Published by Brian Slezak on 02 Aug 2008
As a follow up to my last post, I thought I’d explain when I use electronic payment options over paper options. This is in answer Laura’s comment, because my comment got too long.
My wife and I regularly attend Living Water Christian Church, where Laura Guy, wife to my boss Clif Guy. We also give regularly, by check, even after the option became available to use PayPal. Honestly, I had told Clif that we’d be one of the first people to sign up for electronic transactions at Living Water. We haven’t yet, because of the reason Laura mentions in her previous comment.
My lifestyle, since I can remember having to pay bills, is to use electronic transfers. I haven’t paid a utility bill by check since about 1998, excluding the one or two months between moving and signing up for electronic transfer once again. The main reason is that I’m horrible at remembering to pay bills! Send me the statement or invoice, and I’ll make sure it is free from mistakes before you hit my account with an EFT, but don’t expect me to remember to send you a check at the right time. I want to pay it on time every time, and I feel horrible when I’m late to pay, but I’ll miss it many times per year.
The other part of my lifestyle, strangely enough, is that I’ll always pick the cheaper option. I refuse to pay $5-15 to electronically submit my income tax, when I can print everything out and mail it in for cost of First Class mail, currently 42-59 cents. (As a side rant, leave it to government to make what should be the less expensive option for them, more expensive for us! How about no? Process my paper!) I have a printer; I have envelopes, and when I go to the post office they sell me postage. I only use electronic submission when it’s roughly equivalent to the cheapest option, because only then does convenience begin edging out price.
So after I got the e-mail from Laura stating that PayPal was available, I thought, “Excellent. Lets do that.” Then it hit me. I paused. The reality that it was my money that was about to be trimmed, three to four percent plus a transaction fee going to PayPal, rather than all of it to the church; I suddenly didn’t want to do it. I had always known that fee was there, but when it was my money I thought about it a great deal more. We’re there every weekend we can be, and we have checkbooks, and when we fill out a check and put it in the basket, it fulfills our contribution.
Just this week, I was surprised to learn that Resurrection is stopping remote deposit because after using it for some time they’ve found that sum of labor, time, and frustration of remote deposit is greater than the ease of letting the paper check do its thing. This is mostly due to the inefficiencies and duplicated efforts of the process we are currently locked into, but it examples how electronic solutions are not inherently easier and cheaper.
Now I will openly admit that this is where Laura may trump my position on this. If the cost of business though PayPal is less than the overhead it takes to manually process our check every month – my bad, I’ll sign up today.