When planning online registration and ticket sales, you may be tempted to include an option for payment by check. Payment by check is a bad idea for several reasons. A key drawback of check payments is the delay and additional manual work they create, but there are other downsides too. If you can’t eliminate check payments, the next best option is to avoid check payments in your event as much as possible.

It’s important to get proceeds from registrations fast. Here’s three easy methods to help protect your time and revenue from the drawbacks of check payments by avoiding check payments.

Minimize the number of checks you deal with

1)     Incentivize online payments

One of the simplest ways to save yourself a lot of wasteful busy-work dealing with checks is to charge more for check payments.

Charging more for for payment by check both discourages customers from paying by check and encourages them to take advantage of paying by credit card.

Charging 20-25% more is a reasonable starting point. (There may be other factors in your event that lead you to set your “check payment” price higher or lower.) For example, suppose you have an exhibitor fee of $100 to be paid online by credit card. The same exhibitor fee when paying by check can be set to $120 or $125.

Charging more for check payments provides you a little compensation for the additional work you’ll be doing to manually process checks. For a $100 registration fee you’ll collect $20-$25 to cover your time and risk for manually handling check payments. As you can see, this barely covers the cost of your time! This is a good reason to avoid check payments altogether.

2)      Help your check customers in pay by credit card

Some of your customers prefer to pay by check because they don’t have a credit card. Many event systems, such as ClearEvent, accept pre-paid credit cards which is a great option if the buyer does not have a bank-issued credit card.

Publish suggestions on your website and on your registration form where your customers can purchase pre-paid credit cards to help avoid check payments.

This approach also helps to minimize the number of bad checks you’ll have to clean up. Resolving bad checks is often a drain on time and resources as well as damaging your relationship with your bank.

3)      Make check payment options less prominent

It’s best if most registrations use credit card payments, so structure your registration fees by putting credit card payment methods in the top positions. ClearEvent provides a lot of flexibility in setting up your registration forms. Fees can be grouped and ordered so you can organize your registration options as needed.

Keep check payment options separate and less prominent.

Keep check payment options separate and less prominent.

On your fees page, put your registration fees with credit card payment at the top and list your check options lower in your list of fees.

Alternatively, you could create a group of fees labelled “Pay by Check” and include only check payments in this section. This minimizes confusion between credit card payments and check payments and makes it more likely your registrants will register using online credit card payment.

Smart Planners Avoid Check Payments

If your event accepts check payments, take steps to minimize the number of check payments as much as possible. This minimizes wasted time and effort processing manual payments. It also ensures the majority of your revenue is available within days rather than weeks.

Charging more when accepting check payments provides an incentive to pay by credit card instead. Providing helpful suggestions and recommendations to your registrants about using pre-paid credit cards can further lower the work and risk of dealing with checks. Lastly, make the check options less prominent on your form to encourage more attendees to register using credit card.

These steps go a long way toward minimizing the impact of check payments, freeing you to focus on the bigger more important aspects of your event.

Happy Planning!


ClearEvent provides a great deal of flexibility to manage payments for your event, even check payments. Learn more here.

Interested In Other Topics?

As a conference planner, knowledge is key. Let us know the topics you’d like to hear about to help increase your event planning success, at customersuccess@clearevent.com.

In the meantime, Happy Planning!