In a recent member poll, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) asked which method of payment NAE members use for most of their contributions. Of those surveyed, the majority primarily gives via check (63 percent).

2016-Spring_NAE Asks YouTwenty-three percent of evangelicals surveyed use some form of auto-payment or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), with smaller percentages using credit or debit cards (9 percent), and cash (5 percent) as their primary forms of giving.

The reasons for using checks over other forms of payment varied from practical and theological reasons to security and credit card fees. As one respondent noted, “I feel it is too much of a waste of money for organizations to pay when I use a credit card.”

Another NAE member said, “I entertained shifting to auto-payment, but then I thought it might remove me from awareness of what I am giving and when. If it was automatic, it seems like it would be out of sight and out of mind. Because I believe that giving is also an act of worship, I like to give during a worship service, and be fully aware of what and how much I am giving.”

Many churches, charities and individuals appreciate the consistency, efficiency and security of automated giving. For busy or disorganized people, automated giving can be a solution to not falling behind in giving.

Regardless of their preferred payment method, several NAE members observed an increase in auto-payments and/or debit and credit card payments. One pastor noted that electronic giving at his church is up more than 50 percent in the past year. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed cited auto-payment or EFT as their primary form of giving.

About nine percent of evangelicals who responded primarily use credit or debit cards for financial giving. The smallest percentage of giving among evangelicals surveyed is in cash. Just fewer than 5 percent of those surveyed primarily used cash to make financial donations.

Some NAE members also included that they use a mix of methods depending on the organization or initiative. One said that their contributions were about equally split between cash, credit card and EFT. Another said, “Perhaps 50% [EFT]; 40% check; 9% debit. EFT increasing.”

NAE Asks You is a quarterly poll of members of the National Association of Evangelicals. Survey results do not necessarily reflect the opinions or behaviors of all evangelicals.

For Further Reading

David Roach, “Churches Turn to Electronic Giving, Survey Finds,” LifeWay Research, April 6, 2011, http://www.lifeway.com/Article/research-churches-turn-to-electronic-giving (accessed April 22, 2016)

Samuel Ogles, “7 Apps for Mobile Giving,” Church Law and Tax, November 4, 2014, http://www.churchlawandtax.com/blog/2014/november/7-apps-for-mobile-giving.html (accessed April 22, 2016)

State of the Plate 2013, State of the Plate Research, http://www.stateoftheplate.info/index.htm (accessed April 22, 2016)