Start Accepting Donations Quick!

This article is going to cover two popular payment gateway systems, PayPal and Stripe. We will outline both and what fees are associated with them. Then we will give our recommendations on which one to use. Either system can be used for any website, not just non-profits. However this post is mainly oriented towards them, so the fees for others will most likely be different.

What is a Payment Processor?

A payment processor is a company (often a third party) appointed by a merchant/organization to handle transactions from various channels such as credit cards and debit cards for merchant acquiring banks. They are usually broken down into two types: front-end and back-end.

So with that being said, let’s take a look at the two of them now:


PayPal has been around for years now. They have their pros and cons. You can collect money quick in a variety of ways. Even though PayPal has made many strides, they continue to fall short. Here’s a few examples:

  • They will lock your account for random reasons that defy rational thought.
  • They will confiscate your funds.
  • They will charge you a chargeback fee even when you prove the “customer” received the item if said customer disputes it.
  • Want to sell or receive money directly through your website? It’s possible but a huge hassle to set up and they make you submit an application that they nitpick every single thing.

Don’t take this as saying PayPal doesn’t work or that they don’t do a good job, because it does. It’s more of PayPal has some crazy whims and policies that you could easily lose money or get annoyed with. I know, because I’ve experience every example I listed and so have MANY others.

Here’s PayPal’s current Non-Profit fees:

  • 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction
  • No monthly fee for charities.


Stripe is the new kid on the block (although they’re not really new anymore). Setting up products, donations and more is a breeze. Your visitor never leaves your site. Their dashboard is pleasing to the eye, and their Test Data is easy to find and view. Even though they may have this going on, don’t be fooled…. they too have their shortfalls:

  • No official app to accept or send payments with (this means you could be paying out double the fees for using a 3rd party app).
  • Subscriptions through their site aren’t as straight forward as PayPal (although there are numerous add-on’s that simplifies this for you).
  • Buy/Pay/Donate now buttons aren’t straight forward either like PayPal.

Even though they too have a few things they could do better, they have done quite well with a lot of their services.

Here’s Stripe’s current Non-Profit fees:

  • 2.2% + 30¢ for non American Express transactions
  • 3.5% for American Express transactions
  • first $15K is waived for their first year  (applies only after the account is switched to non-profit)

Which One Should I Choose?

I would recommend first and foremost that you go check out both. Look at their fees and even look at the feedback that others have left. I personally used PayPal when it was first launched and have used it up until last year (2016)… at that point I switched to Stripe. I would honestly recommend Stripe over PayPal and here’s why:

  • You can do automatic fund transfers daily, weekly, or monthly. PayPal only does monthly.
  • They have an awesome fraud detection tool that’s free called Radar.
  • Setting up Stripe on your site using 3rd party add-on’s is very easy, and you’re customers never leave your site.
  • Stripe handles the payment processing fully, so you’re site doesn’t store any credit card info from donations on your site.
  • Their customer service, is friendlier than PayPal is.
  • Their fees are pretty much the same but Stripe waives the first 15k during your first year!! This is huge for a non-profit.

Even though Stripe is easy to set up, not everyone will be able to do it. Why? Because not everyone is technically gifted, some simply don’t want to know how to do it, and some would rather just pay someone else to do it for them. No matter where you fall, we can help you. Simply Get In Touch with us and we will be glad to help you!

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