Learn About Accepting Credit Card
Donations by Mail or Phone
Learn how you can take credit card donations
or orders by phone or mail.

Accepting Phone or Mail Credit Card Donations

If your nonprofit organization accepts credit card donations through direct mail or over the phone, you are participating in what is called MOTO Credit Card Processing (MOTO = Mail Order Telephone Order). This means that you accept credit cards in an environment where the donor and credit card are not physically present at the time of donation. Another term used for this is card not present credit card processing.

New options to process phone and mail credit card donations (MOTO credit card transactions) are available with a wide range of card processing equipment and software. Bluewater can help you get the processing solution that's just right for your organization.

How Accepting a Credit Card Donation by Phone or Mail Works

The illustration shows how a nonprofit organization can accept credit card donations donations by phone or mail.
  1. A donor makes a gift over the phone or mails in a fundraising reply slip to the nonprofit organization with their credit card information. The non-profit organization enters the card information and gift amount it into a credit card terminal, or payment gateway.
  2. The processing system connects to Bluewater’s processor for authorization.
  3. The processor passes the sale information on to the bank that issued the credit card which checks to see that the card is valid and if the amount requested is available on the account.
  4. The issuing bank sends an approval number or a decline message back to the processor.
  5. The information is passed back to the processing system which gives the non-profit organization the approval number and allows them to print a receipt for their records. It generally takes less than 15 seconds to complete steps 2-5 on a traditional terminal or just a few seconds with a payment gateway connected to the internet.
  6. The non-profit organization must "settle" their processing sales (donations) on a daily basis which begins the final process in the transactions. In most cases the credit card terminals can be programmed to settle the account at a specified time each day. The donations are electronically deposited into the non-profit organization's bank account. It typically takes two business days from the time of the original transaction for the funds to reach the non-profit organization's bank account.

For more information on how you can accept credit card donations by phone or mail, call 1-866-519-9624.

Learning Center Learn more about accepting credit cards for donations or sales.