In this day and age, most businesses find it beneficial to accept credit cards. But for cosmetic and plastic surgeons, it’s practically a necessity. From co-payments to needing or wanting procedures that aren’t necessarily covered by insurance, your clients turn to credit cards to pay. As a cosmetic or plastic surgeon, being able to accept your client’s credit or debit card can be the difference between getting their business or losing it to another practice.
Maybe you’re new to taking credit cards, or maybe you’re already processing cards and think you’re paying too much, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a better solution. Whatever the case, we’ve got the answers you need to help you choose the right credit card processing company for your plastic surgery practice.
- Credit Card Processing Basics
- What’s different for plastic and cosmetic surgeons?
- How do new EMV chip cards factor in?
- Can CardFellow help my practice get the best processing solution?
Credit Card Processing Basics
To understand how to get the best deal on credit card processing, you’ll need to know the basics. There are three components of processing costs: interchange, assessments, and markup.
Interchange is the largest component. Interchange rates and fees are set by the banks that issue credit cards, and are non-negotiable. Assessment fees are set by the card brands (Visa, MasterCard) and are non-negotiable. Markup is what you pay to your processor to handle the transaction for you. Markup is negotiable, and is where you may be able to save money on your processing.
What’s different for plastic and cosmetic surgeons?
While many of the basics of credit card processing are the same across a variety of industries, there are a few key differences for taking credit cards at medical offices.
Health Financing Cards
Some consumers choose to pay with health care financing cards, such as CareCredit. Your processor may be able to help you get set up to accept CareCredit and other types of health financing cards for your clients who can’t or don’t want to use traditional credit cards.
Another big difference for plastic and cosmetic surgeons is equipment. Since you’re taking payments at your practice, clients don’t expect to see fancy credit card machines or point-of-sale systems like they’re used to in stores.
You can take advantage of options like virtual terminals, which allow you to securely accept credit cards from any computer with an internet connection. The virtual terminal is ‘hosted’ by your credit card processor, meaning you don’t store card data on your computer, protecting both you and your clients. Depending on the virtual terminal, you may be able to connect USB or Bluetooth card readers. Using readers can help you take advantage of swiped card fees (which are often lower than the fees for cards that you enter by hand.)
Optionally, you can even add a PIN pad for customers to enter their PIN on debit transactions.
American Express Costs
Another difference is in the rates available at the interchange level for American Express cards. Remember, your processor doesn’t control interchange. However, there are multiple interchange categories, and some rates are lower depending on factors like the type of business. CardFellow certified quote provider Helcim details the American Express interchange rates for healthcare businesses using American Express’s new OptBlue pricing. In this snippet, you can see an example of the interchange cost for healthcare businesses:
This is much lower than the 3.5% many businesses are used to seeing from American Express’s previous rates. If you’re not currently on American Express’s OptBlue pricing, consider asking your processor if they can get you on it. Here are 5 reasons to ask for OptBlue pricing.
How do new EMV chip cards factor in?
EMV cards, the new ones with the chips on the front, are a more secure credit card than traditional magnetic stripe. For businesses that swipe credit cards in person, it’s important to have an EMV-capable credit card terminal. Otherwise, your business is liable for any fraudulent transactions.
If you don’t use a dedicated credit card machine, but instead process cards using your computer as a virtual terminal, you may still be able to run EMV chip cards by using new technologies like the Magtek’s EMV card reader. Note that the Magtek reader is not yet available, but is slated for a December 2015 release. Read more about taking EMV chip cards with a virtual terminal.
Can CardFellow help my practice get the best processing solution?
In fact, one of the certified quote providers in the CardFellow marketplace is officially endorsed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons as a preferred partner. You can sign up for a free CardFellow account in just a few minutes and get instant quotes for taking credit cards at your practice.
All certified quotes available through the CardFellow system benefit from interchange plus pricing with true pass-through, a lifetime rate lock, no cancellation fees, and more. The average business saves 40% on their credit card processing costs. Sign up today to see how much you could save.