The CarePortal Card has various restrictions placed on them as a form of protection and accountability. In this article, these restrictions are outlined and we outline some strategies for how to navigate around them and continue to help more families and kids than your church would otherwise be able to.
CarePortal Card holders, local CarePortal experts
Included in This Article
CarePortal Card Training Video
(to use or embed this video in your own resources, feel free to use this link)
Restricted Transaction Types & Scenarios
The CarePortal Card has some basic protections built-in that may present some initial limitations in meeting CarePortal requests. These limitations can be summarized by three situations:
- The transaction amount exceeds the funds available on the card
If you wish to conduct a split transaction (some merchants may not allow this), you must tell the merchant before swiping the card to charge only the exact amount of funds available on the Card. You must then arrange to pay the remaining balance using another payment method. Some merchants may require payment for the remaining balance in cash to avoid paying an additional transaction fee.
- The vendor codes the transaction as a cash transfer
This happens for the obvious types of transactions like:
- ATM cash withdrawals
- Peer-to-peer cash payments (Venmo, CashApp, etc.)
- Money Orders (not all)
But this restriction may also include less obvious transaction types (depending on the vendor) like:
- Gift cards
- Bill pay (utilities, rent, car payment, etc.)
- The vendor places an additional hold on the card that exceeds the card's current limit/balance
This practice is common for vendors like:
- Gas stations
- Car rentals
- Some grocery stores
Strategies for Overcoming Restrictions
So what can you do to avoid being limited from helping local families by these restrictions? Here are a few recommendations CarePortal recommends:
- Establish or make use of your church donation platform to transfer specific funds for unrestricted use
You can use your CarePortal Card to make a donation to your church, which will safely transfer the needed funds to a separate platform that does not have these limitations. At that point, you can use your church's debit card, credit card, or preferred cash transfer system to help the family.
Note: This will require your church to take responsibility for the transaction fees associated with this donation. In some cases, you may have a CarePortal Card balance that would allow you to factor this transaction fee amount into your donation. In other cases, this amount (usually around 3 percent) will be considered an expense for the church.
- Keep a $100 balance on your CarePortal Card if you can
While you cannot add additional funds to your CarePortal Card that are not tied directly to an open CarePortal request, you may find that as your team uses your card to meet needs, you might spend less money than was donated. This should open opportunities for your team(s) to meet additional needs with leftover funds, but also to keep a small balance on your card that would satisfy the potential additional hold that certain vendors place on cards until the transaction is finalized.
- Know the limitations and plan ahead
By knowing which types of requests and local merchants present a potential logistical barrier, you can avoid the inconvenience of getting stuck at a cash register without a way to pay for the needed items. For example, using your church's donation platform to transfer funds to an unrestricted payment method may take one or two business days.
More CarePortal Card FAQs
To view more frequently asked questions related to the CarePortal card, visit this additional article.