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Can donors contribute credit card fee?

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Can donors contribute credit card fee?

I made a donation to a large national organization recently and one of the options was: "I would like to help decrease expenses by paying for the 3% credit card fee."  I think this is a fantastic idea, and want to use it myself. But our event software company won't do it - they say it's illegal to "charge a surcharge." I can't believe big organizations like the one I gave to would get this wrong. Can I ask the donor if they'd like to pay the credit card processing fee?  

I don’t think your software company is correct.  You are not charging a surcharge.  You are offering the donor the opportunity to contribute a little extra to cover some of your costs.  It is like suggesting that a donor put a stamp on the business reply envelope to cover the charity’s cost of the return mail charge. It is totally optional.

The software company may have to program an additional option on your donation page and the email receipt, but it may be a good investment to cut your other costs.

Monday, October 9, 2017


The 3% credit card fee that was mentioned isn't really a surcharge to the customer, but is essentially a merchant fee that banks (or credit card processors) apply to any transaction paid for by credit card. My experience is that businesses commonly absorb this merchant fee as a cost of doing business.

I have been seeing with increasing frequency, that online charitable donors, have the option (if offered) to increase their contribution to cover the merchant fee.

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