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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
NMI can usually be paired with a commodity payment processor to give some of the lowest rates available.
NMI is one of three gateways in Rock right now and many churches choose it. Because of its popularity, there's lots of other users in the Rock community using it. Lots of churches using it means that it will be supported in Rock Core and of course with Rock's active community - lots of support from friends using the same thing.
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:
Rock syncs these through a nightly job that downloads transactions from NMI.
If you need to edit anything about a recurring payment in NMI, you can't.
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.
You can set up recurring payments in NMI of
But more creative options are not available such as
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.
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.
Rock batches coming from NMI payments are not related to the bank deposits coming from your payment processor.
This makes bank account reconciliation complicated and 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.
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 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 church specific issues with payments are unlikely 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 core business.
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 10, Rock 11...) 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.
NMI is great because it is a Rock Gateway and other Rock churches using it. It also has a lot of limitations to consider before setting up your payments infrastructure on it.