Best merchant accounts for nonprofit organisations

By Rob Binns | Senior Writer

Start accepting card and contactless donations with the best merchant services for charities and nonprofits

best merchant accounts for nonprofit organisations

Running a nonprofit is stressful. You’ve got to meet strict stakeholder expectations, maximise your return on investment, and innovate constantly. And that’s not to mention raising as much money as possible for those you’ve pledged to help, while keeping costs to a minimum.

But how do you do this? Well, a merchant account is a good start. A merchant account lets you accept donations via card payment. That could be online, over the phone, or face-to-face – basically, however you do your fundraising.

People rarely pay with cash these days – and not being able to offer them an easier way to donate could mean losing them completely. When it’s so easy to accept card payments, why take the risk?

We’ve rounded up the best merchant accounts for nonprofits below. These providers will bring speed, simplicity, and value to your nonprofit organisation. Read on to find out how, and start taking some of the stress out of your job – because giving shouldn’t be a grind!

Did You Know?

Online charitable giving is growing at a rate of around 8%  year-on-year, compared to just 1% in overall charitable giving. Another reason to love the internet!

Top 5 merchant account providers for nonprofits

We compared the range of credit card processing services for nonprofits available in the UK. The best nonprofit merchant accounts come from Blackbaud, Braintree, Worldpay, iATS Payments, and Square.

Let’s find out why.


Best for data security

Blackbaud. You can’t write on this one, but you can use it to make processing credit card donations a lot easier. Blackbaud’s cloud-based software is a simple, scalable, all-in-one system for your charity. That means you get not only the merchant services you need, but also a full suite of marketing, analytics, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) features, too. But don’t just take our word for it – Blackbaud is already powering 80% of the world’s most influential nonprofits. What can it do for yours?


  • Straightforward pricing with no hidden fees
  • Supports mobile wallet payments

X Cons:

  • More expensive to process American Express transactions
Expert verdict: Blackbaud offers a secure way of taking payments and storing your donors’ data – all while staying fully PCI compliant.

Blackbaud pricing

Transaction fee:2.75% + 19p
AMEX transaction fee:3.5% + 19p


Best for discounted rates for nonprofits

With industry-leading payments software and special pricing for eligible charities, Braintree ticks all the boxes for nonprofits. Its recurring payments feature allows for seamless repeat giving, making things easier for your donors. It belongs to the same family as payments giant PayPal, too, so it’s stacked with plenty of its big brother’s best features. The one we like the most is ‘PayPal OneTouch’. It connects to the PayPal accounts of over 265 million users around the world, letting them donate to your charity with just a single press of a button. Impressive!


  • Customisable payment gateways let you decide the look and feel of your checkout
  • Easy to use and maintain

X Cons:

  • Poor Trustpilot ratings in the UK
Expert verdict: Braintree brings innovation and integration to your charity’s fundraising efforts – and potentially some tasty discounts, too.

Braintree pricing

Transaction fee:1.9% + 20p
AMEX transaction fee:2.4% + 20p
Non EU/EEA card transaction fee:2.9% + 20p
Did You Know?

In 2017, 21% of the world's charitable donations were made with a mobile device.


Best for donation analytics

Worldpay doesn’t just let you take donations with card – it also offers cutting-edge analytics to help your charity grow. Its services let you accept donations online, over the phone, or in person – basically, anywhere (or anyhow!) you fundraise. Worldpay’s solution integrates with your current Point of Sale (POS) and CRM systems, too. That makes things simple for your team, while letting you pull payment data to better understand your donors.


  • Lets you collect automated and recurring donations
  • All equipment is intuitive and easy to use
  • Trusted by over 300,000 UK businesses

X Cons:

  • Customer support not as strong as other merchant account providers for nonprofits
The verdict: Worldpay is a fantastic all-rounder, and brings a wealth of experience with UK businesses to the table.

