Looking to save money on your practice's credit card transactions? Jennifer Nieto of Best Card
has some spot-on advice. Best Card
has nearly 2,000 dental practices using their services throughout the U.S., and dental practices have saved an average of $1,060 annually (a 23 percent savings) over their prior processor. Feel free to call Best Card (877-739-3952), the endorsed credit card processor for the WSDA, if you have questions about a card you are running or want to review your rates.
1. Swiped debit transactions are always the least expensive (as low as 0.51 percent)
Of debit cards, those issued by major banks (with over $10 billion in assets) that are federally regulated will yield the lowest rate. Some examples of commonly used regulated banks include:
a. Bank of America
b. Chase Bank
d. First National Bank
f. RBS (US Subsidiaries)
g. U.S. Bank
h. Wells Fargo
2. A swiped transaction will usually be less expensive than a keyed transaction for the same card
Anytime a transaction must be keyed it is important to enter AVS (Address Verification System) information to get the lowest possible rate on processing that card:
a. For ‘Address’ enter only the numbers from the cardholder’s billing street address
b. For ‘Zip Code’ enter only the cardholder’s 5-digit billing zip code
3. Rewards cards are the most expensive to process
Unfortunately, per Visa/Mastercard regulation, no merchant can turn down a credit card payment simply because it is a rewards card. All valid credit cards must be accepted. The best option may be to encourage the use of other card types and hope that patients will understand the impact these higher processing costs have on your business. Note: it is also illegal in many states (CA, CO, CT, FL, KS, ME, MA, OK, TX, UT) to add surcharges for processing fees. And in those state where surcharges are allowed, there is an exhaustive procedure which you must follow, which starts with giving Visa
each a 30-day notification of intent to surcharge.
4. Debit Cards are the least expensive to process
Encourage debit card use! Offices are now seeing more Flex Spending Cards, which often run as unregulated debit. Some patients do not carry these cards if another family member uses it more frequently. If you expect a patient to return in the near future, it may be beneficial to wait and process the payment as a swiped transaction on the future appointment date.
5. Insurance payments by credit card often process at a higher rate
If receiving insurance claim payments by mail or e-mail, you may notice that some feature a one-time-use credit card number linked to a pre-loaded claim account. Try calling the insurance company to request payment via check as the preferred payment for “bookkeeping reasons.” Some companies will send checks instead of card payments, but only upon request. These cards are often set up to run as rewards or corporate cards. Unfortunately, per Visa/MasterCard regulation, you do have to accept this form of payment should they decline to send checks instead.
6. Void transactions (rather than refunding) when possible
Voids can only be completed during the same day and same batch as the original transaction, and this action cannot be performed once a batch is closed. This is especially important if a cardholder “changes their mind” about which card to use. Unlike many processors, Best Card does not charge fees for refund transactions, however, fees are charged for any sale that processes completely. You do not pay any fees on a voided transaction.
Jennifer Nieto is president of RJ Card Processing Inc. (d/b/a Best Card). Jennifer was CPA and director of finance for Colorado Dental Association, and an FDIC Bank Examiner. Best Card offers excellent rates and customer service to dental practices coast-to-coast.