collecting-payments-simplycircle

One of the most common requests we’ve been getting from circle managers is to be able to collect payments from their group members. We heard you! Starting today, you can request, collect, and easily track payments from your group directly on SimplyCircle. Need to collect field trip donations, class fund contributions, or PTA dues? Want to sell school spirit wear, concert tickets, or tickets to a sports event? You can do it all on SimplyCircle!

Here is how payment collection works on SimplyCircle, in FAQ form:

Q: Do I need to be on a paid plan (Pro Silver or Pro Gold) to be able to collect payments?
A: No, you don’t. All circle managers can collect payments, regardless of whether they are on a Free plan or a Premium plan.

Q: How do I use SimplyCircle to request payments?
A: “Request payments” is an optional feature that you can associate with a Post, Event, or Task. Click on + New item in the main menu, select the type of content you want to send, and click on “Request payments” option at the bottom. Specify what you’re asking money for (e.g., “Field trip donation”), add a description (optional), add quantity (optional; by default it would show as “unlimited”), and specify price. If you’re selling multiple items, click on + Add item, and add another row with its own unique title and price. For example, if you’re selling concert tickets, you might have children’s tickets for $5 and adult tickets for $10, so create 2 separate line items for each. Or if you’re collecting PTA dues, you might have different membership levels (e.g., individual vs. family), so create 2 separate line items for each.

Here is an example:

You want to request PTA dues by a certain deadline (when your PTA membership drive ends), and you have two levels of membership: individual and family. Create a new task, click on “Request payments” option, and create 2 line items for each of the payment types you want, and click on “Share”.

payment-request-pta-dues-example

Your circle members will see the Pay call-to-action on their News Feed and in your email, like this:

payment-request-email

Whey they click on “Pay”, they will see the details of your payment request, and be able to add the items to their shopping cart, like this. When they are ready to pay, they just click on “Checkout”, and they will be redirected to PayPal to process the payment.

payment-request-checkout

Q: What if  I want to collect donations via SimplyCircle, without specifying the exact payment amount?
A: You can easily request donations by making the requested payment amount low (e.g., $1, or whatever minimum donation amount you want to set), and explaining in the description that you would welcome donations in any amount, and that they can specify the amount they want to donate by changing the quantity before clicking on “Checkout”.

For example, let’s say you’re organizing a field trip, and are asking for a $16 donation to cover the cost of the field trip. But you know that some of the families may not be able to contribute the full amount. Create a New Event for your field trip, click on “Request payments” option, and create 2 line items for each of the payment types you want, and click on “Share”:

request-donation

Parents will receive your payment request, and will be able to contribute in full or partially, like this:

request-donation-partial-contribution

Q: Do I need to have a PayPal account to collect payments via SimplyCircle?

A: Yes, you do. It can be business or personal PayPal account. The important thing is that the email address of your SimplyCircle account must match the email of your PayPal account. If your email address on the SimplyCircle account does not match the email of your PayPal account, your circle members will get the “Something went wrong, please contact your circle manager” error message. If you currently use a different email for SimplyCircle than you do for PayPal, the simplest way to get the two to match is by changing the email on your SimplyCircle account to match your PayPal email. You can do that by clicking on your name in the Main Menu, selecting Settings, typing in a new email address (the one corresponding to your PayPal account), and clicking “Save”.

Q: Do my circle members need to have a PayPal account to make a payment via SimplyCircle?
A: No. Circle members can pay with any credit or debit card, and optionally they can save that information and create a PayPal account during the checkout process. If they already have a PayPal account, it just makes the checkout process faster.

Q: How much does it cost to collect payments through SimplyCircle?
A: We use PayPal to collect and process payments from your circle members. The total charge you pay on each transaction is 3.9% + $0.30 (just 1% on top of PayPal’s fees of 2.9% + $0.30). For example, if parents are contributing $25 each for a field trip donation, you will receive $23.72 from each parent, net of $1.28 in payment processing fees.

Q: Can I pass the payment processing fees to my group members?
A: Yes, you can. You can choose to add the payment fee amount to the amount you’re asking your group members to pay. In the above example, if you need to receive $25 net for each field trip donation, you can ask parents to pay $26.32 instead of $25.00 to cover the payment processing fees.

Q: Why should I collect payments through SimplyCircle and pay the fees, instead of doing it for free with cash and checks?
A: You don’t have to collect payments through SimplyCircle – you’re always welcome to collect payments for free via cash and checks. In the case of high-ticket items (e.g., an auction purchase of $1,000), by all means, collect the payment for free via cash or check, as it does not make sense to pay a percentage-based processing cost on a high-ticket item. In the case of extremely low-ticket items (<$5) it may also not be worth it, due to the $0.30 per transaction cost. However, for common payment amounts that teachers or parent group leaders need to collect (typically between $10-$100), using the payment collection capability on SimplyCircle makes sense. It would save you time and allow you to get more money, faster. (As a former PayPal executive myself, I can personally vouch for the fact that when you make it easier for people to pay, more of them do).

Q: How are the payment processing fees calculated and applied? Do I need to do anything special to pay them?
A: Payment processing fees are calculated and applied automatically. You don’t need to do anything special. For each transaction, you will see two records in your PayPal account: an incoming payment from your circle member, and an outgoing payment to SimplyCircle for the payment processing fees.

Q: If a circle member buys multiple items at the same time, is each individual item purchase considered a “transaction”?
A: No. All items that a given circle member purchases at the same time are combined into a single “transaction”. For example, let’s say you’re selling school concert tickets: children tickets for $5 and adult tickets for $10.  If a given circle member purchases 2 children tickets and 1 adult ticket, their total transaction amount is $20, and that is considered a single transaction. (Think of it as a shopping cart – you can add multiple items to your shopping cart, and check out when you’re ready).

Q: Can I refund payments to my circle members?
A: Yes, you can. Just log in to your PayPal account, find the transaction you want to refund, and issue a refund through PayPal.

Q: Can I get the processing fees back if I refund payments to my circle members?
A: Yes, you can, but it is not automatic. Once you issue a refund through PayPal, forward the refund confirmation email you receive from PayPal to support@simplycircle.com with a request for a refund of your fees. Please allow up to 3-5 business days for us to process your refund request.

Q: How do I see how much I got paid?
A: Great question! Click on Manager Tools -> History. Each item that had a payment request associated with it will have the dollar sign ($) next to it. Click on the item or on the dollar sign, and you will see the full list of people who made a payment to you, along with amounts and dates of each payment. In addition, you can access individual transaction records on PayPal. But we let you see all the payments in one place, to save you time and simplify tracking.

We hope you find the payment collection feature useful. If you have any questions or need help, contact us at support@simplycircle.com and we’ll be happy to help!