Vanco Payment Solutions is a provider of merchant services for religious organizations, schools and nonprofits. It offers a range of products and services through its subsidiaries: GivePlus, RevTrak, ASAP, Charms and Vanco Events.
If your business is a religious organization, school or nonprofit, Vanco should be a serious contender for your business’s payment processor. Its experience and range of services are designed to help you maximize donations and support. If not, you’re better off going with another payment solution.
As previously mentioned, Vanco Payment Solutions provides customers with individual merchant accounts. Each merchant account comes with its own unique merchant ID, although it is unclear whether Vanco processes transactions themselves or outsources to a third-party processor. Be sure to look for this information in your Vanco contract.
Vanco’s payment gateway makes it possible for users to submit payments online or in-person via a virtual terminal. It can accept all major credit cards as well as ACH payments.
This product is offered through both Vanco Payments Solutions’ GivePlus product (for religious organizations) and its RevTrak product (for schools). With both, users can embed a payments page on their website or reroute visitors to a Vanco-hosted payments page.
You can also register your institution on the GivePlus or RevTrak mobile apps (available for iOS and Android) to allow users to submit payments through their mobile devices. Another capability you can get with GivePlus and RevTrak is the ability to allow your clients to donate by text via a dedicated 10-digit number provided by Vanco. This tool will cost $5 per month to use.
Institutions can also arrange recurring payments. Payments are deposited into the client’s business bank account within one to four business days (online payments are typically processed faster than mobile payments).
Vanco Payment Solutions sells a POS system that comes with an iPad Air with a secure enclosure, an encrypted card reader for secure debit/credit processing and a roll of paper to print receipts. The credit card reader is a Verifone VX 520. The POS terminal can be customized with your organization’s branding and is capable of accepting magstripe, EMV and NFC payments.
The company says users will pay $29 per month to use its POS terminal, plus a one-time hardware cost.
Mobile credit card reader
Along with a countertop terminal, Vanco Payments also sells a USB mobile credit card reader that works in conjunction with the GivePlus and RevTrak apps to allow you to collect payments on the go. Note that this card reader can only accept magstripe payments.
ASAP is an education administration software system designed to help manage the day-to-day operations of K-12 schools. Here is a rundown of the features included within ASAP:
Online registration portal for students and parents.
Student information database.
Class management, including enrollment and attendance records.
Integration with RevTrak for payment processing.
ASAP also offers a series of add-on features for an additional charge:
Private lesson management.
Pricing for ASAP is quote-based.
Charms Office Assistant
Charms is also used for school management, but it offers some slightly different features. Some of the things Charms Office Assistant can do include track student, member and adult information such as email addresses, phone numbers, what group they are in and their grade.
Charms can also organize your library and keep track of your inventory, equipment, props and uniforms. Other features include tracking fundraisers and disbursing profits, filing 1099s and 990 forms, managing budgets, creating schedules and more. For a complete rundown of all of Charms’ features, visit its website.
Pricing for Charms is quote-based.
Lastly there’s Vanco Events, an event ticketing software for nonprofit organizations. Vanco Events allows users to create event web pages via a drag-and-drop interface. Elements you can add to your web pages include custom images, maps, descriptions, session times, dates, location and pricing details and a portal where tickets can be purchased. There is also an interactive seating chart feature.
Businesses can customize the look and feel of their tickets by adding images, logos and backgrounds. Once your webpage is complete, you can embed widgets on your own website and direct visitors to a page where they can purchase tickets. You’re also able to provide discounts and promotion codes and track sales in real-time.
Vanco Events comes with a ticket scanning app (for iOS devices) that allows users to scan QR codes, view guest information and manage volunteers at all entry points.
Vanco Events does not provide pricing information on its website, so you’ll need to contact them directly for a quote.
When you sign up for Vanco Payment Services, you’ll work with a dedicated launch specialist who will show you how to implement Vanco into your existing services. You’ll also be assigned a “giving coach” who will assist you with promoting your new payment solutions.
