Blackbaud Merchant Services Review

Blackbaud Overview

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Payment Processing for Non-Profits

Blackbaud is a software and merchant account provider that specializes in solutions for nonprofit organizations such as foundations, philanthropic organizations, K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and individual advocates. Its payment solutions allow merchants to process both credit card and ACH payments. Founded in 1981, the company has grown from a simple computerized billing service into one of the largest all-in-one solutions available for charities. Blackbaud fortifies its payment gateway with point-to-point encryption for secure transactions that are supplement by fraud management tools. The company also advertises that it processes pre-reconciled bank deposits, allowing organizations to receive payments more efficiently.

Blackbaud Location and Ownership

Blackbaud is headquartered at 65 Fairchild Street Charleston, SC. The company’s payment processing service is called Blackbaud Merchant Services and will be the primary focus of this review. Michael Gianoni is listed as the president and CEO of Blackbaud.

Blackbaud Merchant Services Review Table of Contents

  • Costs & Contract: Blackbaud offers a month-to-month merchant account contract with no early termination fee and a flat-rate for all transactions.
  • Complaints & Service: Blackbaud has received more than 10 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Blackbaud has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 10 complaints and 3 reviews in the past 3 years.
  • Sales & Marketing: Blackbaud does not appear to hire independent sales agents and has received very few complaints about its sales practices.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Blackbaud
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Products & Services Offered

  • Debit and credit card processing
  • Mobile payment acceptance
  • Recurring billing
  • Donor management
  • Salesforce integration
  • Accounting software

Types of Businesses Served

  • Non-profit

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Blackbaud Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Flat Rate 1.00% - 4.99%
ACH Transaction Fee $0.75
Payment Gateway Fee None
Early Termination Fee None
PCI Compliance Fee None
Equipment Lease Terms None

Blackbaud Pricing

The Blackbaud terms and conditions reflect that the company charges a flat fee that they have branded OneRATE. The rate is determined by a multitude of factors, particularly what kind of non-profit organization a merchant operates as. Thought the flat-rate will vary, OneRATE ensures it is the same across different platforms (i.e. mobile, online, or in-store transactions), offering merchants greater transparency on pricing. ACH payments are charged a fee of $0.75 per transaction. According to the pricing schedule (found on page 3 of this whitepaper), there are no other monthly minimum fees, annual fees, setup fees, gateway fees, PCI compliance fees, batch fees, or long-term contracts.

Blackbaud’s promotional materials do not directly address whether the company charges an early termination fee, but a company representative has stated in the comment section of this review that users are free to cancel service without facing any termination penalties. This is also confirmed in the company’s contract terms and conditions.

Blackbaud also optimizes iPad based POS systems to facilitate payments through its all-in-one virtual terminal and payment gateway. This alleviates merchants of the cost of equipment leases as well as lowers processing costs by performing payment processing through the company’s own gateway as opposed to relying on a third party.

Affordable But Somewhat Restrictive

Blackbaud’s flat per-transaction rate alone is not especially competitive for the industry, as it is equivalent to most mid-qualified or non-qualified transactions. However, the fact that the company charges no other fees whatsoever for its processing service makes it an affordable option overall for most organizations. The overwhelming drawback cited by Blackbaud reviewers is the company’s rigid insistence on keeping organizations within its suite of software solutions, which limits charities’ ability to competitively shop for third-party donor relationship management, web hosting, analytics, marketing, and so on. For this reason, organizations will want to be sure that they are interested in all relevant Blackbaud software options before signing up for Blackbaud’s payment processing solution. Non-profits should also explore options offered by cheaper merchant account providers for the most competitive rates.

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Response from Blackbaud

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Blackbaud Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

Total Online Complaints >10
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint N/A

Low Complaint Volume

We are able to locate just over 10 negative reviews about Blackbaud, none of which accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam. One very detailed negative review states that while Blackbaud is a very robust solution with many useful features and a strong sales staff, it is ultimately overpriced for the value it delivers and it also comes with a steep learning curve. This review is representative of most positive and negative Blackbaud reviews, with the consensus being that Blackbaud is a reliable all-in-one solution for moderately sized-to-large non-profit organizations. Very small charities or very large charities may find themselves frustrated with a lack of third-party support or expensive add-on features.

Blackbaud Lawsuits

In 2018, Blackbaud was sued by Mission Measurement Corporation in the Eastern Division of the United States District Court for the Northern Division of Illinois. The suit alleges that the company violated the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 by improperly using confidential information of the plaintiff’s designed at analyzing non-profit data. This matter is still pending a resolution.

