Friends of Scouting electronic payments

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Friends of Scouting electronic payments

Postby dellcmorris » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:43 pm

Hello, fellow financial brethren,

I have a number of members in my unit who are concerned about the new use this year of a payment clearinghouse for our Friends of Scouting donations to our BSA Council in Utah.

The company is called It offers direct e-deposit options on the donation slip and gives members the chance to donate electronically rather than by cash or check. Several of our members used the system to process their donations without complication, but many of the members chose to simply use cash or check for their donation, as they have always done. We tried to turn in our final collective donation to the Stake leaders last week, but we received some push-back from them that we should convert the checks into "e-checks" by inserting the check number, routing number, account number and type, and the name on the checking account into the Patch Funding website, which would then process the e-checks directly to the BSA. We are to then write VOID on the paper check and submit it with the cash payments.

The problem I am having is that I do not feel comfortable, nor am I sure it is legal, for me to submit this detailed personal checking account information into a website database when the members have already had the opportunity to do so themselves and have chosen NOT to, especially when I do not have explicit permission from the member to do so. It seems that it adds another source of worry and concern for the member to have their checking account information sitting around in a database that they did not give permission to submit to, especially when they already had the opportunity to do so themselves and chose not to, nor do they even know that it is about to be given to another organization. Personally, I have financial organizations ask for my checking account information regularly, and I rarely give it out, simply because I am uncomfortable with that information floating freely about. I realize that in today's electronic world we have little in the way of privacy, but it seems that this is one more opportunity for something to go wrong. Am I being overly concerned about this?

I called several of the members about their donations and they explicitly told me that they gave us a check because they did NOT want to donate electronically. Isn't this just turning around and donating it electronically for them behind their back and without their permission?

It's another issue entirely to wonder about how much this clearinghouse in charging the BSA to process their donations. Is it really so hard for the BSA to actually deposit their donations themselves? Is it not enough for us to collect the money, but now they need us to deposit it directly into their bank account, with only a "small fee" taken from the donation and going to some unknown company for processing?

Something about all of this just doesn't feel right.

Do any of you have suggestions?

Thanks for your knowledge and advise!

Your brother clerk.

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Re: Friends of Scouting electronic payments

Postby russellhltn » Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:19 pm

Unless there are specific laws in Utah that deal with this, I doubt if there's a issue with converting checks to electronic transactions. The recipient of a check can process it any way they choose including using whatever process or clearing house they choose. Some supermarkets do the conversion right at the checkout counter and hand you your check back. I still write checks for some of my monthly bills, and I can tell by the way they show up on my bank statement if they were a check or were converted to an electronic transaction. I have no say in how the different companies do it.

As for the cost - there are always a number of factors. Checks take effort, they need time to clear, and are subject to cancellation or other non-payment. There may even be check processing fees. (Checks are scanned and read, so there most certainly is a cost in processing them. Your data-entry labor is free, so it seems to me that they stand to save money.) While depositing checks are free for us mere mortals, I don't believe that's the case for companies and those needing to process a large number of checks. I'll assume that BSA has looked at all the factors and made a wise decision for their situation.

Really, the only thing bothering me at all is placing you in the middle of the check process. But then, you'd probably be handling the cash or making deposits, so I don't think that's a big deal.

Bottom line, I think you've been inducted into the "man behind the curtain" club and now you understand what really goes on.

One detail - if for any reason the church tries to pay for a scout, there could be a problem. From other messages posted here, the church refuses electronic checks - so that process will not work with a church check.
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Re: Friends of Scouting electronic payments

Postby lajackson » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:22 pm

dellcmorris wrote:We tried to turn in our final collective donation to the Stake leaders last week, but we received some push-back from them that we should convert the checks into "e-checks" . . .

This one is easy. You are not the recipient of the check. It is not made out to you. You have two options: give the check to the recipient or return the check to the maker.

If it were me, I would kindly let my stake leaders know that they have two options. They can accept the check from you and provide it to the local BSA Council for their processing, or you can return the check to the donor and the donor will decide whether to pay some other way.

The clerk at the store is an authorized agent of the store and legally represents the store in converting your check to an electronic payment. I do not believe you are authorized to handle electronic financial transactions in the Federal banking system for a person who has explicitly told you not to. (Unless you are an employee of the Scout Council, of course.)

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