Online Giving: Where Does Your Church Fall in This Debate?

“To cover fees or not cover fees, that is the question.” 

While Shakespeare never debated the benefit of giver-covered fees, it is a debate in churches. 

Before we look at the “why” behind giver-covered fees, let’s break down the “what.” 

What is a processing fee? 

A processing fee is an amount it costs to process or facilitate a gift. Processing fees apply to credit/debit transactions and ACH transactions.

For credit and debit cards, a processing fee is an amount charged by the credit card company that issued the card.  Most card processing fees are around 3% plus a small fixed amount for each gift. (For example, Faithlife Giving’s premium rate is 2.49% plus 30 cents.) 

For ACH transactions, a processing fee is usually a smaller percentage with a fixed amount. (Faithlife Giving’s premium ACH transaction fee is 1.0% plus 30 cents per gift.)

Every time you swipe a card or make an ACH payment—even when you’re buying groceries—someone is paying a processing fee to your bank or card issuer (Visa, Mastercard, etc.). 

The question is, should a church pay the processing fee for online gifts or make it optional for a giver to cover the fee as part of their gift?

2 views on online giving 

Theologically, churches hold different positions on giving and so also differ on whether to cover fees or not. They fall into two main camps:

  • Churches should make giving as easy as possible, so they give people many giving methods, including online giving.
  • Churches have a moral obligation to keep 100% of each gift that comes in. That means they directly oppose online giving because there’s a small processing fee deducted from each gift.

No matter where you fall in the discussion, Faithlife Giving—included with Servant Keeper church management software from Faithlife—could be a great fit for your church. That’s because our goal is not to tell you how your church should give but provide you with an online giving platform that supports your goals and mission. 

That’s where one of our customers’ favorite features comes in. 

Giver-covered fees 

If your church is using Faithlife Giving, you can enable givers to cover processing fees. This means that your regular givers can increase their gifts to include processing fees, so the church gets 100% of what your giver intended you to receive. (Note: The entire gift, even the portion covering the fees, is tax-deductible.)

It’s fun to see how giver-covered fees are working out for churches using Faithlife Giving:

  • Over 70% of churches with Faithlife Giving have giver-covered fees enabled 
  • Nearly 30% of churches with Faithlife Giving have 100% of their fees covered by givers

For our customers who make it optional for givers to cover fees, givers choose to pay them 60% of the time.

What makes Faithlife Giving different? 


With Faithlife Giving, givers can choose to pay the processing fees in addition to their gift amount, ensuring your church receives the full gift amount. 

Or you can choose for your church to cover processing fees.

Either way, Faithlife Giving gives you peace of mind so you can focus on serving people.

Learn how Faithlife Giving with Servant Keeper can make online giving an enjoyable, seamless experience for your church.


Written by
Jess Holland

Jess Holland is a marketing and communications copywriter for Life.Church. She was previously a writer on Faithlife staff.

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Written by Jess Holland