Help Guide
Principal Controlling Officer and Know Your Customer
Updated: August 26, 2021
Posted: March 14, 2021

Principal Controlling Officer (PCO)

The principal of a corporation or charity is a person who has been authorized by the governing body of that organization to act on its behalf during any legal or tax matters that may arise. In practice this means a person who can sign documents that affect the charity, and the signature is binding.

A PCO may be an officer of the charity, such as president, vice president, founder, executive director, or a member of the board that has authority to act on behalf of the charity.

A charity may have more than one controlling officer, but for purposes of your GiveDirect account, only one PCO submission is required.

Why Do We Need To Collect Principal Controlling Officer Information?

know your customer
Since we process payments on your behalf, our regulators and financial partners require us to perform identity verification. The collection of this information is intended to promote transparency and prevent individuals from using complex company structures to hide terrorist financing, money laundering, tax evasion, and other financial crimes. Identity verification requirements are now standard within the financial industry, including all payment processors.

GiveDirect will submit the PCO information to our financial partners for validation purposes only. GiveDirect does not store your sensitive information.

We are required to collect PCO information as part of a larger set of financial regulations called Know Your Customer.

What is Know Your Customer (KYC)?

Know Your Customer (KYC) is what businesses do to verify the identity of their clients.

Why is KYC important?

KYC procedures ensure our customers are real and that they are not involved in illegal activities. KYC policies are governed by the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and federal anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. KYC policies have evolved into an important tool to combat illegal transactions through financial institutions. KYC allows companies to protect themselves by ensuring that they are doing business legally and with legitimate entities, and it also protects the individuals who might otherwise be harmed by financial crime.

KYC procedures start by simply collecting basic data and information about our customers -- information such as names, social security numbers, birthdays, addresses, etc.

Once this basic data is collected, the information is compared to lists of individuals that are known for corruption, on a list of sanctions, suspected of being involved with a crime, or at a high risk of partaking in bribery or money laundering.

Proving One's Identity

know your customer
Generally, you may simply provide the required PCO information that we ask for in your Account Profile. However, if AML or KYC checks return a "flag", additional documentation may be required before we can clear your account for payment processing.

If your PCO is asked to submit documentation of identity, acceptable forms of personal identification are:
  • Passport
  • Driver license or State issued ID card
  • Resident permit ID / U.S. Green Card / U.S. visa card
  • Birth Certificate
Acceptable charity identification:
  • 501(c)(3) letter

How To Submit PCO -- Current GiveDirect Clients

  • To submit PCO information, go to your Account Profile area in the Control Panel.

  • Click on the Principal Controlling Officer tab and complete the form.
Account Profile
how to submit PCO

How To Submit PCO -- ABC members not signed up for GiveDirect

America's Best Charities (ABC) members have a profile page on the ABC web site at The profile page includes the option to make a donation. To enable this option, the charity must submit the PCO information required to establish credit card processing through GiveDirect.

ABC members who are not already GiveDirect clients may submit the information in one of three ways.
  1. Online application: Complete the GiveDirect application online. A pre-filled application is available for ABC members. Complete the application now.
  2. Secure PDF form: Log on to the ABC Online Portfolio. Click the GiveDirect tab. Click PCO. Complete the writable PDF form and submit.
  3. Call ABC: Call your ABC or Maguire/Maguire account manager who can take your PCO information over the phone. Call (415) 925-2600.