The convenience of credit cards — one swipe buys you a Dutch oven, a new tent, a boat — is both their advantage and their downfall.
Having a credit card or debit card that belongs to your Scout unit seems handy, but it’s that very convenience that presents potential problems.
That’s why the Boy Scouts of America discourages the use of unit-owned credit cards and debit cards. Online event registration and other Web purchases should be paid by a volunteer and reimbursed according to BSA policies.
Read more about this guidance from the BSA in my latest Ask the Expert.
With more and more councils using online event registrations and online payments, it seems like my pack is the only one without a pack debit card or credit card. Before we consider getting one, I wanted to know what national BSA’s position is on unit-held debit/credit cards and if there are any official guidelines or policies governing their use.
It comes from Mark Moshier, one of the BSA’s fundraising experts. He says:
The use of credit or debit cards by a unit is strongly discouraged. Online event registration should be paid by a volunteer and reimbursed according to the unit policy for expense reimbursement, which is paid using a two-signature check from the unit.
Other expenditures that don’t require a credit card or debit card can be paid by one of those two-signature checks.
Unit funds deposited in a checking or savings account that requires two signatures help everyone in the unit keep track of expenses. Those two signees are often a unit leader and a committee person.
Credit and debit cards, on the other hand, require you to track down the physical cards if a Scout leader leaves the unit. And getting a credit card requires you to prove credit worthiness, something units usually can’t do.