Part 11 of our ongoing Fraud in the Church series. PSK in cooperation with the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) conducted a survey to determine the extent to which churches are attempting to address the problem of church fraud. We asked them to respond to this statement:
Our church issues credit cards (in the church’s name) to employees and/or volunteers.
At a response rate that came as no surprise to me, 86% of the churches who took part in our survey issue credit cards to employees. It continues to amaze me how many churches follow this practice. Seldom do we see this in our work with commercial clients. Most businesses with accountable business expense reimbursement plans require employees to use their own cards. This is particularly true with smaller organizations. Some larger companies do issue corporate cards, but all of them I have seen keep the employee on the hook by including the employee on the account: The employee pays the bill AFTER being reimbursed by the company. Employees of businesses that follow this procedure tend to be more responsible credit card users because there is always the possibility that their employer may say, “NO!”
Why do we consider the issuance of credit cards (in the church’s name) a fraud risk? I have a simple answer:
The largest church credit card fraud investigation I have conducted resulted in more than one million dollars in losses.
Illicit use of just two credit cards was responsible for 75% of the theft!
Without sufficient oversight, credit cards can turn the entire purchase approval system on its head. I have seen it happen…