Should You Pay Tithe With a Credit Card?

Should You Pay Tithe With a Credit Card? November 29, 2010

Last week we discussed online tithing and if churches should offer an online option for giving. I mentioned that my wife and I use a credit card to pay for our tithe and wanted to address the issue of churches accepting tithe from credit cards.

Should You Tithe With a Credit Card?

Some churches only allow online tithing through debit cards, NOT credit cards. Having a credit card option can be a good thing for those who want to tithe online, but consider this if you choose to use a credit card for your tithe.

    • The church pays a higher fee for credit cards compared to debit cards.

      Debit card fees range from 1-2% and credit card fees can range from 2-4% for each transaction. If you choose to tithe because of credit card perks (and you’re responsible with your credit cards) consider adding a couple of dollars if you want to cover the cost of the transaction. On a $100 tithe, that’s just $2-$4. Do you have to do this? No. But if you’ve never considered the cost that the church pays and you feel compelled to take care of the fee, simply adjust your gift by a few dollars.

 

    • Don’t use your credit card to tithe unless you’re responsible with it.

      If you’re having trouble making your payments or can’t seem to remember when to pay off your credit card, you should not use it to tithe. That’s being financially irresponsible and you don’t need to be using your credit card — probably at all.

 

    • Don’t go into debt to give.

      2 Corinthians 8:12 says “Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.” Tithing isn’t a popularity contest and going into debt because of giving isn’t something I find in the Bible. In this scripture, Paul is telling the church in Corinth to give what they can. Going in debt to give doesn’t make sense and I think it’s not Biblical.

 

Is Tithing With a Credit Card for the Reward Points Wrong?

I mentioned before that my wife and I use our credit card to pay our tithe because we put just about every expense on it for the rewards. We don’t tithe because of the rewards – we tithe because we want to further the Kingdom of God. If your motivation to tithe becomes so focused on credit card points, you should take a moment to reevaluate your motives.

What’s your opinion about using a credit card to tithe? I would love to hear your thoughts about the topic.

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  • I don’t think it’s bad to pay with a credit card necessarily… in theory we use our card and then pay it off immediately at the end of the month, although most of us don’t do this.

    The part that would really dissuade me is the charge that the church would have to bite in order for me to do it. I try not to use the card for small businesses already so tithing via cash or check would make a lot more sense.

    • That’s one of the biggest reasons why using a credit card for your tithe/offering may not be a good thing. I hadn’t really considered the cost until recently. You also bring up a great point about small businesses too – I love supporting local businesses, but the credit card fees can eat away at their profits.

      Thanks for commenting Jeff!

  • A better question is, SHOULD YOU PAY TITHES?

    No one pays the Biblical tithe today. It is impossible.

    God defined His tithe in Leviticus 27:30-33 to be a tenth of crops and animals which are assets that come by God’s hand, not man’s income.

    God commanded His tithe be taken to the Levites, forever, in Numbers 18.

    Man has changed God’s definition and instructions and then teach it as Biblical. That is false teaching.

    The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.

    The Bible teaches God wants us to give from what WE HAVE. If you use a credit card, a third party now enters the picture. The third party is advancing the funds; therefore, you didn’t have them, even if you pay it off in full.

    The Bible teaches against debt. No pastor should ever encourage anyone to create a debt.

    • Hi Gary

      Thanks for your excellent comment! (I also took a look at your site) You’ve certainly used your business experience and understanding of scripture to outline a very thorough site about tithing.

      I never feel obligated to pay a tithe. Like you said, the New Testament doesn’t instruct us to TITHE – it tells us to give generously. As soon as we get caught up on the percentages (whether we’re trying to work UP to 10% or using it as an excuse not to give ABOVE 10%) we’re missing the point. I think you might enjoy an earlier article here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithandfinance/2010/11/3-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-tithe/

      I also agree that the Bible teaches against debt and that a pastor shouldn’t encourage the congregation to go into debt. As for the use of the third party (credit card tithing) I’ve never viewed it as an advance..so I don’t necessarily agree with you. In fact, when I pay tithe online, I then go to the credit card site and pay it from my bank. If I were to write a check – the tithe is given at a later time since it takes time to cash it from the bank (another third party). An alternative to third parties and delayed giving would be to use cash I suppose… In my opinion, all of it can be summed up with this question: WHY are you giving?

      Thanks again for your input!

  • “God defined His tithe in Leviticus 27:30-33 to be a tenth of crops and animals which are assets that come by God’s hand, not man’s income.” Gary fails to understand the meaning of currency. Currency is just a way of tabulating the value of our assets in a manner that is easily convertible – a way to compare the value of those crops and animals. Tithing, by credit card or otherwise, can be done using currency as a substitute – including currency that doesn’t even exist (via credit or debit cards) because it is in fact just bytes on a computer network.

    • Tim

      CCC, you make a good point about using currency to value our assets in a way that is easily convertible. The 1s and 0s that make up our dollars in the bank’s computer system are the same 1s and 0s that are used to pay off our credit cards.

    • Being a retired accountant and state tax auditor, I fully understand the meaning of currency.

      The tithe was NOT on the value of the crops and animals, nor was it on the income the farmers received when they sold or exchanged those crops and animals. The tithe was on the assets themselves. The assets, themselves, came from God’s hand, NOT man’s income.

      Church leaders have CHEAPENED God’s tithe from miracles of God to income of man.

  • I’ve gone back and forth on tithing with my credit card. I eventually decided to use my card because my church is so slow at processing the checks. It can take weeks (I know, that is a whole different issue).

    • Tim

      I cannot stand checks in ‘limbo.’ Giving online with a credit card (or debit/bank draft) eliminates the inconvenience of the slow processing of checks. Good point!

  • Tim, very interesting perspective. I can certainly see the reduced costs to the church by encouraging debit cards versus credit. I had never thought about that before.

    And I agree with your stance. It’s ok to use a credit card as long as you don’t give yourself into debt and if the rewards are secondary.

  • Jackie Paulson

    I agree that we should NOT use credit cards for tithing. I have been a Christian since 1990. I also tithe. One year I was really super broke but managed to donate 800.00 to my church at that time. When tax season rolls around many “write it off” and I gave cash out of my heart. I didn’t “write it off” on my taxes. I just don’t feel right about that, what do you think?

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