Part 5 of our series on Cash Disbursements. In our recent Fraud Survey, we asked churches to respond to these statements:
“Our church issues credit cards (in the church’s name) to employees and/or volunteers.”
“Our church has implemented a written credit card policy to control credit card purchases.”
Survey Results – The first question had the largest variance between all respondents (58%) and respondents active in the NACBA (43%). My assumption is that because NACBA members, through local chapter meetings, certification training, and the national conference, have heard plenty of the horror stories about credit cards “gone wild”.
It remains a mystery to me why churches handle credit cards in this manner (i.e. giving cards to ministers in the church’s name). It is definitely not the practice in the business world. Even if a corporation does issue corporate cards, the employee’s name is on the account too. The employee pays the bill after being reimbursed under an accountable plan. But if no backup is produced, or a personal expense is incurred, the employee pays the bill.
My worry that so many churches issue credit cards is somewhat alleviated by the results of the second question: Of the churches that hand out credit cards, almost three fourths have a written credit card policy in place.
KEY: A word of warning. The worst fraud investigation of my career was in the 7 figure range. 75% of the theft was accomplished with church issued credit cards.