Vanco Payment Solutions
Vanco Payment Solutions is a provider of merchant services for religious organizations, schools, and nonprofits. They offer a range of products and services through their subsidiaries: GivePlus, RevTrak, ASAP, Charms, and Vanco Events. Processing rates start at 2.75% + $0.45 per transaction.
In the modern world, every business needs to be able to accept payments, and that includes religious organizations, nonprofits, and schools. For these types of institutions, Vanco Payment Solutions is a merchant services option that makes payment processing possible. Founded in 1998, Vanco Payment Solutions’ goal is to “serve those who make communities better places to live.” This strategy has worked for Vanco, as they now serve over 40,000 clients and process $13.1 billion in payments every year.
If you don’t fall under one of the industries Vanco Payment Solutions serves, you’re better off going with another payment solution. But if you do, Vanco Payment Solutions offers some services that are highly tailored to your business or institution. Here’s everything you need to know about Vanco Payment Solutions to decide if this provider is right for your business.
What Is Vanco Payment Solutions?
When you visit Vanco Payment Solutions’ website, it might take a minute to understand what it is Vanco does. That’s because Vanco only provides very basic explanations of all their products. To find out more information, you are redirected to a series of third-party business websites, all of which are subsidiaries of Vanco Payment Solutions. Here is a rundown of all the Vanco-branded businesses:
- GivePlus: Payment solutions for faith-based organizations
- RevTrak: Payment solutions for schools
- ASAP: School-management software
- Charms: School office assistant
- Vanco Events: Event ticketing and booking software
Don’t get confused by all these business names. They resell products owned and operated by Vanco Payment Solutions. The most important of all these products is the Vanco merchant account, as this is what allows you to accept credit card payments in the first place. So at their core, Vanco Payment Solutions is a merchant acquirer, or a service that offers dedicated merchant accounts.
Note that this makes Vanco Payment Solutions different than a Square or Stripe, as those types of businesses only offer aggregated merchant accounts. With a dedicated merchant account, you are less likely to experience account freezes or funding holds.
Now that we understand what Vanco Payment Solutions is, let’s learn more about what they offer. That requires digging into all of their subsidiary businesses.
Vanco Payment Solutions Capabilities
Vanco Payment Solutions has some core offerings that come with their solutions for both religious organizations and schools. We’ll cover these products first, then go over the more industry-specific solutions.
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.
This product is offered through both Vanco Payments Solutions’ GivePlus product (for religious organizations) and Vanco Payment Solutions’ 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 device. Another perk you 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. However, 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 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.
In terms of cost, Vanco Payment Solutions says users will pay $29 per month to use their 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.
Vanco Payments offers a host of other products through subsidiaries ASAP, Charms, and Vanco Events. Most of these products aren’t related to merchants services, but we’ll give you a quick overview of what they do.
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
- Reporting suite
ASAP also offers a series of add-on features for an additional charge. Here are some of the most notable tools provided:
- Membership management
- Donation campaigns
- Merchandise sales
- Camp management
- Facility reservations
- Student check-in
- Private lesson management
- Franchise tools
Pricing for ASAP is quote-based.
Charms Office Assistant
Charms is also used for school management, but 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 a whole lot more. For a complete rundown of all of Charms’ features, visit their 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 webpages 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.
What’s more, 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 also 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 their 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 that will show you how to implement Vanco into your existing services. You’ll also be assigned a “giving coach” that 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. ET 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 their products on their GivePlus website, but not on any of their other subsidiary websites. Therefore, we can’t say for sure if these rates apply to all institutions who work with Vanco, or only religious organizations.
Regardless, the rates on the GivePlus website are divided between three subscription plans. Let’s look at all three:
- 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% + $0.45 processing fee per transaction, and 1% + $0.45 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% + $0.35 processing fee, and 0.8% + $0.35 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.
Vanco Payment Solutions Pros
Now that we have the basics on Vanco Payment Solutions, here are what we see as the pros of using it for your organization.
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 short list. 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 they provide. 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.
Vanco Payment Solutions Cons
While there are some benefits to using Vanco Payment Solutions, there are also downsides. Let’s explore the cons associated with this payment processor.
Lack of Pricing Transparency
The main issue we have with Vanco is transparency. Some merchant services providers offer no pricing information. Others are very upfront about their costs. Vanco falls on the lower end of this spectrum.
Their 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 their 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 their POS system or mobile credit card reader. Overall, we’d guess some of these costs are determined on a case-by-case basis, but we’d like to see Vanco offer their customers clear pricing information.
Vanco Payment Solutions Reviews
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.
Vanco Payment Solutions Alternatives
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% + $0.10 per transaction. Online payments are processed at a rate of 2.9% + $0.30. 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 $0.15 and $0.05. Payment Depot also provides customers with a dedicated merchant account, payment gateway, and virtual terminal.
Is Vanco Payment Solutions Right for Your Business?
If your business is a religious organization, school, or nonprofit, Vanco should be a serious contender for your business’s payment processor. Their experience and range of services are designed to help you maximize donations and support. But for any other kind of business, you’re better off looking elsewhere for your merchant services needs. The Vanco Payment Solutions alternatives above are a good place to start, or you can check out some other options before making your decision.
Matthew Speiser is a former staff writer at Fundera.
He has written extensively about ecommerce, marketing and sales, and payroll and HR solutions, but is particularly knowledgeable about merchant services. Prior to Fundera, Matthew was an editorial lead at Google and an intern reporter at Business Insider. Matthew was also a co-author for Startup Guide—a series of guidebooks designed to assist entrepreneurs in different cities around the world.