You can raise Charges against bookings and notify customers of their charges. Customers can even pay your booking charges online, providing you and your customer with a simple, secure and efficient means of managing their booking charge payments. Payment of booking charges by other methods can also be managed, with comprehensive reporting to help keep track of unpaid charges that are due and overdue for payment.
In this article
Overview of intended functionality
Charges are raised against individual bookings, or for multi-date bookings, against the sequence. This gives you lots of flexibility with the frequency of when charges are raised for a sequence, perhaps raising charges weekly or monthly, or even for the entire sequence if you wish. You can raise multiple charges against each booking or sequence, perhaps for deposits, instalments and extras and optionally set a due date for a charge so that you and your customer know when payment is due. Partial payments are not supported, so you should add separate charges for each payment a customer will make.
Charges are shown on the Charges tab of a booking. From here you can Add charges or Add credit (if already Paid), Duplicate, Edit, Delete (if Unpaid) or View changes for an existing charge.
Each booking has a customer-facing booking page that can be sent to the customer, perhaps as a booking confirmation.
In addition to all the booking details, the booking page also includes the list of charges and, if enabled, the option to pay.
While the Charges functionality is not intended to be a replacement for your organisation's accounting and invoicing systems, Invoice details can be recorded for cross-referencing each charge in ChurchSuite to the customer invoice.
And finally, the Bookings module's Reports section includes several customer and charge-related reports to help you further manage customers, their bookings and charges. The Stripe Transfers report, for example, shows a summarised and detailed breakdown of online card payments received in respect of booking charges.
Configuring the Bookings module for raising booking charges
Minimal configuration is needed to begin raising charges and processing customer payments. You'll get the most from the functionality by first reviewing the following configuration steps.
1. Review the module settings
Access the Bookings module's Module Options tab to Edit and Enable Charges.
Still in the module's setting, switch to the Booking Page tab to optionally Edit and add a custom Message displayed at the bottom of customer-facing Booking Pages. For example, you might link to your terms of service or cancellation policy; or perhaps state your standard payment terms or your organisation's address and booking contact details.
2. Stripe card payment integration
If you wish to offer your customers an online payment option for paying your charges you will first need to complete the Stripe integration (in Administrator > Integrations). You may already have a completed Stripe integration for event ticket sales and online donations, in which case no further action is required. See our related support article on Integrating Stripe for Card Payments for further information.
3. Check booking Type settings
Working within the booking Types section of the module, and for each Type listed, you can further customise each booking type to best suit your use of the charges functionality. Click Edit.
On the Edit type pop-up, you can assign a custom Brand - ideal for churches wishing to distinguish their commercial bookings from their other church ministries. See the related support on Custom Brands for further information. You can also select whether Online Payment is enabled by default when adding bookings of this type, although users can override the default on a booking-by-booking basis if they wish. Save any changes made.
Back on the booking type "View" page, optionally add payment Instructions - ideal for letting customers know how they can pay your booking charges. The instructions surface at the bottom of a list of any charges shown on the customer-facing Booking Page. The Confirmation email is sent to a customer when they make an online payment through their booking page. In addition to the preset payment-related content added, you can add a custom message to the email if you wish. Note that you can also change the default From Name, From Email and Subject of the Confirmation.
The payment Confirmation email includes the booking details and charges, and the payment made. Your custom Confirmation message is shown after the booking details and just above the payment details - perhaps a personal thank you message.
Let's now look at the process of adding charges to a booking.
Working from the booking "View" page (for any date in a booking sequence), click into the Charges tab (only shown if Booking Charges are enabled in the module's settings - see the previous section for further information). Click Add charge.
On the Add charge pop-up, specify the charge Name, optionally add a Description and Invoice No, enter the Amount due and, if you wish, the charge Due date, which will help with managing/reporting due and overdue charges. A negative amount (Credit) can be added, but note this option is reserved for recording amounts that have been manually refunded to the customer - perhaps by cheque or bank transfer (see the section on Refunds later in this article). Negative amounts are therefore not suitable for giving discounts - discounts should be factored into the original charge to which a discount is being given (perhaps showing the charge and discount in the charge Description), with the Amount being the net of the discount amount.
Customers will see all their Charges listed on the customer-facing Booking Page, however, you can optionally set charges Hidden, perhaps hiding a charge until it has been approved by the customer; at which point you can Edit the charge and set it Visible.
Charges are typically added with an Unpaid Status. However, when adding or editing a charge, you can mark the payment status as Paid and record details of the payment received. While online charge payments automatically update the charge payment Status to Paid, you can record payments by other methods, noting the Payment Method and Date of payment. Note that it is not possible to record partial payments - instead, create separate charges for the partially paid and unpaid elements. Click to Save the charge.
