Donations and payments online

"I want to add a Donate Online facility on our website. What is the best payment engine to use from cost, security, ease of use etc perspectives"

There is no one best payment engine for all possible needs/uses.  However there are five popular options for Irish non-profits to choose from which are outlined below.  Items to consider when choosing a solution include: 

  • security (against fraud, hacking, data protection, etc)
  • credibility (perception of security from the sutomers' perspective)
  • ease of use for the customer, and from an account management/reporting perspective
  • fees and charges, setup fees, transaction fees
  • how the payment processor may be viewed through popular perception and how much you may need to educate your target market to convince them to use your chosen service.

For example, maybe you look atone option because it is easy to set up from your perspective and seem to have low fees.  However, what if common perception is that your chosen solution requires customer registration, or is insecure?  People can be sensitive (quite rightly) about importing their credit card details online, so when choosing your solution, it pays (literally!) to consider your customers' perceptions and the experience they will have when using your service.

Do you want your customers to have to leave your website to give you money?   Should the transaction be a seamlesspart of their website experience, or should there be a definite "this is the secure payment part" look to it?

Popular International Solutions


Everybody has heard of PayPal.  Especially since 2002, when eBay decided to buy it.  Paypal gives anyone the facility to make and take payments online, via a PayPal account.  You just sign up online, give them your credit card details and PayPal sets up an account for you.   Paypal provide buttons to put on your website and will even supply a shopping cart, if required.   Paypal handle all the security on their servers: Customers shop on your site and click the payment button.   They pay on secure PayPal pages.   And return to your site after payment.  All payments to you are collected in your PayPal account.  Within that account you have withdrawal options to move it to a bank account, for example.

Paypal is designed to be easy to set up to get you moving quickly.  At time of writing, Paypal do not charge setup or monthly fees, they just take a commission from each transaction.


Worldpay is an internet payment solutions provider owned by The Royal Bank of Scotland.  WorldPay, like PayPal, provide the security necessary to perform financial transactions online.  Their service also integrates with a host of popular shopping cart solutions.   In order to sell online through a bank (as opposed to PayPal) you need to have an internet merchant bank account.  This is similar to the merchant account necessary to get a normal credit card terminal.  Worldpay, as they are RBS, will set up a merchant account for you.   This differs from the PayPal scenario, in that any income received by you goes through their system and then goes straight into your bank account.  You don't need to do anything to move your money from Worldpay to your bank.

Worldpay do have recurring charges and a per transaction fee.  They will charge different amounts depending on your business and transaction history.  Contact WorldPay to get a quotation.{mospagebreak}

 An Irish Solution


Realex is an Irish company, similar in style to WorldPay.  Realex will also provide the security for the transactions on their own servers, like the two above solutions and integrates with many popular shopping carts, or your own homegrown solution.  Unlike WorldPay, Realex will not set up a merchant bank account for you.  They do tell you where you can get one however, listing the banks with which they work.  Contact Realex to get a quotation.

Charity Specific Solutions


Ammado is a socila networking website for non profit organisations and charities.  They have recently launched the Ammado Giving Circle, which enables people to donate to their non profits of choice online.  Unlike the above solutions, this is not a product selling tool.  This is specifically for donations.    To be able to receive donations, please contact  Then, direct people to your profile on from your website to let them give to you.  Ammado do take a commission from donations to cover costs.  They claim that these costs, and therefore the fees, are kept to a minimum.    People donate on and then ammado forward monies due to the organisation when they reach a value in excess of 100 euro, to minimise costs.


myCharity provide a method for the public to donate to the charities of their choice.  Charities can register with - although this is not a self service option.  Contact to discuss registration. do charge transaction fees for donations.  At time of writing, 3% is deducted from the donation.   Charities do not have to manage an account with myCharity: all donations are transfered to the charities' bank accounts on a monthly basis.