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Can non-profits avoid transaction fees?

While most swim and tennis clubs are non-profit organizations, they are not charitable non-profit organizations, so to Paypal they are considered the same as other businesses in terms of their transaction fees. Transaction fees are charged for any business that accepts payments from the major credit card processors. So the short answer is, if you are letting member pay by credit card, there will be fees. 

Things to keep in mind…

  • Fees on a $500 order are about $15. Raising your dues from $500 to $515 is not going to cause a member exodus.  
  • Many of our clients raise their dues 1% every year just so members expect a small increase to keep up with rising costs. 
  • Accepting payments online is a convenience for both the members and your volunteer Treasurer. Depositing checks is not only time-consuming but also requires manually accounting for them. If every payment was made online, all your revenue is automatically logged and accounted for, and reports can be generated by product, customer, date ranger, etc. 

What not to do – Trying to skirt fees by using Venmo (a Paypal company) or telling members to send money via Paypal as a fee-less “Friends and Family” payment to the club is a quick way to make a huge mistake. Paypal will notice payments, especially large ones, of similar amount sent using their fee-less options. They aren’t dumb and after a few membership payments they will contact your organization.


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