Automated Tithing: A New Way to Give

The long wallet is long gone. I don’t carry a checkbook anymore. I stick to cash and credit/debit cards for making daily purchases. 

Still, there’s one place I always end up needing my checkbook: at Church. At least once a month, for tithing.

With all we have going on these days, it’s sometimes an after thought to remember to bring your checkbook to Church. 

I thought I’d take a moment to examine some of the ways we could simplify the tithing process and ensure we give consistently and on time each month. After all, I make most of my other payments automatically; why not do the same with tithing?

Auto-Withdrawal (or Bank Draft)

Most Churches will sign you up for auto-withdrawal. This is where you fill out a form, which includes your bank routing and account number, your specified contribution % or amount, and an attached voided check.  The Church then hands your info over to their bank who handles the rest.

Other Online Systems

Beside the traditional auto-withdrawal method, there are online based third party systems that will handle it all for the Church. eGiving Systems appears to be one of the leaders in this arena. See more at eGivingSystems.org.

Online Bill Pay

Use your bank’s online bill payment system to send recurring checks to your Church. Just make sure this is a free option and that your Church will know what to do with the check. It might be a good idea to speak with them about this first.

Automated Tithing Machines

secure giving machineYes, some Churches apparently have Automated Tithing Machines (“ATMs”) that allow you to use your debit/credit card to give right there in the Church lobby. 

Not really automated in the sense I’m writing about, but it sure is convenient and pretty cool.

I could see myself doing this on those Sundays that I forget my checkbook, as long as the machines wouldn’t charge me a transaction fee. If your Church doesn’t have one, consider asking them to have one set up. See more at SecureGive.com. From their website:

“The Secure Give system is built around a giving kiosk that features a touch screen monitor, a magnetic stripe reader, a receipt printer, a secure encrypted PIN pad, and an enclosure. When the donor steps up to the giving kiosk, he or she will be led through a simple menu that will enable the contributor to donate to your ministry or your non-profit organization.”

That’s pretty cool. Would you tithe through one of these “ATMs”?

Not Ready for Auto-Tithe?

For many reasons, setting up some sort of automatic tithing might not be the right thing for you. For instance,

  1. you may have irregular income;
  2. you may want to “feel” the act of tithing by physically writing out a check or handing over cash (nothing wrong with that); or
  3. you may just not be comfortable with the whole automatic transaction thing.

If that’s the case, here’s your solution: simply leave your checkbook next to your Bible or in your car (make sure your car is garaged if you do this). You might even consider tearing a few checks out of the checkbook and placing them directly in the pages of your Bible.

How do you tithe?

Last Edited: March 19, 2012 @ 10:27 pmThe content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

Comments

  1. Good topic, PT… and good advice for those who are not into the automated giving. I have not seen these ATM’s you speak of. Interesting idea, to be sure.

  2. I think it would be pretty cool to be able to give to my church using my credit card, but I would probably like to be able to change it month to month depending on how much I make (I make a variable amount each month). So maybe an online giving form would be better in my situation than an auto-draft or other automated giving system.

    I also might or might not use an “ATM.” It would really depend on where it was located.

  3. Marty Baker says:

    Thanks for mentioning SecureGive and Stevens Creek Church in this blog. It’s been a very interesting journey. Several years ago, we were preparing for a capital campaign at The Creek. During this season, I examined my own life and realized that I don’t carry cash or a check book, but I live with a debit card in my hand.

    I began to wonder: “What if there were other people in our congregation like me and what would happen if they felt prompted to give while at service how would they give.”

    I started looking for a solution. After months of searching, I could not find one and thus, SecureGive was born.

    Today you can find SecureGive units in over one hundred locations across America … in churches, hospitals, theaters and even at the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

    The culture is changing. We, as church leaders, will eventually have to reshape our thoughts on collecting funds. When you are ready to change … consider SecureGive.com. Of course, I am biased … it’s my wife’s company.

    Be blessed today.

    Marty Baker, D.Min.
    Lead Pastor
    Stevens Creek Church
    Augusta, GA

  4. Automated tithing machines? No way. Now I’ve seen (or heard) it all.

  5. I like the idea of automated tithing. Everything else is automated; so why not have the convenience of being able to give when you don’t have your checkbook handy.
    Also, I’m glad you suggested ways to plan ahead for tithing, like carrying checks in your Bible.

  6. @Todd – Indeed. To be sure. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  7. @Marty – Thanks for stopping by and sharing the story of SecureGive.

  8. Scott @ The Passive Dad says:

    When I first read this post I thought it was a joke, or at least a satire on ATM machines. Then, I got to think that some of the mega churches like Joel Osteens or Rick Warren’s may have something like this for large congregations.
    But, does this ATM take credit cards or just debit cards? I sure hope they only take debit cards as it could lead to financial issues for members to get in further debt.

  9. That will probably never happen here in the Philippines. Maybe its a culture thing, most people here prefer to give the “manual” way. That act of reaching out for your wallet, figuring out how much is the 10% of your gross pay, dividing them to 4 equal Sundays so you give each Sundays, put that money in an envelop then walking your way to give it to the guy holding the basket..is all part of that “manual” experience which most people here seem to enjoy*laughs*

    In fact, I’ve never seen anyone on any church I attended(even mega churches) here using checks for tithing. I know its weird yeah?

    Sam
    Fix My Personal Finance
    http://fixmypersonalfinance.com/

  10. Hey I love this story and believe that self service kiosks are becoming more and more of a necessity for doing business. At Church Media Group we have had many requests for giving solutions including custom kiosks so we went ahead and created a product that helps ministries called MinistryGive. You can visit the website http://www.ministrygive.com to get more details.