Designating a Beneficiary

In some situations, a merchant may want their proceeds to benefit someone else - another person, organization, or business. Since WePay requires that money goes to the legal owner of a merchant account, sending money elsewhere requires changing the financial owner through WePay’s membership API.

The membership API allows platforms to manage which users have access to an account, and in what role. Platforms can use this to:

  • Transfer control of an account
  • Add or remove moderators from an account
  • Designate a beneficiary of an account

Changing the Financial Owner


Changing the financial owner must follow very specific rules to maintain compliance with card network and government rules. For that reason, use of this API requires permission from WePay. Contact us if the use cases here apply to your business.

The most common use of the membership API is when an organizer sets up a fundraising campaign on behalf of a beneficiary. For example:

  • A friend raises money for someone else’s medical expenses
  • A parent raises money for a school organization

In these situations and others, changing the financial owner is acceptable as long as the change is made before any funds have been withdrawn.

General Rules

Concerning beneficiaries, the basic policy is that a payer cannot be confused about who they paid. Payers thinking they donated to a campaign for cancer awareness would not expect the funds to be paid to a political campaign.

In addition to this policy, the rules for changing the financial owner are as follows:

  • Once settlements have begun, financial ownership cannot be changed.
  • A request to change financial owner must be sent with the current financial owner’s access token.
  • As a security precaution, the existing owner will receive and email advising them of the change.
  • The new owner must have confirmed their email and set a password before they can become owners (they must have state='registered').
  • There can only be one owner. Adding a new one automatically turns the existing owner into a moderator.
  • Changing owner removes any previously defined settlement info.
  • The 30 day window from first payment to KYC is unchanged by financial owner changes. (If the owner changes on day 29, they have ONE day to provide KYC and settlement information.)
  • Once the owner has changed, the new owner’s access token must be used on all API requests.