To Swipe or Not to Swipe?
Credit card processing has an effect on a practice’s bottom line.
Now that Dr. Ben sees the potential problems with his credit card system, what is he going to do about it?
With their son down for a nap and the afternoon stretching out ahead of them, Dr. Ben Wilson thought Carmen might be in the mood to hear some sweet nothings from him, but he was mistaken.
“No way,” she said firmly. “You can talk about my eyes later. Right now I want to discuss credit cards. Don’t laugh! So often when you talk to me about your practice, I don’t really know what you’re talking about. But I know credit cards.”
“I bet most of the payments you take at the pizzeria are credit or debit cards.”
“You know it,” Carmen agreed. “We don’t take checks, and cash transactions are maybe 20% of the total. I know people who aren’t even accepting cash any more.”
“As you say, people are used to paying with plastic at a restaurant. We still get lots of checks, though,” Ben assured her. “Lots of cash for copays. Some of the major employers around here give their workers debit cards for their tax-deferred health savings accounts, and some of our patients use special healthcare credit cards, but it’s still a pretty mixed bag.”
Carmen nodded. “You were saying you have both POS sales and also some you have to post manually, too.”
“That’s right, and of course that’s an opening for errors. Glitches in the payment processing can lead to stress, distraction from patient care, and even losing patients. Declined payments can fall through the cracks and get overlooked for so long that they never get taken care of. Plus, I think there’s a psychological barrier in having to pull out a wallet.”
Carmen laughed at that. “Our customers are prepared for it, but yours may be thinking it’s all covered by insurance.”
“Right. And of course many of the items we sell at the counter are not. If a patient is going to pay out of pocket, he’ll add in nutritional supplements or something, but if there’s no immediate transaction, I think they’re less likely to open their wallets.”
“Sounds like an improvement in your credit card situation could actually improve your bottom line.”
Ben nodded slowly, holding his wife’s gaze. “I think it could.”
“You could be right,” Carmen said, leaning closer. “The question is, what are you going to do about it?”