Dental Office Merchant Services Decisions
Dental office merchant services are a necessity in the business of dentistry. Dentists and dental practices need a way to process credit card transactions. And did you know there are lots of options? It can be truly overwhelming. So, how do we know we have the best rates in town? And how do we know how to analyze our monthly statements? We have an expert in the field of credit card processing to help us.
This article is the last in a series of three. So, please be sure to follow the links back to read the first two! And then be sure to take a closer look at your business credit card statement this month. Perhaps with new insight and knowledge. And I know these three articles will definitely be of help to you. Now, let’s jump in and hear what our friend, Kent Nanke has to share with us!
Article #3 – How to Shop for Credit Card Processing: 10 Questions to Ask
Now that we’ve provided a little more depth on credit card transaction costs and pricing models, we thought it would be helpful to provide a list of 10 questions to ask when shopping for a trustworthy credit card processor:
Dental Office Merchant Services Question #1 – What Pricing Model Do You Recommend?
As mentioned in our credit card processing statement article, there are 3 common pricing models . Some are easier to hide fees than others. We believe Interchange Plus provides the most transparent pricing model. Be sure to ask what model any processor recommends and find out why.
Question #2 – What Will My Rates Be?
An interchange fee is attached to each transaction and is the primary cost of accepting credit card. It is a percentage of the transaction amount and is paid by you, through your merchant processor, to your customers issuing bank. Your new processing company should be able to give you a general idea of what their plus rates and mark-ups are. This is useful to know as you compare your options.
Question #3 – What Will My Monthly Non-Processing Fees Be?
Besides interchange covered in last month’s post, there are other basic costs of processing. Things like statement fees, Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance fees, and other regulatory fees. A flat fee program may be one that doesn’t have non-processing costs, but this typically means you’re paying for that in the flat percentage cost quoted. Your processor should be able to quote an amount for non-processing costs and they should be reasonable.
Dental Office Merchant Services Question #4 – What Equipment Do You Have and What Are Costs?
Credit card processing terminals can range from $100 – $500 or more depending on the capability. Reliable terminals should be upgradeable for the latest security and software updates. Be leery of companies presenting you with free terminal offers unless the offer is from a reliable source. You should also watch out for terminal equipment leases as they may require large penalties if you decide to cancel.
Question #5- How Quickly Will Funds From Credit Cards Be Deposited?
The industry standard is within two business days, but depending on the company you choose it could be longer. Reliable companies will transfer funds as quickly as possible and not hold your money. A good bench mark is to ask for next-day funding when a batch closes by a certain time during the previous day. That eases accounting for your practice.
Question #6 – Who Actually Is Handling My Processing?
There are literally thousands of sources that will sell you credit card processing. You can buy through the internet, from banks, through ISO (Independent Sales Organizations) or directly from the processing company. Understanding who will ultimately be the organization servicing your account and providing support is very important as not all service is equal. Ultimately it comes down to choosing a reliable company with the best service at a reasonable cost.
Question #7 – Will You Assist with PCI Compliance?
All processors are required to ensure their merchants are compliant with industry standards of the Payment Card Industry (PCI), otherwise known as PCI Compliance. These are usually handled through 3rd parties and can be difficult to complete. Ask your processor if they assist with your PCI compliance requirements and if they’ll help you avoid any non-compliance fees and penalties.
Dental Office Merchant Services Question #8 – Will You Send Me Your Credit Card Processing Agreement?
These can be wordy. After all, it’s money transferring between card associations, financial institutions and bank accounts. That said it’s important to review them to ensure you understand all the terms, conditions and costs and be sure it matches up to any savings comparison. You should also ask if the processor-controlled rates and fees will be consistent for as long as you process. If they won’t commit to that, it may be a red flag.
Dental Office Merchant Services Question #9 – Do You Integrate With Our Practice Management Software?
Some processors will have the capability to do that but you also have to be wary of becoming too tightly integrated. Many times, the processor will share in the proceeds with your practice management software provider. We’ve seen significant savings when you do not integrate. Many processors will have alternative options if they cannot integrate and it’s important to know what they can offer.
Dental Office Merchant Services Question #10 – What Other Processing Services Do You Offer?
Would you like to offer a web payment page? What about recurring payments and a way to look up all previous batches and transactions at your fingertips? Are gift cards something you’d like to offer to long-time patients? Is there a need for mobile or tablet-based processing? A good processor will provide solutions that meet your unique needs.
About the author:
Kent Nanke is the founder and owner of Purity Payment Solutions, the parent company of Dental Purity Pay. Kent has dedicated his 17-year payment industry career to helping healthcare offices make sense of merchant credit card processing needs and is focused on offering pure, transparent and honest processing with low rates and no long-term contracts. For specific questions on processing or to receive a no-obligation quote/comparison, call Kent directly at (515) 778-8995 or visit www.dentalpuritypay.com.