Why low-cost credit card processing may actually cost more

Low–cost credit card processing services often offer discount rates or no surcharges up front. Sounds good, right?

When shopping for a payment solution for your dental practice, make sure you understand what's really going on with card processing fees. You may discover that initially paying less actually means paying more in the future.

Here's why cheap credit card processing may not be the best solution for your practice.

Payment processing fees vary widely
Payment processing fees are difficult to compare because there are so many different classifications for them. Multiple types of fees, based on many factors, may apply to every transaction. Interchange fees and processing fees are a combination of a percentage of the transaction plus a flat amount per transaction. These fees are in addition to any contract expenses you may also have to pay.

Processing fees and their structures can be hidden, making them difficult to determine in a discount rate scenario. As a result, controlling these fees and noting if they rise or fall over time is almost impossible for the average dental office. What looks like a discount rate or a good deal in the beginning may prove to be costly after a few months of transactions.

In addition to transaction fees that are typically fixed, incidental fees may be added such as monthly recurring fees, monthly minimum charges, one–time fees, contract change or exit fees, and more.

More payment methods are available
With the proliferation of payment apps, mobile wallets and credit/debit cards, today's consumers are ditching cash and checkbooks entirely and paying with their cards and their phones instead.

Make sure your payment processing solution can accept multiple forms of payment. A cheap service may not offer the payment options your patients want to use.

Also, be aware that different forms of payment come with different costs. For example, in–person transactions versus ‘card not present’ transactions (like online payments or phone order payments) are subject to different interchange rates. Find out if the ‘one low rate’ offered covers a range of payment types, and which payment types come with additional expenses.

Bundled rates may not be the best rates for you
Ask the credit card processor to explain in detail what you're getting for the quoted price. Does the price include different types of debit and credit cards? If you're paying a bundled rate you may not be receiving the optimum interchange rates.

Cheap usually means no frills
Cheap credit card processing services are often no frills, which might mean no support for chip-enabled EMV cards and no customer service.

Data security and fraud prevention are vital to your dental practice, so look for a solution where these interests are addressed with your payment processing. You should also find out if customer service is included in the solution and if you can reach a service representative during your office hours.

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* This document was written and prepared by Vantiv Integrated Payments. Henry Schein, Inc. and its affiliates (‘HSI’) did not contribute to the writing or research and make no independent assessment of the content and descriptions provided by Vantiv.

Author: Vantiv Integrated Payments
Published: 12/14/2017
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