Should I Make Charitable Donations with Check or Credit Card?

Mark Stinson, CPA, CFA, MBA

In December, many clients are busy wrapping up their charitable giving for the year. Last month a client and faithful donor asked if she should use her credit card to make charitable donations - in the past she had written checks.

Her concern was security. She was not only concerned about theft of her credit card number but internet security and identity theft.

How you make your donations depends you your priorities. Here are the advantages to each:

Advantages of Checks:

  • Charitable organizations do not pay a credit card fee when you write a check – credit card fees to organizations range from 1.5% to 3.5% of the transaction. The charity receives more with a check.
  • You have a canceled check for a receipt.
  • Less chance of identity theft.

Advantages of Credit Card/Website:

  • Charitable organizations like credit cards for systematic payments – they know the contributions will continue and when they are coming. And credit card payments do not bounce…
  • Credit card transactions can be downloaded and sorted to track charitable giving.
  • Ease of payment on organizations website.
  • Your credit card may give your perks - cash back, frequent flyer miles, etc.

Our client chose to keep paying by check. How do you make your charitable donations and why?

If you are interested in learning more about our Investment and Financial Planning services, please contact our office.  We look forward to speaking with you and answering your questions.

By Mark Stinson, CPA, CFA, MBA

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