Cashless Payments in the Charity Sector

Charities operate on tight budgets, and every penny counts. This can make handling and reporting on cash a complex process, not to mention a source of stress for time – poor finance teams.

Moving to cashless payments can help charitable organisations work more efficiently, stay compliant with funding rules or regulatory requirements, and deliver a better experience for volunteers, staff, and clients or beneficiaries.

Here are just a few of the ways reducing reliance on cash using a prepaid card scheme could benefit your charity:

Put staff and volunteers in control of their spending

Charities are often diasporic, delivering services across multiple offices or locations with a central head office. Even those who work from a single location often have staff who work on location, travelling to deliver services. This combined with the move to homeworking and with project workers out and about a lot delivering on the ground can make keeping track of spending and distributing funds a challenge for finance teams.

Volunteer workers add an extra layer of complexity – covering things like travel and lunch expenses often means asking volunteers to pay up front and submit expense claims, which could cause extra hassle and put otherwise keen volunteers off participating.

Prepaid cards allow finance teams to instantly load funds, 24 hours a day, or even to set auto top-up limits to ensure that teams always have access to the money they need to do their job. Cards can also be limited to ensure that funds are used appropriately – by restricting specific stores or preventing ATM withdrawals, for example.

Ensure transparent use of funds

All businesses need to keep a close eye on their funds, and charities are no exception. Funding of charities can be complex, with money coming in from multiple income streams, some of which will have restrictions placed on their usage. While corporate giving or community fundraising can usually be used for any purpose, funds received through grants or foundations are often limited to being used on project delivery only – work directly carried out on the ground with beneficiaries.

This means every penny needs to be accounted for and recorded to ensure that funding is being used appropriately. If funds are distributed in cash, keeping track of purchases across multiple staff members can quickly become messy and complicated.

B4B prepaid cards make it easy to categorise spending against specific teams, departments or accounting categories, and to see real-time transaction data. This means that finance teams can easily keep tabs on spending across different funding streams, and access in-depth reporting to ensure that any restrictions on fund use are being adhered to.

Distribute cash securely

Trustees have a legal duty to use due diligence in ensuring that funds reach their intended beneficiaries and that they’re used for legitimate purposes. Maintaining compliance with these requirements requires strong financial management.

For charities who distribute funds directly to beneficiaries, cash can seem like a necessary evil. While it’s difficult to track, if charity recipients do not have access to a UK bank account, it can be a challenge to get funds to them by any other way.

Prepaid cards make it simple to get funds to anybody via a contactless Mastercard that can be used in millions of physical and online locations worldwide, or even a virtual card sent instantly via email. Know Your Customer checks ensure that charities can have confidence that beneficiaries are who they say they are, and the option to set restrictions on card use, such as disallowing online spending, ATM withdrawals or alcohol or gambling-related transactions can help to ensure that distributed funds are being used appropriately.

Improve security and reduce risk

Holding large amounts of cash on premises is messy and risky. If reimbursements for travel fares and meal deals are made in cash, this requires holding a lot of change on site, which not only requires regular trips to the bank for more coins but puts your organisation at risk of theft.

If project teams are signing out petty cash regularly, it’s easy to end up with dozens of pots of cash out and about every day, and this is a nightmare to keep track of. Worse still, even the most reliable volunteers can make mistakes, and funds can be lost or misspent even with the best intentions.

Every penny matters to a charity, and losses can have drastic consequences to the organisation and its beneficiaries. Prepaid cards provide 100% visibility of funds at all times, with the ability to activate, load, unload or freeze cards at the touch of a button, so you’re always in control of your organisation’s spending.

Keep on top of reporting

Reconciliation and reporting is a headache for any financial team, and with multiple project team members in the field alongside volunteers, who may be less familiar with processes, it’s easy for receipts to get lost, reports to get forgotten or cash to go missing.

Keeping track of spend on cash funds requires a lot of back and forth between project workers and finance – eating up valuable and expensive time.

With prepaid cards, transactions are instantly recorded and uploaded to a central management platform for a real-time view of spending activity across your entire organisation. And when purchases are made in the field, our handy cardholder app will automatically prompt them to photograph and upload their receipt, reducing the need to chase up volunteers or project teams.

Ditch the petty cash box for good with B4B Payments

Charity finance teams work hard to ensure that their organisations’ funds are being used appropriately, and handling large amounts of cash can make their job more difficult than it needs to be.

A prepaid card scheme from B4B Payments could help take the stress out of managing your charity’s spending, whether you need a few cards or a few thousand.

To find out more about how we can help, get in touch today.