NMI Gateway and Rock RMS

What's great about NMI

What's Great 1: NMI is a Rock Gateway

NMI is a gateway in Rock, as opposed to an API integration. Gateways offer a lot of power in Rock that API integrations don't offer and can't offer.

API integrations process your church giving and payments through something other than Rock, and then push the giving data into Rock. An example would be PushPay.

Rock Gateways are different-- they allow Rock to host your giving forms, and Rock to initiate charging credit cards and drafting bank accounts.

GATEWAYS ARE AWESOME!

When you use a Rock Gateway, you are taking full control of your data, and your relationship with your users. Your users don't see PushPay, or Kindrid, or PayPal. They see "Awake Church". They give at www.awake.org. They get emails from accounting@awake.org. They give on your website, then go to their Profile (powered by Rock) and see all their giving history including the gift they made 10 seconds ago. After they give, any Rock workflows triggered off of giving/payments fire immediately.

What's Great 2: Attractive Pricing

NMI can usually be paired with a commodity payment processor to give cheap rates.

What's Great 3: Popular Choice in Rock

There will be other Rock churches on NMI for a while, so there's company.

What NMI can do

  • Process Credit Cards and ACH (bank account payments)
  • Setup Recurring Giving
  • Save user credit cards and bank accounts for re-use in Rock
  • Process refunds
  • Power both giving and event registration

NMI shortcomings for Rock RMS

Nightly batch download

In NMI on Rock, some payments are immediately recorded in Rock and other's have to be synced later. One-time gifts/payments by card entered through your forms are synced in Rock immediately.

But these payments/events don't happen in real-time and must be synced later:

  • Bank Account / ACH gifts (ACH takes 5-10 days to get a response)
  • All recurring donations
  • Chargebacks

Rock syncs these through a nightly job that downloads transactions from NMI.

  • Drawback 1: Rock users in the RockRMS Slack #giving channel report this job failures occasional and sometimes imports duplicate transactions.
  • Drawback 2: Your financial data is up to 24-hours out-of-date. If a donor's recurring gift of $500 went through at 9 am, you will not know looking at your batches or donor profiles in Rock until the next morning.

A recurring payment cannot be edited

If you need to edit anything about a recurring payment in NMI, you can't.

Such as:

  • the amount
  • the date
  • the frequency
  • the payment source (change cards)

A donor will not be able to change any of these items on a recurring donation. The only way forward is to cancel the existing recurring donation and create a new one.

Limited recurring time intervals

You can set up recurring payments in NMI of

  • weekly
  • bi-weekly
  • monthly

But more creative options are not available such as

  • every Monday and Friday
  • every 3 weeks
  • The 1st and 15th of the month

Recurring donation failures are silent

When a recurring donation fails in Rock (e.g. insufficient funds) there are no notifications.

To work around this some Rock users have been setting a reminder to log into NMI, download the failures, and then email donors as needed.

Saved payments for one-time not usable for recurring

If a donor gives on a one-time basis, saves their payment method, then wants to set up a recurring donation, that donor will have to re-enter their payment method all over again.

Batches are not aligned with deposits

Rock batches coming from NMI payments are not related to the bank deposits coming from your payment processor.

This makes bank account reconciliation time-consuming.

If you want to match each payment from your processor report with that same payment in Rock you'll find that searching for payments in Rock is not quick. Payments will be spread out over multiple batches, and some batches may have payments that ended up in two different bank deposits.

To see how tough the problem is, read Kevin Rutledge's blog post on what he built to try to solve reconciling batches and deposits from NMI.

Other shortcomings

No Text-to-Give

Most Rock users of NMI pair it with the payment processor MyWell (Transnational). There is no Text-to-Give with Transnational. So Text-to-Give will require a second vendor and a second reconciliation process.

NMI is a general gateway, not focused on Rock, or churches, or online giving

NMI predates Rock and serves a variety of industries and use cases-- physical retailers, online retailers, restaurants, nearly anyone who needs to take credit cards.

That's is a good thing in that it means that NMI is likely stable and generally reliable.

But it also means any issues churches have with payments are not going to be solved by NMI.

You shouldn't expect NMI to add functionality to support donation/payments functionality specific to churches or churches using Rock because church payments is not their business.

Updates to Rock regarding NMI are on the Rock core team's release schedule

The Rock Core Team maintains the Rock-to-NMI integration code. So improvements and fixes for the Rock-to-NMI integration happen with the Rock release cycle. Any improvements would likely to land in major releases (Rock 7, Rock 8...) and bug fixes are likely to come out in the minor releases.

You also have to be ready to update Rock across your whole organization when an improvement/fix comes out. If you are stuck on a version of Rock because part of your organization is not ready to upgrade, you will wait even longer to get an NMI fix.

Conclusion

NMI is great because it is a Rock Gateway and other Rock churches using it. But it also has a lot of limitations to consider before setting up your payments infrastructure on it.