Additionally, the company was sued in April of 2018 in the United States District Court’s Central District of California. The class-action suit, William Brown, et al v. Blackbaud, Inc. The defendants allege that components of contracts with Smart Tuition, a subsidiary of Blackbaud’s that provides student billing and payment processing platforms, contain language that unlawfully assesses late fees in violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law. This case is also pending a resolution at the time of this review.

Blackbaud Customer Support Options

Blackbaud offers a dedicated support phone number and chat support on its website, which appears to offer service levels comparable to top-rated credit card processors for customer service.

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Response from Blackbaud

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Blackbaud BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 2
Billing & Collection Complaints 6
Advertising & Sales Complaints 3
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

Low Complaint Volume

The Better Business Bureau currently assigns an “A+” rating to Blackbaud and does not show that the company is accredited. Blackbaud’s BBB profile has received 11 complaints in the past 36 months, as well as 4 which have been closed in the last 12 months. 6 complaints relate to billing or collection issues, 3 have to do with an advertising or sales problems, and 2 complaints concern a problem with a product or service. 3 complaints were fully resolved, though 1 has remained unanswered since January 2020. Blackbaud responded to the remaining 7 complaints on its BBB profile but did not receive a reply from the initial complainant.

What Merchants Say

In addition to those 10 complaints, Blackbaud has received 3 informal reviews on its BBB profile. All 3 reviews are negative, receiving 1 out of a possible 5 in each case. The most recent complaint details difficulties canceling the company’s services:

Working with this company can be very frustrating. Be careful before subscribing to their RE 7 Learn Everything. It is almost impossible to cancel and then they cut off support for all your other products for non-payment.

Merchants in situations like these can benefit of understanding how to cancel services without paying a fee or enacting other undesirable terms and conditions of their contract.

An “A” Rating

In light of this information, we agree with the BBB’s rating at this time, but merchants should be aware that there is cause to be skeptical of the BBB’s information.

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Response from Blackbaud

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

Employs Independent Resellers No
Advertises Deceptive Rates No
Discloses All Important Terms No

No Sales Complaints

Since Blackbaud Merchant Services is an optional service within the Blackbaud suite of products, it is primarily marketed to interested or prospective Blackbaud customers. This means that the company does not utilize independent sales agents or engage in “hiring mill” policies that typically plague the credit card processing industry. As a result, we have found no Blackbaud complaints that accuse the company’s sales staff of misrepresentation or nondisclosure.

No Deceptive Advertising

The Blackbaud website does not disclose the pricing of many of its products and services, but it also does not promote any deceptive rates or fees. We will therefore award it an “A” in this category for the time being. If you suspect that Blackbaud is overcharging you, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to find and eliminate hidden fees.

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Response from Blackbaud

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Blackbaud Marketing Example

Blackbaud Logo

Our Opinion of Blackbaud

A Good Choice for Non-Profits

Blackbaud appears to be a solid merchant services provider according to all available information. The company has received positive feedback from medium-to-large nonprofits for its wide variety of features and customizable solutions, but it has rigid and fairly expensive pricing that may not appeal to smaller nonprofits or very large organizations. We will continue to monitor feedback about the company to determine whether its grade will improve or worsen, but for now it is a reliable payment processor for established nonprofits.

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Why I'm Qualified to Write About Credit Card Processing and Merchant Account Services

I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry because I didn't like how it takes advantage of small business owners. It feeds like a leech on businesses and thrives by imposing fees that are nearly impossible to comprehend. Seeing a need for change, I left and built this website help business owners better understand the industry, research merchant services providers, and get refunds of excessive merchant account fees. My experience of working "behind the curtain" in the industry, and using that knowledge for good, has resulted in millions of dollars returned to hard-working small business owners as well as enterprise-level companies.

From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to create this website, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this "insider" knowledge to myself. To lift the fog, I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers on this website.

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1 Review Leave Your Review for Blackbaud Below

  1. Phillip:

    Thank you very much for your review of Blackbaud Merchant Services. As the Payment Business product marketing manager, I wanted to reach out and let you know that we don’t charge an early termination fee. Clients can come and go as they wish without penalty.

    Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or if there’s any other information that you need.

    Best regards,

    Kendra DeWitt
    Product Marketing Manager, Payment Business
    Blackbaud, Inc.
    [email protected] |

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