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Credit Card Payments

Posted on May 19th, 2008 by Fran Myers, OLLI National Resource Center

Millicent M. Lynch from Carnegie Mellon University asks:
I am interested in receiving feedback on the pros and cons of online
registration with credit cards. Has it proven to be an easier or more
difficult method of handling registration/membership payments? Have you had
security issues?

5 Responses to “Credit Card Payments”

  1. We have offered online registration for just over one year. I assume that you would have a ’secure’ way of handling this sensitive information. That will be critical in getting members to sign on to it. We have taken great pains to limit access to all such information so it is very secure. There is a learning curve that you will need to work with some of your members on.

    * registration anytime, day or night
    * no waiting in line or being put on hold
    * refunds for cancellations or withdrawals are easier and more immediate
    * takes up less staff/volunteer time (whomever is handling your registration now) as it is largely “self-service”

    * the credit card processing fee (currently 2%) is an additional financial burden
    * only a fraction of your members will take advantage of this opportunity — though that should change over the next few years
    * the learning curve: you will need to give a lot of attention to your web site and the on-line registration process.

    If you have the system to handle it, I would recommend giving it a try.

  2. We have been offering on-line registrations for the last four years and accept credit cards. Since we are part of Continuing Education at the University of Kansas, we utilize their system. We have had no problems. Only about 10% of our registrations are on-line, but that is gradually increasing and will get huge as the boomers age. Security issues are huge and that is why we work within the University frameowrk with our system. I’m not only talking about the security of the members credit cards but also the security of the data on your system. I would check with your university computing services and see what secure servers may be available for you to use for credit card payment. As I understand it, the University could be liable if info is stolen from your system, so take lots of prcautions before you offer the service!

  3. We have been offering on-line registration and credit card payments for the past year. About half of our members pay electronically. Our payments are run through the University’s business office. For security and efficiency reasons, I would recommend using your university’s on-line system.

  4. We haven’t tried it yet — haven’t wanted to take on the financial and learning curve costs. Reading the comments so far — I’m thinking, maybe it’s time we begin to explore the possibility. Thanks all.

  5. We already accept credit card payments and are on the verge of launching on line registration. We use all of the established Continuing education systems for securing credit card information so do not anticipate any security issues. The biggest challenge we expect is prioritizing registrations received “instantly” on line with those mailed in or hand delivered.

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