How to Take Payments at Your Healthcare Practice
Whether you’re a professional in physical or mental health, the easier it is for your patients to pay for their treatment, the stronger your practice’s welcoming, people-centred image. The more it also keeps cash flowing fast for the business.
The way people pay is also changing. Global strategy consulting organisation, EY, found that contactless payments grew during the pandemic, while Mastercard discovered that 75% of transactions with their cards across Europe are now contactless. Mastercard also highlighted that Ireland is leading the way with permanent limit changes on these payments to make it easier for people to pay. The change across the country has seen the limit rise to €50 from €30.
There’s a clear shift towards the contactless method, but everyone has their own payment preferences, so offering flexibility could be key.
How to take payments at your medical practice
With that flexible approach in mind, there are a number of ways to take payments at your medical practice. There will be occasions where one solution isn’t appropriate for a certain patient or in a certain scenario, so all of the options below can be mixed and matched to build the perfect setup.
Before the appointment
You can improve customer experience and reduce waiting times by encouraging patients to fill out any paperwork, arrange appointments and pay for treatment before they even set foot in your practice. Solutions such as Appointedd can help your patients book online and pay in a way they feel comfortable with. This can plug into your practice’s website, or any custom platform you may use, before connecting your payment provider. For the patient, paying up front becomes straightforward and stress-free.
A sleek, eye-catching card machine positioned at your front desk encourages patients to pay before or after their appointment, (but importantly) whilst in your practice. There are a few ways to organise your setup:
- Free-standing card readers that connect wirelessly to point-of-sale software on your iPad or computer
- Card readers accompanied by a dock to keep them stable and in-position
A stand that transforms your iPad into a full point-of-sale
In your consultation room
If you’re an independent practitioner without a reception area, or simply want efficiency, a wireless, pocket-size card reader enables you to accept contactless, chip + PIN and mobile payments from behind your desk. You hold the card reader, the patient inserts or taps their card, payment made. The point-of-sale comes right to the patient.
After the appointment
In some cases, it might be appropriate to collect payment after a patient has visited your practice. Here are two ways to do this effectively:
Use an online invoicing system that lets you create, customise, send and track invoices from one simple dashboard (ideally, for free).
Download virtual terminal software that allows you to take payments remotely — simply call your patients and enter their card details.
Keeping your patients’ payment data safe
Naturally, keeping your patients’ data safe is part and parcel of being a trusted service provider, and the payment system you choose should be compliant. The CQC outlines what’s expected in this short post.*
All medical practitioners should seek a payment provider who acts as the merchant of record. This is the organisation or platform that shoulders responsibility for your PCI compliance by handling assessors, SAQ requirements and audits. They should also be EMV compliant and provide industry-leading encryption that goes over and above to protect your patients’ details.
It’s important that dentists, GPs, therapists and other care providers get paid for the work they do. Your practice may well be your financial lifeline, and it shouldn’t be denied a healthy and consistent cash flow. Building a versatile payment system to suit your patients’ needs is a fast and affordable way to do it.
*Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Please consult a legal representative or a qualified healthcare consultant for any questions regarding detailed data protection legislation for medical practices.