What is a church card?

A church card is a type of debit card that can be used by churches to control expenses. The cards are debit cards that can be used to make purchases from most vendors in the U.S. The money for purchases and payments is subtracted from your church account rather than paid for by a revolving line of credit that adds debt.

A survey that was completed by researchers at Duke University revealed that there are an estimated 384,000 churches in the U.S. Church members often tend to trust the people with whom they attend church and the people who are employed by the them. Unfortunately, fraud is a prevalent problem because of the trusting nature of churches and because many have limited accounting controls in place.


What is a church credit card?
According to Brotherhood Mutual, 80 percent of cases of ecclesiastical fraud are not reported so are not included in statistics. The insurer reports that ecclesiastical fraud is expected to reach $80 billion worldwide by 2025, but the figures are likely underreported. Churches may institute sound accounting and fraud prevention controls by using debit cards instead of relying on cash for purchases and payments.

Church credit cards can help to replace cash use to make needed purchases and payments. Since credit cards add to the church’s debt, however, they might want to consider debit cards from Bento for Business instead. Church debit cards can be used to control spending by allowing you to restrict the expenditures that can be made with them.

Church debit cards

When a church chooses a credit card, it will have to submit to a credit check before it will be approved. This can be problematic because most business credit card issuers check the owner’s credit for approval decisions, and churches do not have owners. Churches may opt for debit cards instead so that they can get their expenses under control and prevent fraud. You might wonder “what is a church debit card?”

What is a church debit card? It is a payment card that is linked to your account rather than to a revolving line of credit from a credit card company.
The church debit cards from Bento help to add to the transparency of your spending. A church prepaid card allows you to restrict the spending and expense categories on each card so that you can limit what employees can purchase as well as when they can use the cards.

Church credit cards


What is a church debit card?It is a good idea for churches to seek accounting advice. Many take in cash from donations on a continuing basis, making them easy targets for thieves. Good church accounting advice might include having a strong expense policy in place along with several checks to prevent fraud. Your organization might also benefit by switching from cash and checks for purchases and payments to church credit cards or a church debit card.

What is a church credit card? It is a card that requires a credit check and that can be used to make purchases and payments for your church. However, when church credit cards are used, they add to your debt. This might make choosing a church debit card, which doesn’t add to your church debt, a better idea for helping to streamline expense tracking. A growing number of churches are also accepting donations by debit or credit cards, giving an added layer of protection since the employees will not handle the cash.

What is church fraud?

People who attend church tend to trust other parishioners and the church’s employees. Unfortunately, however, ecclesiastical fraud is pervasive. Fraud occurs when parishioners or employees embezzle money from the church. For example, a person who is tasked with adding up the donations in the collection plates might pocket some of the money.

This type of fraud may also be committed by employees who make purchases for themselves instead of for the church. To prevent employee fraud, it is important for churches to implement stringent accounting practices to reduce fraudulent purchases. Switching away from paying for items with cash or checks to using cashless systems can help.

Church fraud case study


How are church credit cards related to church fraud?Fraud in churches is especially pernicious because it often occurs over a long time period with individuals taking small amounts for their own personal use. A church fraud case study can help to illuminate what these types of cases might look like so that you can prevent church employee fraud.

In one church fraud case study, a bishop of the latter day saints in Connecticut was sentenced to serve 46 months in prison after he was convicted of stealing $500,000 from the parishioners in a fraudulent investment scheme. To stop church fraud, your church should have strong accounting practices in place and limit the access of the employees to the church’s accounts and money.

Church expense management best practices


Church credit cards and church fraud.Church expense management is crucial to prevent fraud and to keep your church’s money for its outreach and charitable work. Having good church expense management practices in place can help you to understand how the money is being spent so that you can minimize losses.

Good church accounting advice for expense management for churches includes limiting the access to the money that comes into your church as well as to your accounts. Your church should also have a clear expense policy in place that clearly outlines the expectations of employees when they are making purchases or payments on behalf of the church.

More on church expense management


Church credit cards, are they good for expense management?In addition to implementing accounting controls and using good church accounting software, church accounting advice might include that your church uses debit cards from Bento for your church expense management. These cards have stringent spending and expense controls built in, allowing you to prevent employees and others from accessing your church’s money or accounts.

