Please note: the Stitch features enabling organizers to take payments from attendees for their events and activities is currently a Beta feature in limited release. All information contained in this article is preliminary in nature and may be subject to change based on the results of testing and feedback.
The Stitch Payments feature allows trusted organizers of events, activities, and groups to accept payments from attendees through the Stitch platform. The feature is intended to make it easier for organizers to host events that require them to pay a venue for an event in advance, without forcing them to pay venues out of their own pockets, or take on the risk of losing money if some attendees never show up.
We have built Stitch Payments to provide financial protection for both organizers and attendees as much as we can, so the feature includes provisions for various different refund policies, anti-fraud measures, and fee transparency.
All payments made using the Stitch Payments platform are made using credit cards. Credit card payments provide a higher level of consumer protection for attendees than bank transfers, and by choosing this method we eliminate any requirement for Stitch to store attendee bank details.
The nature of taking payments online via credit card does, however, mean that processing fees are involved when an attendee pays for an event using the payments platform. This article outlines what those fees are, and why they exist.
The video below summarizes the main questions covered in this article:
Why do in-person activities include processing fees?
As outlined above, the fact the Stitch Payments platform uses credit cards to enable payments for events means that processing fees are, unfortunately, unavoidable. The processing fee for a payment through the platform consists of multiple components and includes fees imposed by the credit card providers, banks, and our payment processing provider, Stripe.
Can I give my attendees a way to avoid processing fees?
Yes. We know this will be a common requirement for many organizers, so we've been careful to ensure that organizers can choose to continue to allow some members to pay them outside the Stitch Payments platform, just as they're doing today, while requiring other members to pay via the platform.
Here is an example of the sort of scenario the system has been built to cater to:
Mary is an organizer of a regular weekly dinner event, where she requires attendees to pay a fixed fee of $25 to attend. For most members, she posts her bank account details on the Stitch activity details and asks attendees to transfer her money before the event. One regular attendee named Bob, however, doesn't like bank transfers so pays Mary cash on the night of the event. Mary is willing to do this for a regular attendee she knows well like Bob but isn't willing to take on the same risk for members she has never met before.
In the above scenario, Mary can turn on Stitch Payments for event attendees, who will pay using their credit card using the Payments platform. For Bob, however, she can simply add him to the event as an attendee using the Add new button on the Attendee tab for the event. Bob will not be charged, and Mary can accept the $25 from Bob at the event the way she has always done.
As an organizer, you can also choose not to enable Stitch Payments for your activity if you are comfortable accepting payments from attendees via bank transfer or another method. Please note, however, that Stitch is unable to assist with payment disputes for payments made outside the Stitch Payments platform.
What are the processing fees for in-person activities?
The processing fees for member-to-member credit card payments using the Stitch Payments platform are set as 5% of the fee collected by the organizer, plus a small fixed amount. The fixed amount of the fee varies according to the currency being charged, as follows:
New Zealand: NZ$0.50
It is worth noting that the processing fees charged by peer-payment providers like the Stripe Connect platform are slightly higher than the credit card fees you may experience when purchasing from a retailer. In most cases, that's because the retailer is accepting some of the cost of the processing fee, without passing it on to you. For peer payments made to organizers, we don't think it's fair or reasonable to expect organizers to cover this fee, so it's passed on to attendees.
We have, however, managed to keep the processing fees for Stitch members lower than comparable platforms. Peer card payments made via Meetup, for example, incur a fee of 7.5%.
How are processing fees for in-person activities handled when a refund is issued?
If a member withdraws from an in-person activity and the organizer issues a refund, only the event fee will be returned to the member, not the processing fee. The processing fee does not get returned by the payment processing platforms, and we don't think it's fair or reasonable to expect an event organizer to be forced to cover the cost of the fees for any attendees at their events who decide to pull out.
If you decide to attend an activity and subsequently are granted a refund by the organizer, please be aware you will only receive the event fee and not the processing fee.
What about virtual activities?
Stitch Payments are currently only available for in-person activities. We will be adding payment support for virtual activities in an upcoming update.