Six easy steps for safeguarding your church’s cash

Churches want to be good stewards of cash. Here are ways to safeguard your donations.

  1. Use a separate bank for the payroll account and only keep sufficient funds in it to cover the payroll expense.
  2. Use Positive Pay. The positive pay system allows a bank to compare checks presented for payment against its commercial customer’s account with items the customer has indicated it has written. This system will help uncover instances where the amount has been altered, a counterfeit has been created using a different check number, or the payee has been altered. The customer transmits a file that reflects all the checks it has written. The data elements may vary from one piece of software to the next, but typically it will include the date, amount, payee, account number, and check number. Before the institution pays a check drawn on the customer’s account, it compares the information on the check against the data in the file sent by the customer. If the information doesn’t match, further investigation is warranted before the check may be paid.
  3. Use ACH debit block. An ACH Debit Block is similar to a stop payment in that it disallows the transaction; ACH Debit Block is an inexpensive “insurance” policy for business customers who receive ACH debits and want to ensure that the originators are authorized to receive these funds. CONSUMERS ONLY HAVE 48 HOURS TO CATCH ELECTRONIC FRAUD, which could be difficult to do. If the fraud is not caught in a timely manner the consumer is responsible for the debit.
  4. Use a dormant account to raise funds.  This allows the account number to be given without worries of who might be able to gain access to the account.  This is particularly helpful during capital campaigns where multiple individuals need access to the bank account number.
  5. Review investment policy on a regular basis.
  6. Use a card, at the very least for payables, that will allow the charity to get cash back.