Whether you run your camp as a business or as part of a non-profit, you are going to incur expenses. Finding ways to save on payment processing is an important part of managing operating costs and balancing your budget.
Different Payment Methods
The easiest way you can reduce the price of payment processing is to offer different kinds of payment options. That’s why, even though you may be a smaller camp, I want to take a moment to address the different types of payment options that are out there. The more payment options you provide, the faster you’ll get paid, and the better your blended rate (or the average of all processing options and fees) will be.
The Old Standbys – Checks and Cash
If you’re a very small camp, you may just take cash and maybe checks. There are a lot of benefits to taking payments in cash and checks – the biggest is probably that there’s no processing fee at all.
The problem with these more conventional payment methods is that they don’t work with digital platforms like registration software. This can make it difficult for you to keep track of everything, and it adds at least one step for your registrants as it means that they cannot pay and register at the same time.
It also means you’ll spend more time managing payments and less time on other things. Oftentimes paying for a solution saves money in the long term, including the cost of processing online payments. These days, it’s not just the cost of doing business, it also saves you and your staff time otherwise spent on other tasks.
If your camp is small enough, you can get by with only these options, but if you’re looking to grow, these old-school options won’t cut it in the long run.
Credit and Debit Cards
You probably know about credit cards and debit cards. However, until very recently it was very difficult for smaller business to accept payment from credit and debit cards – which is how many people these days carry their money.
There are a few great upsides for accepting credit and debit cards. Your registrants can use them for payment online, usually through the online registration tool that you use. This saves you and your registrants lots of time and hassle.
The major downside to these payment methods – which we’ll talk more about in a moment – is that these payment methods have processing fees often more than 2 percent of the purchase price. This can severely drive up your prices. Debit cards often have lower processing fees than credit cards, but they can still be significant especially for a larger camp.
Many camps have accepted these costs as part of doing business. It’s a great option to pass along some or all of this fee to families, either as an additional line item or by pricing your offerings to reflect the cost of payment processing.
A final payment method worth mentioning is eChecks. eChecks make it possible for people to pay online without using a credit or debit card by inputting their checking account information.
This payment method offers many of their advantages and few of their disadvantages. For one thing, they can be used online allowing for convenience for you and your registrants. Also, they are available to registrants who have a checking account but do not have credit or debit cards.
They do usually have processing fees but they are almost always lower than those on credit and debit cards. Offering e-checks as a payment option can significantly lower your blended rate on processing, and gives a great online way to pay through a bank account.
Saving Money on Payment Processing
Now that we’ve reviewed some common payment options that you may or may not have heard before (but should definitely consider!), let’s talk about when you should consider changing up your payment methods.
Using Limited Payment Methods
As mentioned above, if your organization is small enough to be able to get by using cash and checks, that is definitely the cheapest option. It has some serious technological limits and can pose as an inconvenience to everyone involved, but that inconvenience scales.
Up to a certain point you may be able to get by as long as your registrants know that you are using this method to offer your services at the lowest possible price. After this point, however, you are going to have to start considering other payment options, and that means dealing with payment processing fees.
Online Payments & Payment Plans
Offering an online option also allows you to offer payment plans to families. This allows them to pay on a schedule that works for them, without the hassle on your end of managing those payments. Online processing can save a card on file and charge it on a set payment schedule determined by you and/or the family.
Carefully Choosing or Changing Your Processor
Allowing your registrants to use the payment method of their choice will open up your business to more users and take an administrative load off of your shoulders – even if it does mean dealing with processing fees.
The good news is that there are still a few things that you can do that reduce these fees. The first of those is carefully choosing – or changing – your credit card processor.
Credit card processors are companies that work between the sale and the credit card company. Some of the payment processing fees are determined by the credit card company, but others are set by the card processor.
Getting the best deal from your credit card processor may mean looking for a new credit card processor that offers the deals that work for your business. It may also mean talking to a representative from the credit card processor that your organization uses to see if there are any packages that would better fit your organization’s needs.
Unfortunately, smaller businesses often have fewer options in terms of credit card processors. This is also a lot of work! Which is why most camps use an online software provider that partners with processors to make the process seamless and easy. The software allows you to process payments without worrying about whether your website is secure enough, or requiring you to jump through any other hoops.
Carefully Choosing or Changing Your Registration Software
Getting everything setup just right might get a little complicated, but a quality registration software should be able to help you adjust what payment options are available to your applicants.
Some registration software providers will allow you to set an additional charge to cover the expenses of transactions, usually based on a “blended rate,” a number between the processing fee that you are charged for credit and debit card purchases and the processing fee that you are charged for eCheck processing fees.
Some registration software companies can also help you to change the default payment method on your site to save you even more money. In this case, setting eCheck as the default payment method will increase that method being used. This will lower the blended rate, saving you money!
How Can You Save on Payment Processing For Your Camp?
By offering online payments, including credit card and e-Check options, utilizing tools in your software to offset the payment processing costs, and taking advantage of online payment benefits, namely scheduled payments and payment plans, you’ll see a reduction in your payment processing and operating costs overall, and an increase in your revenue due to increase in payment rate.
Integrating payments and offering an online option to your families will give everyone a great registration experience and help you manage your camp more efficiently!