What Visa’s New MCC Codes Mean for Your Church’s Nonprofit Online Giving Rates

What Visa’s New MCC Codes Mean for Your Church’s Nonprofit Online Giving Rates

Visa recently made changes to their nonprofit classification of churches and religious organizations, resulting in significantly lower processing fees. Has your online giving provider updated your account?

Managing money wisely is no simple task, whether for a person or for an organization. Nonprofit credit card processing is a complex part of financial stewardship—but we can help you understand it and get the best rate for your church or ministry.

No one gives to an organization hoping the money is used for something other than accomplishing the mission. People want a church to use that gift to help others, not pay unnecessarily large transaction fees.

What if we told you it’s possible—and easily attainable—to use more money for your ministry just by changing an MCC Code classification for credit card transactions?

My Well is a ministry that offers at-cost credit card processing to faith-based nonprofits. In other words, we don’t profit from transaction fees like traditional credit card companies do. Here’s how to use MCC Code classifications to maximize your ministry funds.

An Overview of MCC Code Nonprofit Credit Card Processing Changes

The news: Visa recently changed how they classify churches, which has an impact on transaction fees and percentages.

The details: Credit card processing companies make money by charging a small fee above Visa’s cost for every transaction. Those companies, according to Visa’s guidelines, assign something called Visa Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) to classify businesses and organizations. For each MCC Code, companies charge different fees above Visa’s cost; this cost is called interchange. There are hundreds of card types and each type typically has a different interchange rate, which is dictated by the MCC code as well as the type of transaction. Restaurants and hotels have different MCCs than, say, hospitals and colleges; it’s normal for a restaurant to pay different fees than a hospital.

This is the part that matters for you:

Nonprofits and faith-based organizations also have MCC codes. For churches, two MCC codes are often used:

  • 8661 — Religious Organizations
  • 8398 — Charitable Organizations

Previously, a higher interchange rate was charged for religious and nonprofit credit card processing, while a lower rate was charged to charitable organizations. However, Visa recently reduced the interchange rate for religious organizations classified as 8661 so they are the same as charitable organizations classified as 8398.

Why it matters: Your church could put even more money toward your ministry—and we’ll show you how.

Why is My Well Telling Me This?

Short answer: We believe your funds should be used for your ministry, not profitable transaction fees for a provider. This change from Visa means your church can get an even lower rate than you previously had for nonprofit credit card processing.

My Well offers at-cost credit card processing to churches and faith-based nonprofits. (In other words, we don’t profit from transaction fees like traditional credit card companies do.) We know the importance of maximizing every dollar for things that matter most. My Well has worked with hundreds of churches and 501c3 nonprofits across the country, saving them more than $20,000,000.

We’re here to help you save, too.

Why should you make these changes? Consider two examples.

Example 1: A Small Church

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Think of church of about 200 people.

It’s full of families who’ve known each other for years, people who met and became good friends, and members young and old who are active in serving and building relationships with each other.

This tight-knit community gives about $30,000 each month. Based on the previous nonprofit credit card processing rate of 2.11 percent, this church would be using $632 of those gifts just to process the transactions. However, with the new average rate of 1.95 percent, the fees are $47 lower per month.

Now, $47 per month ($564 per year) isn’t that impressive. But think about what kind of impact that small amount of money can make through your church’s ministry. Would you use it to buy groceries for a single mother and her children? Would you offer it to your mentorship volunteers who could take students out to lunch each month? You don’t have to think very long to know that even $47 per month can make a difference to someone’s life—and isn’t that the whole point of your ministry?

Example 2: A Big Church

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Now think of a church of a different size. What would the impact be with a larger congregation?

Consider a church of about 10,000 attendees. They have a large staff and dozens of programs that serve people in varied life stages and socioeconomic status, from young children and teens to middle-aged and elderly members.

This wide-reaching community gives about $3,000,000 per month. Based on the previous transaction rate of 1.41 percent, this church pays $42,300 in monthly fees. However, the new average rate of .99 percent decreases monthly fees to $29,772. That’s a savings of nearly 30 percent!

Because of the new rate for nonprofit credit card processing, this church saves $12,528 each month ($150,336 per year). Think of the major impact more than $150,000 can make in your church’s community. You could:

  • support invaluable social services for the most needy people in your city
  • partner with churches’ disaster relief efforts around the country and the world
  • provide college scholarships to underprivileged youth
  • provide much-needed resources to enhance your ministries
  • fund new staff positions

It quickly becomes clear that your organization’s MCC codes and corresponding fees can make a tremendous impact in the real lives of people in your community.

The Bottom Line About Your Church’s MCC Classification

How can you ensure you’re getting the best new rates for credit card processing?

  • While other companies charge fees to profit on your financial transactions, at My Well, we’ll never profit on your processing fees because we strive to serve churches like yours and maximize your savings.
  • With My Well, your church can do more nonprofit credit card processing with less fees. That’s less money lost in the cracks and more money flowing to your church's mission to benefit the whole community.

What will you accomplish with more?

3 Practical Steps to Ensure You Get the Best Credit Card Processing Rate

To take advantage of Visa’s new MCC nonprofit credit card processing classifications:

  1. Check your recent merchant payment processing statements.
  2. Ask your current processor if you’re getting the best rate (interchange + 0%) and ask them to confirm that your MCC code classification is listed as 8661 or 8398. If they won’t give you that rate or they assigned you a different MCC classification ...
  3. Change your transaction processor to My Well. We’ll help you get the best possible rate and save the most money for your church or nonprofit ministry.

Don’t go another day losing money to transaction fees instead of your ministry budget.

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If you're already a My Well Ministry partner, we proactively updated your account so you're already receiving the lowest possible rate! There's nothing else you need to do. 🎉

Even if you don’t partner with us, we want you to get the best rate. Use this information to start a conversation with your current online giving provider and negotiate a better rate.

If you want to learn more about partnering with My Well Ministry, contact one of our ministry consultants for a free savings analysis.

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