Disclaimer: This post is not paid advertising or its questionable cousin, “sponsored content.” It’s a public service announcement for association managers who want to spend less time, money and stress on their online financial transactions.

At ADG, we work with multiple associations and have seen the best and worst of online payment processors. Often a client has been using its processing company for years and has become accustomed to its quirks. Like the door that sticks or the spouse who snores, they’ve learned to live with it.

Now we’re not suggesting you burn down the house with the sticky door or divorce your snoring spouse if you value their good qualities. A clunky, expensive credit card processing system, however, has no redeeming qualities other than familiarity.

ADG is in the process of transitioning our association management clients to Stripe, an online payment processing company started in 2010 by 20-something Irish brothers John and Patrick Collison. Stripe allows an organization to accept payments through its website without having to register and maintain a merchant account – a time- and money-consuming process.

“Setting up that merchant account, which most people use to accept payments, can be up to a three-week process,” John Collison told the online magazine Fast Company in 2012. “With Stripe, you fill out your details, and you’re ready to go in five minutes.”

If you like the way Stripe saves time, you’ll love the way it saves money, especially in the area of Payment Card Industry (PCI) security compliance. All businesses and organizations that accept credit cards – on and offline – must comply with these standards for keeping their customers’ information secure. Many payment processors charge clients a fee for PCI compliance services. Random PCI compliance scans are done throughout the year, and failing one can result in stiff penalties.

“In some cases the problems listed are false positives,” says Shannon Davenport, lead web developer at Studio136, ADG’s creative division. “So I have to dispute the finding and gather information to prove to them at it is a false positive. I finally get everything solved …. The next week, they run another scan and send emails saying they failed again.

“This could turn into a full-time job for me, just chasing down PCI failures,” Davenport adds.

Stripe takes all that out of your hands. A member or donor’s credit card information “never hits our servers,” explains Lisa Shaw, financial manager at ADG. “It goes directly from the end user’s computer to Stripe. Therefore, no PCI compliance is required (from the association).”

We’ll keep you posted as our association managers, IT and finance staff begin working with Stripe. In the meantime, if interested, you can find more information at the company’s website.

Copy Crank's Corner

By Beverly Seinberg, Lead Copywriter

In this issue: Hyphen Nation.

To hyphenate or not to hyphenate – that is the question. A general rule is that if the words in question go with (usually before) a noun, hyphenate. If they go with (usually after) a verb, do not.

They had a face-to-face meeting. They met face to face.
He has a full-time job. He works full time.

Adjective-noun combinations that modify other nouns should also be hyphenated to avoid confusion: Small-business owner, criminal-court judge. We don’t want to call the business owner’s stature or the judge’s morals into question!