Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How to Pay LDS Tithing Online

Here's how to pay tithing online for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons or Latter-day Saints [LDS]).

If you're anything like me then you almost never use checks. The only day-to-day uses for these dinosaurs of the financial world are to pay rent and tithing. But more often than not I forget my checkbook when I go to church. After all, I don't carry it with me anywhere else! This habit has resulted in sporadic donations in which I try to figure out how many paychecks have come in since I last paid and then try to catch up.

(For those who may not know, Mormons usually pay 10% of their income to the church in the form of tithing. These funds support the growth of the church, building construction and maintenance, and other managerial things. They don't support a paid clergy (the LDS church has none at the local level) or humanitarian relief - there are separate donation avenues for helping the poor, victims of disaster, etc. Tithing does pay the administration costs of humanitarian aid so that 100% of money "given to the poor" actually goes to help the poor.)

Well I've finally found a solution. I heard a rumor that members can pay their tithing online somehow, so I fired up google and figured it out last night.

Here are directions to set up online tithing payment:

1. Download the necessary form from this website:
The Bill Payment Service Electronic Donation Information Form. (The version dated 21 May 2010 doesn't work, download and use the one dated 21 August 2008.) Fill it out on your computer and e-mail it to donations@ldschurch.org. You'll need to know your membership number, which you can get off of your temple recommend or from your ward clerk.

2. After you have e-mailed the form you'll receive a detailed response on how to set up your electronic bill payment through your bank. You'll need to figure out how exactly to configure bill pay for your bank. I use Bank of America and it was relatively easy to set up.

The e-mail you receive will provide information on how to set up separate bill payments for the following:

  • Tithing
  • Fast offerings
  • General missionary fund
  • Book of Mormon fund
  • Perpetual education fund
  • Other
Each bill payment you set up will use a different biller name. These names must be entered exactly as shown below and are case sensitive.

  • LDS-Tithing
  • LDS-Fast Offering
  • LDS-Missionary (General)
  • LDS-Book of Mormon
  • LDS-Other
You will be identified by your membership ID which you enter as the account number on your banking website.

Lastly, take care to enter the Pay To address and phone number correctly as shown.

A few notes on donating tithes and offerings electronically:
  • Any donations you send will go to church headquarters and will not be seen by your ward clerks or bishop - for good or for bad.
  • You can't donate to your ward missionary fund online, only to the general missionary fund.
  • The donations office can't accommodate special requests towards ward fast offerings or ward missionary funds.
  • You will receive monthly statements to verify that your payments have been successful as well as yearly tax receipts. You can receive these statements via snail mail or e-mail. If you choose to receive them via e-mail, this is what they look like:
Good luck! Hopefully this will be useful to folks like me who always forget the checkbook before church.

ORIGINAL: 3/15/10
UPDATE: 7/27/10 Updated directions to download the working Bill Payment Service Electronic Donation Information Form. Also mentioned the new ability to receive statements electronically.
UPDATE: 11/9/10 Added example image of a monthly electronic donations statement. Re-published with today's date.