Charge: Aggregators are more expensive than merchant accounts.

Fact: This is comparing apples and oranges. You pay for what you get. is far more than just a payment gateway, we’re a platform with tools and services specifically designed to help our users raise money and tell their stories as effectively and efficiently as possible. There is also no setup fee, no contract, and no monthly charge to run a campaign on our platform. 

Charge: You lose control of chargebacks.

Fact: Rally takes the burden of chargebacks off of campaigns. This is a hidden value we offer our users. Our team focuses on building and standardizing reconciliation tools to help our users deal with refunds, chargebacks, and other compliance items. We’re moving tens-of-millions of transactions, so we’ve built systems to grind through this cumbersome process in real time. It’s a battle in a world of donor remorse and never-ending telephone calls with banks and processors, but it’s a battle that we choose to fight for our users. As a result, at Rally, we have some of the lowest chargeback rates in our industry. We don’t make money until our users do.

Charge: Aggregators withhold a portion of your funds to compensate for fraud and unanticipated chargebacks.

Fact: We have an entire team that spends countless hours evaluating every transaction that passes through our system. Anyone issuing a customer a merchant account does the exact same thing – it’s an industry standard to hold some portion of funds in reserve. If anyone thinks that folks who issue merchant accounts are any kinder on reserves and fraud protection, they’re mistaken.

Charge: The aggregator’s name appears on your donor’s credit card statement and thus donors don’t have any idea what it is for, which causes chargebacks.

Fact: Most transactions do include a user’s organizational name. It’s called a secondary descriptor. Here’s the challenge: many banks are operating on ancient technology – and many don’t support secondary descriptors on card statements (yet). This is an industry-wide problem, but one that a consortium of card and payment companies are actively working to fix. But the bottom line is that at Rally, we have some of the lowest chargeback rates in our industry. 

As the three-time winner of this organization’s Reed Awards for online fundraising and technology, has built something very different from CMDI – or Paypal for that matter.

CMDI has built a terrific engine for managing complex federal and state compliance issues. We’ve enjoyed collaborating with them in the past on what they’re best at., on the other hand, has built a complete hybrid vehicle. We have a lean, fast, effective and, I’m proud to say, really attractive vehicle for fundraising and storytelling. For rallying.

I’ve followed the work Erik did at Fundly, where he used to work as founder. It was a competitor to Rally, but he left the world of social fundraising and joined a long-established player in party politics and campaigns. I wish him well, but I wouldn’t want to be selling those tools in the era of social-powered, story-based online engagement and fundraising. That’s the crowdfunding world that is dominating in, and others are following.

For lots of good reasons.

Tom Serres is the founder and Chief Rally Officer for, an online fundraising and storytelling platform that allows users to raise money and build awareness for the causes that they care about. Prior to founding, Tom was the founder and director at Texas Ventures and the founder and CEO at Piryx Inc.

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