Credit Card + Church = Hell?

Okay, it is quite possible that I may have actually ended up in hell for using my credit card. You can check out yesterday’s post (directly below this one) to see where this thought started. I know this is my third article this week about credit cards so I promise to write about a different topic, like pickles or jellyfish or something cool, on Monday. But try and stick with me one last time will ya?

As you may be aware, I tithe each month at my local church and donate to a non-profit radio station I support (I know you probably didn’t think I went to church after having two posts this week refer to the woman’s breasts). I wasn’t raised to give away a percentage of my income. I didn’t start to form this habit until I graduated college. I’m just gonna be honest with you all, I give that tithe each month with a semi-clenched fist. It still hasn’t gotten “easy” to give that money away. I know in my tiny little heart that I should have no problem giving away such a small percentage of my total income, but I still find myself coming up with reasons why I need to hold off on the charity this month (need more in savings, contribute to retirement, have a car expense coming up, etc). It was because I lacked the discipline in writing a check or putting cash in the bucket as it went by, that many months, I didn’t meet my tithing goal.

This is where my credit card, and potential future in hell, come in to play. For some reason, I don’t have the psychological pain giving money on my credit card. I have set up auto-deductions each month for the radio station I support and I hardly notice the charge when it comes. That’s when I decided I would start making my monthly tithe via credit card. Good deal right?

Well, after conversations with some much wiser individuals, I realized my credit card tithing is costing the church a hell of a lot of money (no pun intended, okay maybe the pun was intended). I was talking with my girlfriend’s dad and he is an active member at his church. He told me the congregation had lost out on about $50,000 last year because of all the fees associated with the credit card tithes. That’s a crap load of money that could have been used to do a lot more effective things, but instead it’s going to those A-hole banks.

I’ve decided I need to buckle down and cut a check each month. It costs me the same amount of money, but gives the church so much more. Remember, the average fee for credit card transactions is about 2%. Two percent may not seem like a lot, when looked at under a microscope, but when that multiplies by hundreds of people over the course of the year it’s tens of thousands of dollars. This time the voice of reason yelled in my ear “Quit being such a douche bag and tithe with cash or a check.”

Don’t get me wrong, if you tithe via your credit card, I got no issues with that. I think this is something that should be dealt with on a personal basis. There are definitely advantages to using the CC, easily tracks all contributions, can schedule auto-payments, don’t have to remember to write a check or get cash out. I personally just want every dollar I give to serve a purpose, and chillin’ in some bankers pocket is not the plan I had for it.

Where do you all stand? Have you thought about this before? I got a lot of great feedback on yesterday’s post, so I’m hoping you wise individuals can throw in your 2 cents!

6 thoughts on “Credit Card + Church = Hell?”

  1. Just set up an automatic payment through your online bank. You put in the church address (or their bank account information if you have it), and the bank will either send it via ACH, or cut a physical check and mail it to them.

    I hate writing out checks in case you didn't realize. I even send my mom money this way.

    You could also educate the other people at your church about it.

  2. I don't tithe but this is something I think about when I give donations. Generally I try to use an electronic check if it's important to me, or more than a certain amount of money. If it's a case where I'm only giving a little and the convenience of it would make the difference between giving some or giving none at all, I'll go ahead and use paypal or whatever's most convenient and consider it still a net boon. Finally, when it's fundraising for a friend – something that I want to support but equally for the friend's sake as for the cause's, it makes it a bit easier if I give myself a little kickback with my rewards credit card.

  3. @Donnie- Never really thought about that option. I have my school loan auto-debited out of my checking account each month I will have to call my bank and the church to see how I can set up a transfer between the two.

    @ Tara- I agree with you it's always better to give something than give nothing. Maybe less people would tithe or donate if they couldn't use their credit card?

  4. If the average credit card merchant fee is 2% and the church lost out on about $50,000, then its total tithe revenue from credit cards alone was almost $2.5 million!?!? That must be one huge church.

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