Credit Card Companies Must Not Profit From Charitable Donations

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Sponsor: The Hunger Site

Credit card companies continue to reap large profits from people who give to charity. This must stop.

If you write a $100 check to a charity, the charity gets $100.

Drop a $100 bill in a charity's bucket, and the charity gets $100.

Donate $100 to a charity using your credit card, and the charity is looking at about $97 and some change1.

Credit card companies typically charge processing fees on all transactions, even charitable donations. They can siphon off upwards of 3% of all charitable donations with these fees. And while 3% may not sound like much, it adds up quickly2.

Credit card companies and banks make as much as $250 million each and every year from these fees, a number that increases greatly in times of crisis3. This is an unconscionable amount of money to take away, money that is vital for relief and development across the globe.

The major credit card companies — Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express — responded to public outcry against this practice after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti with half-measures and smoke and mirrors4. They chose a very small group of charities which would be exempt from those fees for a very limited amount of time. Donations sent to help respected organizations in Haiti — such as those to Partners in Health, Doctors Without Borders, and Mercy Corps — were still subject to excessive and amoral fees. There is no reason to believe that, without pressure from customers, these companies will cease charging for charitable transactions of their own accord.

Credit card companies are profiting off disaster, and it's time we put a stop to it!

Sign the petition below and send a strong message to Visa, MasterCard and other major credit card companies: Every penny of a charitable donation must reach the people who need it most. Waive all transaction fees, for all charitable donations, for all time. Sign below!

More on this issue:

  1. Anisha Sekar, Nerdwallet (5 May, 2021), "Giving to Charity With a Credit Card? It'll Cost the Charity."
  2. Joanne Fritz, The Balance (28 April 2019), "What Do I Need to Know About Credit Cards for Accepting Donations?."
  3. Lyle Daly (13 April 2021), "Average Credit Card Processing Fees and Costs in 2021."
  4. Rich Blake, ABC News (18 January 2010), "Banks, Credit Card Issuers Lend Help to Haiti."
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The Petition:

To the CEOs of Visa, Inc.; MasterCard, Inc.; Discover Financial; and American Express:

I am outraged to discover that for each charitable donation I make with my credit card, your company takes up to 3% for "transaction fees." The $250 million that your companies receive annually through these fees alone are intended for people in need, particularly in times of crisis.

Put 100% of donations in the hands of the people and groups intended to get it. Waive all fees, for all donations to legally recognized charities, for all time. Listen to your customers — it's time to stop profiting from suffering.


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