eCatholic Payments: Most innovative payments solution of 2016

We were humbled to be honored with the ? “Most Innovative” award ? at BluePay’s 2016 Partner Event in Chicago. This award recognizes the company that has created the most unique and innovative payments solution over the past year utilizing BluePay’s API (application program interface).

Awards are sweet. But knowing eCatholic payments has helped the Church is sweeter.

When we set out to create eCatholic Payments, we knew we were addressing a real need in the Church. Online payments and donations were a significant pain point for our customers.

Our initial goal was straightforward: To transform the way Catholics give. After all, research shows that Catholics tithe less than 1% to their parish. Over the past year, eCatholic Payments has helped hundreds of parishes, schools, dioceses, and ministries:

  • ☑️ Increase donations
  • ☑️ Simplify payments for events, tuition, and other online registrations

In light of the award, we wanted to give you an inside look at how we created eCatholic Payments using BluePay’s API. The details can get complicated. But the end result is an affordable, secure, and hassle-free payments solution for the Church.

Step 1: Identify roadblocks to online giving

To begin, we identified three roadblocks many parishes face when trying to take the payment and donation process online. Many parishes:

  1. Can’t afford the high monthly cost associated with online payment processing systems.
  2. Don’t have the time or resources to understand and address security concerns that come with online payment processing.
  3. Struggle with the complicated setup and management of online payment processing systems.

These are real struggles at many Catholic parishes, schools and dioceses today.

Step 2: Dismantle roadblocks to online giving

eCatholic set out to break through these roadblocks. The solution: eCatholic Payments − an affordable, secure, hassle-free online donation and payment processing tool that seamlessly integrates with eCatholic websites.

Here’s how we tackled each challenge.

? Developing affordable online giving with eCatholic Payments

affordable online giving

Payment platforms can be downright expensive. Some providers charge hundreds of dollars per month to merely use their payment processing service. As a result, parishes can’t justify the cost of online giving. They reasonably opt to avoid taking on a mound of monthly expenses that make the whole system less profitable.

We set out to build an affordable online payment and donation platform.

First, we reached out to BluePay, a credit card processor headquartered near Chicago. We formed a partnership that allowed for exclusive low pricing on credit/debit card processing and bank account transfers (ACH) with no long-term contracts.

“Parishes can easily get overwhelmed with the complicated fees and monthly cost of online credit card processing,” explained Josh Simmons, eCatholic’s founder and CEO. “We wanted to tackle those roadblocks head-on with eCatholic Payments.”

?Building secure online giving for Catholic parishes

secure online giving

Fraud is a serious problem. And muddling through the details of how to establish a secure online giving platform gets confusing.

To address this issue, we leveraged our partnership with BluePay to create a platform that meets the highest standards of security. Specifically, we utilized BluePay’s Hosted Payment Form technology. This allows us to:

  1. Develop payments software with a beautiful user experience
  2. Store it on BluePay’s highly secure servers
  3. Embed the software inside an eCatholic webpage

With this method, all payment processing occurs on BluePay’s secure servers instead of through our client’s websites. The result: Our clients get secure online payment and donation capability seamlessly on their website. To top it off, individual parishes also complete a yearly assessment to maintain security standards.

When eCatholic Payments is paired with help from our dedicated support team, parishes can more easily achieve secure online giving.

?? Achieving hassle-free online giving

hassle free online giving

Finally, the most crucial roadblock: How to make payment processing incredibly easy. We needed to build a product that Catholic parishes, schools, dioceses, and organizations could use to create payment and donation forms on their websites quickly. No pain. No hassle.

We asked ourselves: How do we…

  • Connect the payment form on your beautiful eCatholic website with the payment processing platform?
  • Give you the flexibility to customize your payment forms?
  • Integrate the technology into your website for a completely seamless experience?

BluePay’s API provided the solution.

An API (Application Programming Interface) essentially specifies how one software should interact with another.

Chris Barker, BluePay’s integration specialist, worked directly with us to implement BluePay’s API. Together we discovered that we could stretch BluePay’s API and use it in ways that it had never been used before.

eCatholic was able to extend BluePay’s functionality to provide their customers the ability to customize their donation and payment forms within the eCatholic user interface.

– Chris Barker, Blue Pay Partner Integration Specialist

“eCatholic recognized that each customer may require a different customized donation or payment form,” Barker said. “It wasn’t feasible to create hundreds of templates for their customers to choose from.”

Using BluePay’s Hosted Payment Forms, we built a system that allows customers to easily create custom donation or payment forms.

“It may sound complex, but it’s only complex for us,” said Patrick Williams, eCatholic’s senior developer. “For customers, it’s just as easy as adding any other content to your site: drag-and-drop and what-you-see-is-what-you-get.”

Where do we go from here?

The success and recognition of eCatholic Payments is a blessing. Mission accomplished! But, the following comment from our senior developer sums up our attitude nicely:

“I think we have the best giving/payments platform on the market. And we’re just getting started.”

Do you have questions about online payment and donation processing for your parish or organization? Let us know in the comments below!