Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
3 minutes reading time (653 words)

Making Donations Via Credit Card

As presidential campaigns get more aggressive, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to make a credit card donation to help fund your party’s candidate. Technology has made it easy for campaign workers to take donations on the spot by swiping your credit card through a small device attached to a smart phone.

Campaign season isn’t the only time you might be asked to make a donation via credit card. The holiday season is notorious for bell ringers seeking donations for their organization. No matter what time of year, you should always be on guard of for people asking you to give to their cause. “I don’t have any cash,” isn’t a valid excuse since volunteers can now take donations on the spot as long as you have a credit card.

For the most part, making a donation with your credit card is very much similar to making one via cash or check. However, you have to beware of debt and credit card fraud when you’re donating with your credit card.

What to Consider Before Donating

You should never make purchases on impulse and that includes credit card donations. Before you donate to any charity, first assess whether you can afford to donate. Have you already accounted for donations in your monthly or annual budget? And using your credit card to donate also requires that you be sure you have enough available credit to handle the donation amount. Otherwise, you could incur an over-the-limit fee for the donation.

Making a donation via credit card is a good idea only when you plan to pay the balance in full by the end of the month. Repaying the donation over several months means that you’ll end up donating some money to your credit card issuer as well.

Keep in mind that the organization has to pay processing fees to accept credit card donations. They may only receive about 97.5% of the amount you donate since the other 2.5% will be paid in fees. Some organizations may require you to pay the processing fee on top of your donation, while others will just take the fee out of your donation.

Donating Your Credit Card Rewards

You may have another option for donating via credit card, one that doesn’t require you to charge the donation toward your balance. Some rewards credit cards give you the option of donating your rewards to a charitable organization. For example, Citi credit cards with the ThankYou Rewards Program allow you to donate your rewards to the American Red Cross. Discover also allows participating cardholders to donate their rewards to one of several organizations.

If your credit card has a cashback rewards program, you can always redeem your reward for cash and then donate the cash for a reward. Or, charge the donation and then redeem your rewards for a statement credit in the same amount.

Beware Donation Scams

Whether you’re donating by phone, internet, or in person, always beware of scams. Only donate to a reputable source whose identity you’ve confirmed. If you’re solicited over the phone, via email, or in person, request to have more information mailed to you. That will give you time to research the organization and verify that it’s legitimate. If you decide it’s a worthy cause, use the internet to look up the charity’s information and donate that way.

Come up with a way to politely decline donation solicitations so you’re not caught off guard. Sometimes a simple “No thanks” will work, but some workers may be more aggressive. Another approach is to agree to accept a brochure to review so you can make an informed decision about what you’re donating to. Or, you can tell the organization that your budget won’t allow you to make donations at this time. You can always hang up the phone or just walk away if the worker just won’t accept no for an answer.

Sources:,, Federal Trade Commission
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Friday, 19 July 2024

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