Improved: Bank Verification

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A couple of weeks ago, we released an improvement to how your donors verify their bank accounts for ACH bank transfer donations. Now that we've had some time to monitor this rollout and make sure things are working as expected, we're ready to share the good news!

More Than Twice the Number of Supported Banks

Over the past month, we've worked with Plaid to upgrade our use of "Auth" – the service we rely on to provide instant bank account verification for online giving and the Church Center mobile app.

Previously, about 4,800 banks and credit unions across the US could be instantly verified. With this update, over 11,100 banking institutions can now be instantly verified.

If you're unfamiliar with what Plaid's instant verification process, here it is in action on the mobile app: 

Why That's A Big Deal

When it's easy for your donors to connect their bank account, they're more likely to use their bank account instead of a credit card to give. That means saving on processing fees for your church.

Currently, the cost of processing fees for credit and debit cards in the US is 2.15% + $0.30 per transaction. ACH transfers cost a flat $0.25.

So, if a donor sets up a weekly $500 donation, it works out like this: 

  • Credit Card: $10.75 (2.15% of $500) + $0.30 x 52 weeks = $574.60 in fees annually.
  • ACH Bank Transfer: $0.25 x 52 weeks = $12.50 in fees annually.

Planning Center doesn't make a penny from processing fees, so we've released this update to allow you to use the most cost-efficient means possible for collecting donations.

Better Fallbacks

There are still some banks and credit unions that don't support Plaid's instant account verification system. If your donor searches for their bank and can't find it, they'll still be able to verify their bank manually by entering their routing and account numbers and verifying two small deposit amounts ("micro-deposits").

We previously used Stripe's system for this micro-deposit verification process. Now, we're letting Plaid handle that process because they have a few distinct advantages:

  1. Many banks that don't support instant verification still support Plaid's "Automatic Micro-Deposits" system. In those cases, Plaid can complete the micro-deposit verification process automatically. The donor doesn't have to do a thing but will simply get an email after the process is complete saying, "Your bank account has been verified."
  2. Plaid's micro-deposit system uses same-day ACH transfers. This means less lag time between your donors adding their bank account and seeing those small deposits post to their account. The faster donors can complete the process, the better.

One Week of Results

We've been looking at donor trends for 7 days before and after this change, and we like what we're seeing. The data below represents thousands of bank account verifications.

Typical week before this change: 

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A few weeks ago, only 56% of donors instantly verified their bank accounts over a 7 day period. The other 44% had to wait a few days for the Stripe micro-deposits to show up before revisiting their donor account to complete the process.

It's worth noting that these 44% are the donors that actually completed the verification process. Because of the lag time and the, many never get around to completing the verification process. Others get tripped up by the micro-deposit verification process and end up contacting our support. It's a finicky process rife with the opportunity for human error. 

First week after this change:

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Last week, 85% of donors who verified their bank accounts did so instantly! The rest had to resort to micro-deposit verification, but they were able to either complete that process within one day because of Plaid's same-day micro-deposits or see their accounts automatically verified due to Plaid's "Automatic Micro-Deposits" system.

The red sliver of Stripe micro-deposits you see are donors who were in the middle of completing their manual account verification when we rolled out this change last Monday.

Onward!

We're thrilled with these initial results! Along with introducing new features, it's important to us that the product's core functionality is always getting better. We want the experience of quickly and easily setting up a bank account for online giving to be seamless and top-notch, and we believe this is a huge step in that direction. 

~ Team Giving

 

 

 

 

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