Continue adding charges as appropriate. You have lots of flexibility when raising charges. For example, you might add charges for deposits, monthly instalments, charges per booking based on resource usage or charges for life events, such as a marriage or funeral service. Importantly, the Charges tab lists all the charges for the booking/sequence, with the payment Status of each charge shown. The column headings are click-sortable. Note also the Actions to Duplicate, Edit or Delete a charge.
As mentioned previously, customers can view a list of charges on their customer-facing booking page, sent using the Send booking action. You can preview that page using the Go to booking page option shown below.
In this section we explain two methods of processing charge refunds that return a previously-paid amount to a customer:
- a refund back to the payment card previously used to pay a charge online via the customer booking page
- a credit charge in respect of a manually refunded payment returned to the customer, perhaps by cheque or bank transfer
Note: The refund methods outlined here are not suitable for offering customer discounts, which should instead be factored into the original charge amount - perhaps showing the charge and discount in the charge Description), with the charge Amount being the net discounted amount due.
Refund of online payments previously paid through the Booking Page
When an online payment is made for a booking charge through the customer-facing Booking Page (using your Stripe card payment integration), you can easily process a full or partial refund for that payment; saving the additional administration of issuing a manual refund payment while still maintaining an up-to-date payment and refund history for the original charge.
From the Charges tab of a booking, select Refund from the Actions menu - this action is only shown for charges previously paid online through the customer-facing Booking Page.
On the Refund payment pop-up select whether a Full or Partial refund is to be processed. Confirm the refund amount and click Refund Payment to complete the process. The payment is refunded back to the card originally used to pay (even if that card has subsequently expired or been cancelled) - it's not possible to refund to a different card.
Once processed, the charge Status and Amount are updated accordingly on the Charges tab. The charge is locked to prevent further changes to the Amount but the charge Name, Description and Invoice Number can still be edited, if necessary.
The charge Changes log provides a helpful history - click View changes from the charge Actions menu on the Charges tab.
Refunding charges paid by other payment methods
You can also process refunds for charges previously paid by other payment methods by adding a charge Credit. For example, if a charge has been previously recorded as Paid by bank transfer - you can add a record of any full or partial refund amount (and refund method) that has been returned to the customer. In this next example, the charge of £75 has been previously Paid (by bank transfer in this example). From the Actions menu, select Add credit.
On the Add credit pop-up enter the details of the amount being refunded back to the customer - enter a negative value Amount, select the Method by which the refund is being returned to the customer and the refund Date. Click OK to add the charge credit.
The Credit charge is added to the Charges list and the charge summary totals update accordingly, providing a clear audit trail of charges Paid by the customer and Credits refunded back to the customer. The customer-facing Booking Page will also show this same information.
Deleting booking charges
Finally in this section, note that it is only possible to delete Unpaid charges and Credits. Charges paid online through the booking page can be refunded, but not deleted. To delete, select Delete from the charge Actions menu. The action is not shown for Paid charges.
Sending the customer booking page
For each one-off and sequence booking, you can send the customer a Booking Page that shows all their booking details (for each date in a sequence) and booking charges. If online payments are enabled, customers can pay their charges using an online card payment process, updating the payment status of their booking page (and your Bookings module) accordingly. We've produced a separate support article about the Customer-Facing Booking Page, which explains the customer user experience in more detail. For this article on booking charges, we'll focus on how to send the booking page to the customer.
You can preview the customer Booking Page at any time using the Go to booking page option, shown below.
To send the Booking Page to the customer click Send booking from the Communicate button menu. Note that email actions are only available if the customer has an email address.
Through the Send booking pop-up, you can customise which elements of the booking details form the email body content, which you'll be able to preview before sending. Note that these options only affect what shows in the customer email - as long as the Include booking page link option is ticked the customer will see all the booking details and charges on their Booking Page, which they'll access using the booking page link you send. Select as appropriate and click Proceed to preview the draft booking email.
The draft email can be further personalised, perhaps adding a personal greeting or additional message. The email Template is pre-selected based on the booking type Brand. You can attach files, such as a PDF of your Terms and Conditions - and the email can be optionally scheduled, rather than sent immediately. Click Preview Email.
The booking customer is pre-selected as the Recipient but recipients can be added to removed, as required. Recipients are always blind-copied. When you are happy click Send Email and the booking email is sent/scheduled.
You only need to send a customer booking page once. The booking page always remains up-to-date as changes are made to the booking details in ChurchSuite, and when charges are added or paid.
A record of the sent booking is shown in the Communication log of the booking from which the email was sent, even though the booking may relate to a sequence of dates; however, an identical log is added in the customer Communication log and all sent communications from the module can be viewed in the module's Communication report.
Finally, the View history option provides a helpful detailed history of all charge-related changes relating to the booking, including an entry each time a Send booking email is sent - clicking +More to view the sent booking email.