A practice’s needs and concerns can stack up
What’s the trade-off for Dr. Ben’s credit card dilemma?
Ben added yet another piece to the enormous castle he and his son were building. Jonathan scooted around to see the other side and knocked down the eastern battlement. “Oh, shoot!”
“That’s okay,” Ben assured him. “We’ll build it again. The building is the fun part anyway.”
Carmen agreed, admiring the turrets. “That’s true of so much in life, isn’t it?”
Ben smiled. “So, what did you decide about your credit card system? Were you able to negotiate a better rate?”
“Not yet. The bank where we have our merchant account doesn’t seem to feel that we’re big enough to be bothered with,” Carmen grumbled. “Speaking of building. I’m going to do some comparison shopping, but I think I might just have to wait till next year to get much of an improvement in the fees.”
“It is always based on volume,” Ben agreed, placing a block for a drawbridge. “I’m concerned about that for the practice, too. Manual processing can cost more than swiping, too, in addition to the possibility of errors.”
“Do you think errors really happen much?” Carmen asked.
“I don’t know about our office, but I read some startling statistics recently,” Ben said. “7.8 percent of recurring transactions are declined. That’s $780 for every $10,000 in transactions. And for that same $10,000 in manual transactions, you can expect another $15 lost just from address verification failures. If we do that every month, the amount we lose could pay for Jonathan’s college tuition by the time he graduates high school.”
“The fact that we have both a POS system and manual posting and recurring transactions also makes me wonder if we’re completely PCI compliant. Sending out paper bills and then taking the payment information by phone might not be completely correct — and those bills can cost $1.61 apiece, since I’m throwing statistics at you.”
“Never mind the bills,” Carmen said. “The fines for being out of compliance can run you $25,000 a month. That’s high priority.”
“So I’m looking into solutions, but integrating and automating everything is going to be expensive. The POS system is separate from everything else in the office, so we might have to make changes there, too. And that’s all in addition to the fees.”
“It’s like when we first started our businesses. We used to have to run the numbers every time to make decisions. Now, we’re established, so we know what we’re doing most of the time. When something new comes up, though, we still have to run the numbers.”
Jonathan stood and stretched up to add one more block to the top of a tower and it rocked, tipped, and crashed. After a moment of stunned silence, the little boy laughed, so Ben joined in.
Building often is the fun part, he thought.