Comparing Payment Channels: What’s Best for Religious Organizations?

Choosing the right payment channel is crucial for religious organizations to ensure smooth transactions while upholding financial integrity. The decision can be daunting, with many options available, ranging from traditional methods to modern digital platforms.

As technology evolves, so do the options for payment channels, leaving religious institutions facing a critical question: which method best aligns with their values, operations, and community needs? Traditional methods of giving—cash and checks—are becoming less frequent as society shifts towards digital transactions.

Data by Statista shows that digital payments are on the rise and are projected to grow to a total transaction value of $16.62 trillion by 2028. Therefore, your religious organization needs to factor in these technological developments to accommodate donations, manage memberships, or facilitate event payments.

Payment processors like iCG Pay, formerly, provide multiple payment channels that allow religious organizations to collect payments.

This article explores the different payment channels religious organizations can utilize, analyzing their suitability for various needs.

Let’s dive in.

Rise of digital payments

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What Are the Best Payment Channels for Religious Organizations?

While traditional methods like cash and checks still exist, online payment channels are surging in popularity. Data shows that 49% of individuals prefer to use credit cards or electronic payment methods.

Religious organizations can leverage these options to streamline donations, increase convenience for their congregation, and potentially boost giving overall. Let's take a closer look at the various online payment channels you can use in your organization:

Hosted Payment Portals

Religious organizations can leverage these secure hosted payment portals to receive donations. Donors simply enter their payment information on the portal, eliminating the need for your church to manage sensitive financial data directly.

When you use a hosted payments gateway from iCG Pay, you can customize it to add branding and functionality. The APIs also make it easy to integrate the portal; therefore, you just need to provide your donors with a secure payment link. This offers benefits like PCI compliance, which is necessary for secure online transactions, and reduces your workload.

ACH Processing

ACH donation processing is a secure and efficient payment method that facilitates electronic bank transfers directly from a donor's checking or savings account. This payment channel is a good alternative to traditional paper-based transactions, which are manual and risky. In addition, it’s a cost-effective option compared to credit card processing, which comes with higher fees.

ACH transactions can benefit your religious organization because they automate transfers, reduce the administrative burden, and are highly secure, thanks to Nacha security measures.


Just like ACH transactions, eChecks are processed via the ACH network, which handled 8.2 billion payments in the first quarter of 2024. As a religious organization, you can use these electronic versions of paper checks to receive donations and offerings. Donors enter their bank account information securely online, mimicking the check-writing process.

With eChecks, donors can set up weekly, monthly, or annually recurring payments. Additionally, they have lower transaction costs and are secure.

SMS Payments

This emerging option allows donors to contribute simply by texting a specific number. It's a convenient and mobile-friendly approach that boosts donations. You can use SMS payment technologies to remind donors when to send money. At the same time, you can share a text-to-donate link that redirects them to complete a payment.

SMS payments are highly convenient because donors can make payments from anywhere.

Church Management Software

According to a report by Straits Research, the church management software market size is expected to grow to $393 million by 2031. These tools are developed to help religious organizations with administrative and communication duties, streamlining day-to-day operations.

Most church management software solutions now offer built-in online giving functionalities. You can use them as fundraising software to ease the donation process. These all-in-one solutions can integrate with popular payment processors like iCG Pay, streamlining your church administration and donor data management.

Church management software

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Mobile Wallets

The rise of contactless payments makes mobile wallets a convenient payment option for tech-savvy congregations. With this payment channel, donors can contribute with a simple tap of their phone, offering a secure and easy-to-use method.

Many payments made through mobile apps can be processed in real time; therefore, you can access funds much faster. Furthermore, you can keep track of all transactions because they appear in the online terminal, which allows you to easily view, report, and manage transactions.

Mobile wallets

What Features Should You Look for in a Payment Channel?

Today, the market has multiple online payment channels for religious organizations, which can be overwhelming. To navigate this landscape effectively, it's crucial to prioritize specific features that align with your church's needs and ensure a smooth, secure giving experience for your congregation. Let's explore key features to look for in a payment channel:

PCI Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of comprehensive requirements designed to ensure the secure handling of credit card information. Nonprofit organizations accepting credit card donations are obligated to comply with PCI standards. Non-compliance to these regulations can lead to hefty fines and reputational damage.

Reputable payment processors like iCG Pay are PCI-compliant; therefore, you should consider working with them.

Multiple Payment Options

As a religious organization, you need to cater to diverse preferences by offering a variety of payment methods. Some donors may prefer the ease of mobile payments, while others might be more comfortable with ACH processing or eChecks. A wider range of options increases accessibility and encourages giving.

Compare the payment options offered by different platforms. Look for solutions that integrate seamlessly with popular payment gateways to provide a comprehensive suite of giving methods. When you work with iCG Pay, you can access advanced payment technologies such as:

Data Security Features

Beyond PCI compliance, robust data security measures are essential for protecting sensitive donor information. These security features are essential because they help build trust with your congregation. Strong data security practices demonstrate your commitment to safeguarding financial information.

When choosing a payment channel, look for features like data encryption, two-factor authentication, and secure access controls. Many platforms provide detailed information on their security protocols.

Recurring Donations Features

To encourage continuous giving, you need a payment channel that allows you to set up automatic, regular contributions. Recurring donations provide a predictable and sustainable income stream for your church. They also demonstrate a deeper commitment from donors.

Therefore, check if the online donation platform or church management software offers built-in functionality for recurring donations.

Reporting Tools

You can gain valuable insights into your donor base and giving trends through comprehensive reporting tools. Data-driven insights help you tailor your fundraising efforts and cultivate stronger donor relationships. Understanding giving patterns allows you to express gratitude effectively and potentially target specific demographics with relevant campaigns.

Look for platforms that offer detailed reporting features, including breakdowns by donation type, donor demographics, and giving frequency.

Set up Your Payment Channel with iCG Pay

You can leverage all these payment options for maximum impact. However, you’ll need a reliable payment gateway provider like iCG Pay that allows you to accept different types of payments on one single platform.

Transactions are securely processed through our online gateway, enhancing security and reducing PCI scope. We also integrate easily with your church software, making it easy to receive tithes and donations.

Your church needs versatile payment solutions! Book a presentation call with our team to discuss how to implement these technologies in your religious organization.

Learn more about our online donation payment gateway.

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iCG Pay’s innovative solutions help you accelerate payments simply, securely, and reliably.

We help businesses accept and process payments with our suite of next-gen customizable fintech solutions. Our automated technologies help you carry out ACH and credit card transactions on a single easy-to-use platform.