Q: We hear so much about company accounts being ‘hacked.’ How secure is this service?
A: Very. Bethel has used VANCO Payment Solutions for several years without incident. As we take the security of our member’s information very seriously, when we were investigating our options to provide this new capability we looked closely at the security environment of the services considered. VANCO uses industry leading technical capabilities to protect user’s information. For more details check out this link.
Q: But how is providing this capability (especially with credit cards) consistent with our ministry emphasis on Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University?
A: It is true that Dave Ramsey’s FPU includes an aspect of “cutting up one’s credit cards” and avoiding indebtedness. But the essential focus is to manage our finances in a God Pleasing way that reflects responsible financial management. Bethel’s approach to providing our e-Payment and e-Donation options has been reviewed by our FPU team leaders and endorsed as an effective option for our members while being consistent with these broad FPU goals. Bethel urges its members to always exercise financial responsibility.
Q: Will a receipt be provided for the payment or donation?
A: Yes. Each online donation or payment, when submitted, will result in a page being displayed that can be printed and act as a receipt for the payment. In addition, if the payer has provided an email address during the completion of the payment, a receipt will be emailed to the address provided.
Q: Is there a benefit to registering with the payment and donation system?
A: Yes, but… Registration is not required to use the e-Payment or e-Donation capability. However, if the payer thinks they may use the system more than once registration allows them to enter some of their personal data (e.g., name, address, etc) only once and then have it available when they return to use the system at a later time.
Q: Is there a version of this page, with access to the service, for tablets and smartphone?
A: Yes. This same link can be used on a tablet or smartphone. On a smartphone the same content will be available but in a more efficiently formatted way. Depending on the size of the tablet the content may be similar to a smartphone or look like the normally formatted content. If you are reading this page on a computer you can scan the QR code on the left with your smartphone or tablet for easier access.
Q: Is there an impact to our accounting process?
A: We expect reduced manual handling of payments and donations as well as more accurate documentation. Payments and donations received today via non-electronic means (e.g., a check in the offering plate or presented as payment for Bible-study resources) require significant manual handling and documentation. Paper documentation (e.g., generated by our Sunday Counting Teams) is then manually transcribed by our Financial Secretary to our contributions system. Similarly, checks presented for things such as Mission Trips are also manually documented prior to their being deposited. This new system will reduce the amount of manual handling (both paper and transcription) that is required. In addition, a shift to electronic payments will reduce the amount of cash and checks needing to be physically transferred to our bank. Finally, the Finance Team is working with VANCO on increased automation of some previous manual actions. As a whole we believe the new system will contribute to more streamlined handling, more accurate documentation of donations and payments, and reduced security risks associated with handling cash and paper checks.
Q: Will this system be expanded to provide additional options?
A: We are planning for expanded services. The current capability is expected to be expanded as we learn more about dealing with e-payments. The Finance Team is considering providing office staff hardware and software to accept card swipe payments in the near future. Also, the team is looking further at providing smartphone and tablet-based card swipe payments capability for events such as our annual Hoe Down or parking lot sale. Rollout of these further capabilities may occur in the coming months.
Q: Can new donation or payment options be proposed?
A: Yes. Any Bethel Ministry Team Lead, as well as staff members, can propose the addition of new options. Working with the Finance Team these options can be added to the payments page on a continuing or short-term basis. Because the options need to be connected to our accounting system the Finance Team will coordinate the addition with others such as the Treasurer and the Financial Secretary. (If you are a Team Lead or staff member you can download and submit the Bethel E-Payments & Donations Change Form to the office.)
Q: Where can I find more information?
A: Additional questions can be addressed to Bob Curnow, Bethel’s Finance Team Lead; Holly Dunker, Bethel’s Treasure; Paul Nervig, Bethel’s Financial Secretary; or Dave Lund, Bethel’s Council President.