authentication. This feature adds another level of security, verifying each login with text message or authentication app, to assure your login information is not compromised. 
  • Make sure the email address on the account is up to date, and Stripe can reliably reach you at this email. Stripe will contact you when issues need to be resolved or verified directly in your account.

As the owner of your Stripe account, you must keep a record of your Stripe login information.

If you have misplaced your login information, you can reset your password here. If you need help logging in to Stripe, it's best to email Stripe's support at support@stripe.com.

How to Get Help with Payment Processing

While you can get a good amount of donation information in Planning Center, all payment processing and deposits are handled by Stripe. Since you are both a Planning Center and a Stripe customer, your best option is to work directly with Stripe's support team when dealing with payment processing issues and questions.

Here’s the fastest way to get in touch with Stripe’s support:

  1. Log into your Stripe account here: https://dashboard.stripe.com/login 
  2. Once logged in, contact Stripe support here: https://support.stripe.com/contact 
Need to make changes to your Stripe account?

Any changes to your Stripe account will need to be made from the settings page of your Stripe account. Here you can update your bank account for payouts, add authorized users, and more.

If you need to to change or disconnect your Stripe account from your Planning Center account, contact our Support Team by selecting the ? in the top right of any page in Planning Center.

Stripe Troubleshooting

See the sections below tips on how to handle some common Stripe issues.

Our donors are seeing an error message saying "This account cannot make live charges". How do we fix this?

This is a specific error from Stripe indicating that there is something within your Stripe account that requires an administrator's attention. If you're seeing this error, Stripe has probably sent an email to the email address on your Stripe account requesting that some information be updated or verified.

The best option is to contact Stripe's support team directly to resolve this issue.

We're no longer seeing payouts deposited to our organization's bank account. Why have they stopped?

If payouts have stopped, this is probably because information within your Stripe account needs to be updated or verified. You can find more details about your Payout balance, reasons for the hold, and expected payout dates on your Balance Overview page in Stripe.

The best option is to contact Stripe's support team directly to resolve this issue.

A card was declined when trying to donate. Why was the card declined?

When a card is declined, Stripe will post an error message about the decline on their end. You can find this by logging in to your Stripe account and selecting that failed donation on your Payments page in Stripe.

In most cases, Stripe will suggest the donor reach out to their bank to find the reason for the decline and help correct the issue. If you have additional questions, the best option is to contact Stripe's support team directly.

Payment Processing FAQ's

See the sections below for answers to some common payment processing questions.

Why did Planning Center choose Stripe to process payments?

Straight-forward Pricing: 

Every payment processor charges fees. The good news is that, by using Stripe, we are able to offer a low rate for our customers.

We at Planning Center pass this pricing directly to our customers, not taking any percentage of that fee. The rate does not fluctuate with volume and can be clearly communicated and understood.

Top-tier Security:

Stripe offers industry-leading fraud prevention and PCI compliance. Stripe has been audited by a PCI-certified auditor, and is certified as a PCI Level 1 Service Provider, the most stringent level of certification available. You can confirm Stripe's certification in Visa's Global Registry of Service Providers.

Though donations are initiated in Planning Center, no card/bank account data is stored on our servers. Stripe handles all payment data, and Planning Center displays and charges payment methods using tokens. This ensures that financial information is stored only using servers that meet these high compliance standards.  You can learn more in this article on How Giving Keeps Your Data Secure.

Can I use another payment processor instead of Stripe to process donations in Giving?

Only Stripe can be used to process donations directly in Giving. However, if you have another platform you prefer for payment processing, you can manually enter those donations into Batches using Payment Sources

We also offer an open API for Giving, which allows you to build an integration to import donations. However, you'll need to have a third-party developer to set that up for you.

A few companies have used this platform to build integrations with Giving as well. You can learn what integrations are currently available here: Third-party Giving Integrations.

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