Worldpay pricing

Pay as you go plan (contract-free)

Card reader cost:£69 (excl. VAT)
Card transaction fee:2.5% + 4p

Simplicity plan (18-month contract)

Card reader cost:£4.99 per month (excl. VAT)
Card transaction fee:1.5%

iATS Payments

Best for industry knowledge

iATS Payments stands out from the other providers on this list. Why? Well, it’s the only payments provider in the world focused exclusively on serving nonprofits. That means that it doesn’t just know your industry – it’s dedicated to growing it, too. iATS Payments also works soundlessly with the software your charity uses every day. You can accept donations through Facebook, and process them within Salesforce. Better still, it offers a flat fee structure, with no setup or hidden charges. So you can maintain a high level of donations, while keeping costs low.


  • Offers real-time credit card processing in several currencies
  • 24/7 online reporting

X Cons:

  • Can be complicated to get set up
  • Pricing not transparent
The verdict: iATS payments is a dedicated payment processing service for nonprofits, and gives you more channels through which to accept donations.

iATS Payments pricing

Pricing for this supplier is only available on enquiry.
Want to start accepting credit and debit card donations? Get Quotes


Best for ease of use

Square offers a speedy, stylish solution to accepting card donations for your charity. Your team can log into its secure online portal from anywhere, to take donations over the phone. Square offers a small, sleek card reader that looks great in your bricks and mortar store, too. And if you only want to take donations online, it can help with that. You can set up your online store through Square and start accepting payments through it in a matter of days. Above all, it’s easy to use – giving you more ways to get paid, and less stuff to worry about.

The verdict: Square is perfect if you’re new to taking card. Put simply, it’s an effective, snappy, secure (and simple!) way of collecting donations.


  • Transparent pricing, with a flat fee on all transactions - regardless of card type
  • Deposits into your charity’s bank account are fast and reliable

X Cons:

  • Phone support not available 24/7

Square pricing

Card reader cost:£29 (excl. VAT)
Card transaction fee:1.75%
Ecommerce/virtual terminal fee2.5%

Next steps

Merchant accounts are essential for nonprofits and charities. Without one, you can’t take payments online. And while this might not have been an issue ten years ago, the latest trends show that online donations are growing quicker than ever before.

We know that getting a merchant account can seem like a mountain of a task. And when you’re already bogged down with coordinating your fundraising efforts and maintaining relations with your donor base, that task becomes all but Herculean.

But that’s where we can help. Our free quote-finding form lets you compare quotes from merchant account providers for nonprofits. Just enter a couple of details about the type of solution you’re looking for, and we’ll match you with the right companies for you.


What fees are involved with a nonprofit merchant account?

The main cost associated with a merchant account is a transaction fee. It’s a small percentage you’ll pay on each card transaction you take – usually between 1 and 3%. You might also be liable for a monthly fee, too, as well as a one-off cost to get started.

The exact fees you’ll pay don’t just depend on the provider you choose. Costs take into account the size of your business, how long you’ve been in the industry, and your sales volume, too.

Merchant account fees will also depend on the type of supplier you select. A dedicated merchant account from a provider such as Worldpay comes with a larger range of fees to manage than a mobile card reader, like Square or SumUp. However, mobile card readers usually work out more expensive – especially if you’re taking a lot of card payments.

Do many merchant account providers offer concessions for charities?

Braintree and PayPal both offer discounted rates on merchant accounts for nonprofits. Sadly though, it’s not actually too common across the industry. In the absence of cheaper rates for charities, you’re best to look for merchant services with features tailored specifically to nonprofit organisations.

Companies like Blackbaud and iATS Payments are dedicated to serving charities, and Worldpay offers a feature allowing for simple recurring donations. Square also claims to offer discounts for charities, but this is done on a case-by-case basis.

How can a merchant account help boost my fundraising efforts?

For many charities, door knocking makes up a big chunk of their fundraising. But getting people to set up direct debits for regular donations isn’t easy – especially when you need them to do it from their doorsteps!

Having a merchant account can help. Many providers offer mobile card readers, which let your team take card payments on the go. These dynamic card machines are small enough to fit in your pocket, and so easy to use your Gran could figure it out.

Mobile card readers connect to the internet via 3G, which means you can accept card donations from wherever you need to – whether it’s knocking on doors, or selling cakes at a local school. Find out more by clicking below.

Want to start accepting credit and debit card donations? Get Quotes
Rob Binns Expert Market
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, social media monitoring, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.

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