Expense management for churches is not difficult when your church has the cards. You are able to restrict each card to only be used for certain types of purchases. If an employee tries to use a card to buy something else, the attempt will be denied. This helps to make church expense management simpler while also helping to prevent fraud.

Church payment and financial policies

At a minimum, your church should have a church expense policy for purchases and a church payment policy for payments that the employees must make. Having a clear policy in place can help to deter would-be thieves. If your church allows employees to make purchases for the church out of their own pockets and then to seek reimbursement, it is also important for you to have a church expense reimbursement policy in place.

A church expense reimbursement policy should describe in detail the types of allowed purchases and the process for seeking reimbursement. You can get rid of the reimbursement process entirely at your church by giving your employees cards from Bento for Business. They can then use the cards to make purchases for the church when they are needed rather than waiting to be repaid for the money that they spent.

Church fraud examples

Church fraud examples demonstrate the sophistication of some thieves and the blatant fraud from others. In one case, a church discovered that its $180,000 building fund account was empty despite having deposited enough money from donations. A certified fraud examiner discovered that the church’s treasurer had diverted the donations and paid them to an out-of-state limited liability company that the treasurer had created.

Other church fraud examples that are not as sophisticated include a church employee who embezzled $25,000 from her church’s small benevolence fund over time. She used the money to pay for her personal expenses and loans. These examples of church fraud are just two among thousands, and many cases simply go unreported. Reporting church embezzlement is important, however. While your church might want to forgive the perpetrator, it is still important that he or she is held accountable for his or her actions.

In another church fraud example, three employees of a church in North Carolina reportedly embezzled $335,000 over a period of nine years. The trio ran up personal charges on the church-issued credit cards that they had been given to pay expenses and to make purchases.

Examples of church fraud should make it clear to you the importance of reporting church embezzlement when it is discovered. When people steal money from the church, they are stealing funds that your church could use for its charitable missions.

Religious organization cards, mosque cards, and temple cards


Examples of church credit card fraud.No matter your faith, your church, temple or mosque can benefit by choosing a religious credit card or religious debit cards. When your church, temple or mosque gets rid of cash and limits the ability of its employees to access the money or accounts, you can help to eliminate fraud.

A religious credit card can include temple cards, mosque credit cards and church cards. For example, you can choose temple cards for your employees. When you select temple debit cards from Bento, you can restrict each employee’s ability to make purchases to specific categories. For example, you can authorize your temple’s secretary to use his or her card to purchase office supplies. If the secretary tries to use the card to go out to a restaurant, the purchase will be declined.

Mosque credit cards can also be similarly restricted, allowing you to get a better handle on what the mosque is spending at any time. The cards at Bento include temple debit cards, mosque prepaid cards, a masjid debit card and other cards regardless of your faith. Prepaid cards for religious organizations can benefit people of all faiths.

Religious trade shows and church conferences

There are many church trade shows and church conferences that can help you to learn more about ways to manage your expenses and to help with outreach to people around the world. If your pastor attends church conferences, you can give him or her a card that is limited to the associated travel expenses.

Church conferences are a great way for churches to learn more about their faith and the needs of their communities. Attending church conferences can help to deepen the faith of parishioners while also learning about how to operate the churches with greater efficiency. To learn about religious trade shows, you can consult a religious trade show directory.

How Bento cards can be used for church expense management


Religious trade shows and church credit cards.To get an idea of how the Bento cards can help you with expense management, you can allocate how much money to place on each card and limit the spending by the day, week or month. You can also turn the cards off so that they won’t work when your employees are off.

For example, you can allow your pastor to spend $100 per month at gas stations at times when he or she will be traveling. The card will not work for any category you haven’t authorized. You can see exactly how the money is being spent and the balances on each card by logging into your church’s online dashboard.

About Bento for Business


Church debit cards help reduce the risk of fraud.Bento for Business is a company that was established to help churches and businesses to manage their expenses more effectively while also giving them the flexibility to purchase items when they are needed. The company has thousands of customers in the U.S. and has strong reviews. Capterra has rated Bento for Business as five stars out of five, and the company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Contact us today for a free 60-day trial and you can order up to 10 cards for a low monthly price of $29. Call us today at 866.289.1104 to learn more. Funds held within Bento are FDIC insured to at least $250,000 through The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC.