11 Steps to Membership Management Success – Configure the Payment System

Step 7: Configure Your Payment System

Step 7: Configure Your Payment System


In the previous steps on planning and building your Wild Apricot website, you built your organization’s new “front door,” where you welcome prospective members to learn more about your organization and join. You also enabled current members to renew their membership, register for an event at a member discount, or access information only available for members.

Wild Apricot should be used for more than just informing and influencing members. Wild Apricot also helps you save time and earn more revenue by enabling ecommerce on your organization’s website. But before you can do that you will need to enable a payment system to accept online payments securely.

In this step you’ll set up the a payment system to process payments made by your members in the way that suits you best. A payment system will also help administrators and volunteers accept money at an event as well as process registrations, renewals and donations on behalf of members who are not comfortable with providing credit cards online.

You need to do a few things if you wish to accept credit cards through Wild Apricot:

  1. select the appropriate supported payment system for your organization
  2. configure your selected online payment system
  3. test your payment system with a few sample transactions
  4. go live with your payment system

For processing online payments, you have several options: one of several supported,  third-party payment systems or Wild Apricot Payments, the preferred payment system introduced in 2018. NewPath Consulting discussed the benefits of Wild Apricot Payments in an article on our blog. But there are also several good reasons for choosing a payment system other than Wild Apricot Payments:

  • Your organization has selected another payment system which is actively integrated into your organization and used potentially by other websites or apps.
  • Your organization does not want to ask members to re-establish recurring memberships.
  • Your organization has negotiated a preferential transaction fee structure (less than 2.9% + 0.30c per transaction).

If your organization chooses not to use Wild Apricot Payments, a 20% Payment System Servicing Fee will be charged. Note, this fee is not based on the amount of your organization’s online revenue. The 20% payment system servicing fee is applied to your Wild Apricot monthly or yearly software licence fee. For example, if your organization pays $50 per month for the Wild Apricot “Group” tier, and you do not choose Wild Apricot Payments, you will pay $60 per month instead.

The Payment System Servicing Fee does not apply to you if:

  • Your organization has not enabled online payments.
  • Your organization is using Wild Apricot Payments as the online payment system.
  • Your organization is based outside the US or Canada.

NewPath Consulting recommends doing a cost analysis to see whether choosing Wild Apricot Payments or staying with your current payment system is worth the 20% servicing fee. On the smaller Wild Apricot plans like “Personal” or “Community” you can avoid the risk of switching payment systems, and incur the 20% servicing fee, which could be offset from a potential loss of any preferential transaction fee pricing or loss of  recurring revenue from members who do not re-establish their recurring membership profiles.

We believe very small organizations already using Wild Apricot, who are not using Wild Apricot Payments, can least afford to incur lower revenues by switching payment systems. We also recommend new Wild Apricot customers choose Wild Apricot Payments unless there is a compelling reason not to (e.g. your organization is outside of US or Canada). Many new interesting financial features will be deployed on Wild Apricot Payments, and only on Wild Apricot Payments. Wild Apricot Payements, after all, is billed as the “preferred” payment system. The other supported payment systems may not receive the same love as Wild Apricot Payments going forward and may not get new Wild Apricot-integrated features or benefits.

Wild Apricot Payment Selection Scenarios

The following table illustrates several organizational scenarios. You may want to adapt these scenarios to your organization when considering the potential cost or savings from switching to Wild Apricot Payments.



Organization 1

Organization 2

Organization 3

Organization 4

Wild Apricot Plan

Group ($50/month)

Community ($90/month)

Professional ($144/month billed annually)

Network ($261/month billed annually)

Current payment system

PayPal Payments Standard

PayPal Payments Pro








Payment System Monthly Fee





Payment System Transaction Fees

2.9% + 0.30c per transaction

2.9% + 0.30c per transaction

2.9% + 0.30c per transaction

2.9% + 0.30c per transaction

Refund Policy

Transaction fees are not returned

Transaction fees are not returned

Transaction fees are not returned

Transaction fees are not returned

Annual revenue

CAD $35,000

USD $80,000

EUR 150.000

USD $300,000

Annual transaction fees

250 online transactions: $1,090 in fees

750 online transactions: $2,965

2000 online transactions: EUR 4.950

3000 online transactions: $9,600

Annual Payment System Servicing Fee

$120 added to Group plan per year

$216 added to Community plan per year


$626 added to Network plan per year

Annual Wild Apricot Payment transaction fees





Lost Recurring Memberships*




20 (1% of members)

Recurring Membership Revenue Loss




One time loss of $2,000 in revenue, assuming $100 per year membership fee


Stay on PayPal Standard, extra $120 cost is negligible (0.3% of revenue)

Switch to Wild Apricot Payments, realize savings of $636 in transaction fees plus potential Payment System Servicing Fee

Stay on Stripe, Payment Servicing Fee does not apply to organizations in Europe

Switch to Wild Apricot Payments, realize an annual savings of $626 in Payment System Servicing Fee

* Lost recurring memberships may occur when changing online payment systems. If your organization has existing recurring memberships established with members, they will need to re-establish the recurring payment on the new payment system. The Wild Apricot help system describes this process.

Which payment methods will you choose?

Setting up your payment methods depends on how your organization prefers to accept payment for membership signups, renewals, event registrations, online store purchases or donations.

Your organization can accept payment manually (aka “offline”), online with a credit card or provide your member the choice of paying offline or with a credit card.

You can also set up a preferred payment method other than the global setting when managing the online store, creating or editing a membership level or creating  an event type.

Do you prefer to just generate invoices for manual payments, such as by cash, cheque or wire transfer?  If you turn on manual payments, you enable an invoice to be generated for later payment and your organization will not need to configure a payment system.

If you decide you wish to manually accept credit cards, you can still configure Wild Apricot Payments, and take credit cards through the virtual terminal capability instead of taking payments online.

If you prefer online payments only instead, you can turn off manual payments in the payment method for each membership level and for each event.

To accept both online and manual payments, configure both payment methods, so you can take payments online and record offline payments. This is usually what most organizations do.

You’ll learn how to test your whole Wild Apricot system and website in Step 8 – only three more to go!


About the author

Alex is a pioneer in using the cloud to meet the needs of small and medium sized business (SMBs) and membership-based organizations. He has a BSc in computer science from the University of Michigan and has worked as a product manager at two Internet startups. Alex is a father of 2 and plays the trumpet for fun. He is the founder and the president of the University of Michigan Alumni Club of Toronto.