I have a client that is a non profit organization in the United States. They currently have a donation button (provided by a payment processor company) on their website that only accepts USD. They have more and more supporters in other countries but are not able to accept donations online in other currencies.

How can I enable them to accept donations in other currencies that people will pay for with a local credit card? Will I need to make a relationship with multiple different payment processors for each currency that they want to accept? Will I need to have individual buttons on their site for each country? E.g. "If you're Canadian, click the donation button with a maple leaf on it!" Is there a way to accept the most-used currencies in the world in one fell swoop?

The client is most interested in accepting donations in CAD, GBP and EUR. They also have interest in AUD, MXN and INR. I know that they also reach out to Turkey and Russia, so assume they would be interested in TRY and RUB.


Some payment processing companies will handle multiple currencies, but in my experience you'll usually have to have a separate merchant banking account for each currency, which means separate monthly fees for each currency. You'll also need to handle selecting the currency and then send them to a page with a suitable parameter specifying the currency to use.

  • So have a nice web form on our site that will allow the user to choose their currency and then, based on that choice, send the transaction to the correct gateway. – Wesley Jan 25 '12 at 17:56
  • @WesleyDavid, yes, or to the same gateway with a different foobar_currency=XYZ parameter. – Peter Taylor Jan 25 '12 at 18:55
  • Accepted because ultimately you may run out of currencies that your gateway accepts and will then have to make your own portal to multiple gateways. – Wesley Jan 26 '12 at 2:08

I think a company like justgiving.com may be what you're looking for.

They seem to cover most countries, but you may run into legal issues in some places because of local tax rules - so you may be better off only accepting donations in one or two major currencies.

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    I'm curious what tax rules you are thinking of? If a national gives money to a foreign cause, surely that country could not seek taxation from the foreign entity... ? – Wesley Jan 25 '12 at 1:24
  • I recently did a big project with American Express, they have a charitable giving program that kicks in during bill payment - you'd be astonished. Especially in India and Asia. – toomanyairmiles Jan 25 '12 at 10:18
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    @toomanyairmiles: I think it would be very helpful if you could provide a little more detail on the specific problems you ran into during that project. – Lèse majesté Jan 25 '12 at 13:53
  • @toomanyairmiles Sadly, one of the countries that this organization does work in is India. Well, it's not sad that they work for India, but rather sad that there could be major trouble with accepting donations from supporters there. Can you elaborate just a little bit more? I'd like to know better how to search out others who might have had similar problems. – Wesley Jan 25 '12 at 17:59

Consider using a service such as PayPal that accepts multiple forms of currency.

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    Unfortunately, PayPal is topmost in the simplicity and features department. I say unfortunately because their percentages are way higher than what is being paid now and also because I have very little trust in the way they handle disputes and money transfers. My client might have to bite the bullet though. – Wesley Jan 25 '12 at 1:25
  • @WesleyDavid: In my experience, they treat PayPal users decently. But if you're not a PayPal user and are instead a victim of identity theft (i.e. someone steals your credit card and uses it via PayPal) they pretty much throw you to the dogs. They might close the fraudulently created PayPal account and prevent your credit card from being used with PayPal again, but they won't reverse the disputed charges. I guess that's good for PayPal, PayPal merchants, and for scammers, but not so good for innocent non-PayPal consumers. – Lèse majesté Jan 25 '12 at 13:45
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    @Lèsemajesté It appears that most of those who have had trouble with PayPal donations were using the donate button but were not a registered charity. This organization is. Perhaps it won't be so bad after all. – Wesley Jan 25 '12 at 17:55

Your client can accept bitcoin donations, there are local exchanges in most major countries. You can have people donate in bitcoin, and your client can trade the coins in for USD in a US based exchange, and obtain USD. Exchange fees are tiny (0.5%), so no donation is lost in fees.

  • I'm not sure that bit coin is a usable solution for most visitors. – DisgruntledGoat Jan 25 '12 at 10:52
  • It is usable, I use this method to accept payments every day from international buyers. Though it can be confusing for people not familiar with the process. – KoKo Jan 25 '12 at 15:36
  • That's certainly an interesting proposition. I am skeptical of the longevity of BitCoin-to-tender transfers. Thanks for the different point of view! – Wesley Jan 25 '12 at 17:57

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