Beginning March 2023, payment processing for CDM+ is moving from Stewardship Technology to Blue Parasol Group, LLC d/b/a Paragon Payment Solutions (“Paragon”).
This article explains the move and aims to answer common questions. If you have further questions, please click Contact Support on this page to open a ticket with our support team.
CDM+ provides payment processing for a number of operations, including:
- Online Billing
- COG Denominational Reports
- One Time Payments
When these payments are initiated in CDM+, a separate company, called a payment processor, manages the transfer of funds from the giver/payer to you.
Historically CDM+ used Stewardship Technology as our payment processor. We are moving to another company—Paragon Payment Solutions ("Paragon")—for payment processing.
Why are you making this change?
In 2018 Stewardship Technology was acquired by another company, Paya. This change is a result of that acquisition.
Paya is sunsetting Stewardship Technology to consolidate their processors. Paragon is also a Paya company, and was selected as the new processor to replace Stewardship.
Because Stewardship is sunsetting their operations, they will be unable to provide payment processing services after mid-April 2023. CDM+ has been updated to use Paragon instead to ensure payment services continue after this date.
How will this affect me?
In general, there will be very little operational impact. Payments, including scheduled giving, will continue as normal. There will be no change to your fees (transaction, incidental, or platform) when this transition occurs.
There will be some legal changes to your merchant account and several changes to how funds will be settled into your bank account. These changes are detailed below.
Terms and Conditions
Your contract with Stewardship is being transferred to Paragon, and no underwriting or re-application for a merchant account will be required. The Terms and Conditions of your merchant account will be updated to those posted here: https://bit.ly/425YAbB
In general, Paragon's Terms and Conditions are similar to those of Stewardship. Paragon serves a wider range of industries and features (businesses, brick-and-mortar, swiping devices) so the Paragon Terms and Conditions document is more exhaustive than Stewardship's.
If you have questions about the new Terms and Conditions, please click Contact Support on this page to raise a ticket with our support team.
Full Merchant Account
Stewardship Technology operated as a PayFac (payment facilitator), and your merchant account was technically a sub-account under the parent Stewardship account. With Paragon, you will now have a full merchant account, which causes several related changes. These are described below under:
- Monthly Depositors/Monthly Fees
- Financial Statements
- I heard about a $39.95 PCI fee. What is this?
Separate Deposits for Card and ACH
Under Stewardship, payments by credit/debit card and ACH (eCheck) were deposited into your bank account as a single deposit. Going forward, you will see separate deposits for card payments and ACH payments.
Previously, most clients received deposits 2 banking days after payment was made.
After the move to Paragon, funds will settle as follows:
|Credit/Debit Card||2 days|
This additional settlement day for ACH transactions will reduce the chance of costly returns due to NSF issues.
New Sponsor Bank
Some financial institutions need the bank for incoming direct transfers to be approved. This bank is called the sponsor bank and is changing as part of this move.
To avoid any delay in processing deposits, we recommend you notify your financial institution of this upcoming change and include the details below:
|Credit/Debit Cards||Chesapeake Bank||9362403762|
|ACH||Fifth Third Bank||17167|
Monthly Depositors/Monthly Fees
The vast majority of CDM+ clients receive funds on a daily basis. The deposits are the net amount of giving/payments, where the fees on each transaction are already removed.
For example, if you received $500.00 in gifts and paid $6.50 in fees, you would receive a deposit of $493.50. These deposits are made throughout the month. See Settlement Times above for details on the delay between a gift/payment and receiving the deposit.
The reason for this change is related to becoming a full merchant (see Full Merchant Account above). Even if you received monthly deposits or fees, Stewardship would capture funds (minus fees) on a daily basis. This allows transactions from the giver/payer to immediately complete and show on financial statements. After capturing these funds, Stewardship would accrued funds owed/fees due, then transfer them to your account monthly.
Because you are now a full merchant, there is no holding account to accrue funds. If you continued to delay deposits or fees for up to a month, givers/payers would see a pending charge on their account until the end of the month. We feel that showing gifts or payment to your organization as pending for days or weeks is a negative experience for your givers/payers.
In addition, transaction fees increase as a transaction waits to be authorized. If you hold a transaction without authorizing, there is a possibility the payment could become negative, where the fees exceed the gift/payment amount.
Because of this negative donor/payer experience and the increased cost of monthly deposits/fees, we are moving all CDM+ clients to a daily net deposit. We apologize for any reporting inconvenience caused by this change, but we feel this the right move.
