Stripe Instant Payouts and Planning Center Giving

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Recently, your church might have received a promotional email from Stripe, letting you know about Instant Payouts. Below, we'll explain why it's likely you want to avoid Instant Payouts.

The email looked like this:


Instant Payouts = A Chunk of Money

For a normal, scheduled payout, the payout amount is dictated by which transactions have recently settled. In your Stripe dashboard, you can click the payout and see all the settled transactions (donations) that make up the payout.

By contrast, an instant payout is just a chunk of money (which you define) taken directly from your Stripe balance. Individual transactions don't make up the payout. If you take a $10k instant payout there's no way of knowing which donations account for that $10k.

Why That's a Big Problem

If you're like the vast majority of customers, the Stripe Payouts page in Giving is critical to your bookkeeping process. Whenever a Stripe payout reaches your bank account, our system inspects all of the individual transactions (donations) and builds a report that includes:

  1. The income breakdown by fund.
  2. The total processing fees attributed to each fund. 
  3. A list of all the donations that were paid out.

Additionally, we're able to update each donation with a "Paid Out" date: 


...which lets you filter donations all throughout Giving, using the "paid out" stamp: 


Instant Payouts break this essential link between individual transactions and Stripe payouts.

So, Why Did Stripe Suggest This?

Remember, Stripe is a massive payment processor and Planning Center is just one of hundreds of possible products you could connect to your Stripe account. For many of these products and services, Instant Payouts might work just fine because their reporting needs are less sophisticated after a transaction happens.

Ultimately, you're in control of your own Stripe account and free to use whatever products or Stripe features make sense. If you're in an emergency, the additional 1% fee seems worth it, and you don't mind essentially breaking a bunch of reporting functionality in your Giving account, it's totally up to you.

For most of our customers, however, we recommend avoiding Instant Payouts.


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