Once you’re onboarded, Vanco’s Client Services team will be able to assist you with all inquiries by phone between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern Monday through Friday. Email inquiries are also answered within 24 hours. Emergency technical support is available on a 24/7 basis.
On the Vanco website, there is also a Resources page with ebooks to help you grow your organization, as well as a blog with additional resources.
Vanco Payment Solutions provides some pricing information for its products on its GivePlus website, but not on any of its other subsidiary websites.
The rates on the GivePlus website are divided between three subscription plans.
Start Plan: The start plan is designed for religious organizations with less than $20,000 in monthly donations. This subscription comes with a $10 monthly fee, 2.75% plus 45 cents processing fee per transaction and 1% plus 45 cents ACH fee. It features Vanco’s payment gateway and mobile app, but, as previously mentioned, the Vanco mobile card reader and POS system will come separate. Also note that text message donations cost $5 per month.
Sustain Plan: This plan is designed for religious organizations with monthly donations between $20,000 and $40,000. It features everything in the Start plan, but with a $49 monthly fee, 2.35% plus 35 cents processing fee and 0.8% plus 35 cents ACH fee.
Custom Plan: Vanco offers religious organizations with over $40,000 in monthly donations custom pricing. The Custom Plan comes with everything included in the Sustain Plan, but with custom monthly, processing and ACH fees designed to suit your organization.
Note that Vanco also charges a $33 chargeback fee and a $31.50 PCI non-compliance fee to all merchants. Contracts are month-to-month, and there is no early termination fee.
There aren’t many merchant service providers out there that cater directly to schools and religious organizations (there are quite a few for nonprofits). So if you are a school or religious organization in need of payment processing, Vanco Payment Solutions should already be on your shortlist. You’ll get the benefit of a business with years of experience serving organizations like yours and access to products tailored to your needs.
Vanco’s mission of helping the organizations that serve communities rings true when you consider the level of customer service it provides. Most merchant services providers aren’t going to give you dedicated account specialists to help you integrate and promote your service. Furthermore, this type of support is crucial when working with religious organizations and schools because these types of institutions tend not to have the greatest technical infrastructure.
Lack of pricing transparency
The main issue with Vanco is transparency. Its GivePlus website offers pricing info, but that info is nowhere to be found on the RevTrak, Charms, ASAP or Vanco Events pages (not to mention its main website). This makes it somewhat confusing to determine if RevTrak costs the same as GivePlus. We’d say this probably isn’t the case. At least GivePlus’ pricing gives some sort of baseline as to what one might end up paying for RevTrak.
In addition, Vanco does not disclose the costs you’ll end up paying for its POS system or mobile credit card reader.
Across major review websites, customers express a generally positive sentiment towards Vanco Payment Solutions. In positive reviews, users tout its ease of use, helpful customer support and special features like payment notifications and offset payments.
Negative reviews are few and far between, but a common critique is the software’s overall user experience. Some customers say they have found it difficult to execute the changes they want to make, due to unclear information presented on the platform.
Is Vanco Payment Solutions a little too specific for your business? Here are some payment processors that serve a broader market.
Square is one of the most versatile and widely used payment processors for small businesses. With Square, you can process credit card payments in person at a rate of 2.6% plus ten cents per transaction. Online payments are processed at a rate of 2.9% plus 30 cents. Square also provides new users with a free magstripe reader and access to free POS software. You can also purchase credit card and POS terminals through Square, as well as other tools that can help you run your business, including payroll processing and a marketing suite of services.
Another Vanco Payment Solutions alternative is Payment Depot, which provides membership pricing and wholesale interchange rates. Memberships range from $49 to $199 per month. With your membership, you’ll get the lowest interchange rate possible, plus transaction fees ranging between 15 cents and five cents. Payment Depot also provides customers with a dedicated merchant account, payment gateway and virtual terminal.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.