Separate Deposit Accounts
A very small group of clients had gifts/payment settle into multiple bank accounts under Stewardship. The Paragon platform will deposit funds into a single primary account. Please refer to the email you received about this migration to see what accounts will not be used.
How will this change affect my givers/payees?
There are a couple small changes that donors/payees will notice. These are detailed as follows.
Previously, transactions to your organization could include “SST” and/or “MT VERNON OH” on statements, which could cause confusion to givers/payers. Because you are now a full merchant,, only your organization name will appear on statements.
We expect this change will reduce confusion when givers/payers see charges from your organization on their card/bank statement.
Previously, givers could schedule a recurring gift to occur on the 1st and 15th of the month. Paragon offers a 1st and 16th option for semi-monthly giving. Any donors who gave on the 1st and 15th will now see gifts on the 1st and 16th. CDM+ interfaces and reports have been updated to list 1st and 16th where appropriate.
Bank Account Type
When creating a bank account payment method for ACH gifts/payments, givers/payees will now need to specify if the account is personal or business.
Please note that the savings account option is only available for personal bank accounts.
I heard about a $39.95 PCI fee. What is this?
If your organization does not accept credit card payments, this section does not apply to you.
PCI DSS compliance is the the standard used by the credit card payments industry to ensure safe management of cardholder data. Stewardship and Paragon undergo annual audits and training to maintain this compliance, and the CDM+ software ensures cardholder data is transferred to the payment processor in a compliant manner.
Previously Stewardship managed the bulk of the responsibility for PCI compliance as a PayFac. However, because you are now a full merchant (see Full Merchant Account above), you have additional responsibility to maintain PCI compliance. Practically speaking, being compliant really just means following common sense best practices in how you handle credit card information. However, there is still a formal process to attain PCI compliance.
The good new is that Paragon has partnered with a PCI DSS compliance by a company called Security Metrics. During the transition, you will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org to register and complete PCI DSS validation. The validation is simple to complete and should be easily met by all CDM+ clients.
For example, you need to agree to not write down credit card numbers and only enter them into CDM+ electronically.
This validation must be completed within 90 days of the migration, then repeated annually. This may seem like an extra chore, but it is an important step to ensure you are protecting the data of your givers and payers.
If you do not complete the validation within the allotted time, you will be assessed a monthly PCI non-compliance fee of $39.95. Please click Contact Support to open a support ticket if you have questions about this new process.
Will this change affect Payroll Direct Deposit?
This move does not yet affect Payroll Direct Deposit processing. We anticipate a similar migration for payroll processing in the future, and please be on the lookout for information about that transition a little later this year.
Will this move provide me new benefits?
As described above, there are immediate benefits from this move:
- Clearer descriptors on donor statements
- Less chance of ACH return fees due to an extra settlement day
Going forward, we expect to offer several new payment features that the Paragon platform offers. Stay tuned for details!
What isn't changing?
The following items aren't changing:
- The giver/payee experience in CDM+
- Your administrative experience in CDM+
- Reporting in CDM+
- Transaction, incidental, or platform fees
- Recurring giving
- Saved payment methods
How will the change occur?
We will identify and communicate a migration day for you. On that day, around 12:00 a.m. ET the following sequence will begin:
- Your Engage and WMT sites will enter a maintenance mode
- We will perform the payment processor migration
- We will update your CDM+ database to a new version
- Your sites will exit maintenance mode
- We will notify you the migration is complete
- You can open CDM+ update, and resume working normally
We will endeavor to provide as much notice as possible ahead of the migration. If you are aware of a date when a migration is NOT ideal, please notify us as soon as possible by clicking Contact Support on this page to open a support ticket.
Are there other changes in the CDM+ update?
Yes. Please see What's New in CDM+ 12.1 for an overview of these changes. Many of the changes in CDM+ 12.1 are targeted towards using Engage Giving, and we hope you will find them beneficial.
CDM+ 12.1 has the same system requirements as CDM+ 12.0, so you don't need to worry about any computer or OS upgrades.
What if I don't want to migrate?
The Suran, Stewardship, and Paragon teams have worked closely to ensure a smooth transition. But, if you don't want to change payment processors you can cancel your merchant account with Stewardship and stop accepting electronic payments through CDM+.
Visit the Forms page to download, complete, and submit the form to Cancel Engage to begin this process.
How can I get help with this change?
Click Contact Support on the bottom right-hand corner of this page to open a support ticket with your questions. We'll be more than happy to help!