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Accepting credit card payments is a necessary part of business even in the behavioral health field. Your business might have a mix of clients including those who pay a co-payment, those who pay out-of-pocket, or those who may never pay you directly. No matter what the mix, you want to provide an exceptional client experience and that means accepting credit cards.

It may seem overwhelming when choosing a credit card processor because no two companies are the same and doing an apples-to-apples comparison can feel impossible. Here, we’ll break down what to look for and what questions to ask so you can make an informed decision that is best for your behavioral health practice.

Cost Considerations

No doubt, practices want to make the most economically efficient decision when it comes to selecting a credit card processor. It’s simple, right? Find the lowest rate and you’ll save your practice money. Not so fast. Sometimes rates are advertised in a way that could be misleading. For example, they may advertise a rate that only applies to select transactions. Or sometimes rates vary based on how the card is accepted.

Merchant processing companies will use different combinations of rates and fees to put together pricing proposals that make them look advantageous. However, when the monthly bill arrives, you might be surprised to find that there are other costs that you hadn’t factored in when weighing your decision.

Pro tip: Compare the TOTAL costs you’ll be paying, not just the transaction rate.

There are many different types of fees you might see on your bill. For example, you may see fees for chargebacks or retrievals, cancellations, paper statements, account maintenance, monthly minimums, and the list goes on. There are unlimited ways these fees will be named or packaged, which is why it’s critical to inquire about them up front and evaluate the total cost you’ll be paying each month after all fees and transaction rates are added up.

Disclosure and transparency should be part of your decision criteria, as well. Reputable organizations will not try to hide their costs.

Feature Considerations

Your total monthly costs will absolutely influence your final decision, but also be careful not to assume that all credit card processing solutions are created equal. They’re not. Depending on your practice, certain features might be more valuable than others. It’s important to evaluate what these features are worth to you and factor that into your cost/benefit equation.

  • Integration: Are you adding another standalone system to the list of tools your practice has to use each day? Will it change your workflow and create more work for your staff? Will it create more risk for payment processing mistakes? These are incredibly important questions to think about. A credit card processing system that is integrated into your EHR is a sure way to save time and reduce errors, as well as provide a more seamless experience for your clients that wish to pay their bills online.
  • Customer Service: This should be a major consideration in your final decision. It’s difficult to put a hard value on customer service. However, think about when you have a problem with a payment, a question about your bill, or a service issue. You want to partner with a credit card vendor that is available to help when you need them. Ask a lot of questions and get clarity in this area before signing your contract and be comfortable with the answers you are given.
  • Reporting Features: What kind of reports will you need to manage your business? What types of credit card reporting do they offer?
  • Security: Identity fraud was responsible for around $56 billion in losses to consumers in 2020. Make sure your processor is PCI DSS compliant—which applies to any entity that stores and/or transmits cardholder data—and make sure they are keeping you compliant too. It’s important to select a credit card merchant that utilizes best practices in data encryption. Ask questions around the likelihood of fraud and/or server issues and understand what financial coverage is available in case of a data breach.

Valant’s Integrated Credit Card Processing Solution

Valant’s Behavioral Health EHR offers integrated credit card processing functionality that will save your practice time, reduce payment errors, and provide an exceptional online bill-pay experience for your clients.

And with our transparent pricing model, we make it easy to understand what your total monthly cost would be so you can feel confident in your decision.

See how Valant’s Behavioral Health EHR, including the integrated credit card processing functionality, can improve the efficiency of your practice.