Transferring club money without a fee
August 6, 2017 7:52 AM   Subscribe

I've recently become the administrator of our school's grocery club. Every two weeks, people give me checks, I deposit them into the club's bank account, contact the grocery store, and the store transfers money from our bank account and reloads the participant's prepaid cards with the balance, less 5% (so we make 5% on each reload). I'd like to eliminate the check part of the process and have people send money electronically to the club's bank account.

What I need: no fees charged (the program won't be worthwhile if the payment system takes a percentage as well); clarity about who the money is coming from so that I can direct the correct cards to be loaded; and the ability to work directly with the club's bank account, which is set up as a non-profit account with its own tax ID number. I know some of the online payment systems don't charge a percentage for personal transactions, but I think they categorize club transactions as business transactions. I'm not willing to run these funds through my personal bank account to avoid this, and it's also not possible for participants to send funds directly to the grocery store - I need to place the reload orders myself and have the funds pulled from the bank account. I also don't want to change our bank - the banking is free, local and allows me to deposit the checks and use the funds immediately. I'm ok with a short float period on the payment system's end, provided it's clear and I can let participants know about it in advance (so they have to arrange for funds to be sent to me 3 or 4 days prior to the card loading date, and the funds definitely make it into our account on card reloading day).

Do you know of any programs that would meet my criteria and that are easy to work with and reliable? We're dependent on the goodwill of our participants, and making it easy for them is really important for our participation rates.

posted by Sukey Says to Work & Money (2 answers total)
I'm assuming you're in the US. Most domestic banks will let their customers set up automatic payments for free, either electronically as an ACH or by physically mailing a check to your bank (which would save you the time of having to deal with physical checks yourself). The way each bank chooses to implement this varies so you wouldn't be able to have a simple set of universal instructions that work for everyone.
posted by Candleman at 8:30 AM on August 6, 2017

To me it sounds like Square Cash would be a good solution. People can either send you money via the Square Cash phone app, or they can use a webpage to do it. For instance, here is what it looks like on the page to donate to Wikipedia:$Wikipedia. Once people sign up for Square Cash, they won't need to enter their card info every time -- it will be one or two clicks. Just choose a "$cashtag" like, for instance, "$groceryclub" and people can just send the money there. As far as I can tell, there are no fees for a case like this and no limit to how much money you can receive once you verify your info. I love Square Cash for exchanging money with friends/family, and I even set it up with my landlord to pay rent -- I've never paid fees to use it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:41 AM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

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