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5 Best Practices for Payment Processing for Dental Practices
Here are five easy ways to increase case acceptance and revenue by making it easier for your patients to pay for their dental care.
Ask any dentist or DSO executive what’s the number one reason that patients don’t move forward with treatment, and they’ll tell you that it comes down to cost.
Here are five best practices for payment processing that will increase case acceptance and revenue by making it easier for patients to pay for their dental care.
1. Enable contactless payments, mobile pay, and other payment options
The pandemic changed how people interact. They don’t want to stand close to people in a checkout line and they don’t want to touch a keypad. Contactless payments let people tap the terminal with their card - or pay their dental bill with a mobile phone, smartwatch, or online.
This isn’t new technology. Australia and Canada started using contactless payment a decade ago. COVID fast-tracked its adoption in the United States.
It’s easy to add this technology to your dental practice. Simplifeye offers a free wireless terminal that lets people pay by tapping, sliding, or inserting their card from anywhere in the office - even chairside. It accepts credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and ACH, to process payments directly from the patient’s bank account just like PayPal and Venmo.
Plus, Simplifeye offers mobile pay and online payment options, which lets practices text and/or email invoices to the patient. This is especially helpful if the practice requires a payment to hold the appointment. It’s also helpful if the patient has a monthly payment plan. Last, mobile pay makes it easy to collect the patient portion of a bill after the insurance reconciliation. The practice can simply click a few buttons to send a text message or email to patients so they know how much is their responsibility and gives them the payment link right there in the message.
2. Keep patients’ credit cards on file - and a secondary method of payment
Think of how you shop. If you had to enter your credit card number every time you purchased something from Amazon, would you buy as much as you do?
Amazon revolutionized how people think about shopping. It eliminated the friction points of having to enter a credit card number every time. Your practice can make it just as easy for your patients to pay. Simplifeye Payments is one option that securely keeps the patient’s credit card on file, and can even have a second form of payment on file if desired. It’s encrypted, tokenized, PCI-compliant, and HIPAA-compliant to keep the financial information secure.
Think how nice it would be to simply ask your patients, “Would you like to use the card you already have on file with us?” instead of requiring them to dig into their wallet or purse.
3. Offer cash discounts and save on credit card processing fees
It’s becoming mainstream to see signs at medical, dermatology, and psychology practices offering a “cash discount” to anyone who decides to pay by cash or check. Patients still have the option to pay via credit card, but a credit card processing service fee is automatically calculated and included on the credit card receipt.
This is nothing new. Check out the pricing at your gas station the next time you head to the pump. The price on the sign typically is the price if paying by cash or debit card, and if you pay via credit card, it’s a few pennies more.
Now dental practices are implementing this, too. It’s completely legal in all 50 states and is fully transparent to the consumer.
Simplifeye offers practices the ability to customize how they want to handle credit card processing fees. They can continue to pay for the fees themselves or they can do what many other healthcare practices are now doing and pass along the service fees. Or they can even do a hybrid approach where the practice can pass along the credit card processing fee anytime the payment is made out of the office, such as payments for monthly plans and invoices.
An oral surgery group with three practices implemented SimplyZero and is now saving $47,000 a year a month on credit card processing fees.
4. Automate monthly payment plans for dental services
Have you noticed that Amazon introduced monthly payment plan options on the product detail page and on orders over $50?
Amazon knows their shoppers may not be able to pay $500 right now, but they may be able to pay $250 for two months, or $100 a month for five months.
The same is true in dentistry. Most people do not have the ability to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for the treatment they need right now. You can increase case acceptance by offering the option of a monthly payment plan.
There are healthcare credit card services that you can offer your patients, but your practice will pay a fee - and your patients will pay APR fees, which can make the care they need even more expensive.
Instead, consider offering monthly payment plans to patients whose credit scores make them a good fit for your practice - such as 680 or above. Simplifeye has soft credit checks built into its payment processing system and can give a thumbs up or thumbs down to make it easy to see if the patient in the chair meets your requirements.
You can set the requirements for the down payment, the number of payments, and the monthly payment. Then it automatically sends text and email payment reminders to your patients to pay. It will even automatically send follow-ups for missed payments - and flag it for the front office.
5. Integrate patient payments with Eaglesoft, Open Dental, Dentrix, and Dentrix Enterprise
Ask your practice manager what would make her life easier and she’ll tell you anything that saves her team time.
One of the first questions practice managers ask about payment processing is “Does it integrate with my practice management software?”
Simplifeye’s payment processing solution integrates with Eaglesoft, Open Dental, Dentrix, and Dentrix Enterprise. That means it links in real-time to the practice management software and reads/writes back to the patient record.
That reduces the risk of human error and the time it used to take to enter it manually in multiple places.
The Simplifeye dashboard pulls the amount due from the patient ledger, the patient pays that amount, and the successful transaction automatically writes back to the practice management system.
It also updates refunds. Practice managers no longer need to go through a mountain of receipts and transaction numbers to find the patient record. They can simply type in the patient’s name, pull up the list of all the payments, select the one that needs a partial or full refund, and send it right back to the card that was used to make the original payment - and immediately update the patient’s record in the practice management system.
Any practice that is still writing checks to issue refunds will love this streamlined refund process!
Make dental practice revenue cycle management easy
Your dentists spend valuable time diagnosing conditions and it’s frustrating when patients don’t move forward with treatment. By making it easier for patients to pay for the services they need, you’re helping their quality of life, building your reputation as a community dentist, and collecting more revenue so you can continue to grow your practice.
As you’re implementing best practices to increase case acceptance, select a payment processor that creates a smooth, modern, and frictionless experience for both your patients and your team.
Whether you’re a single practice or a multi-location dental group, ensure it’s easy for administrators to access the data in one location, run reports, and export files including line-item transactions and monthly statements anytime they want.
If you’re currently waiting for end-of-the-month statements to be mailed to you, consider switching to a secure, cloud-based system that administrators can access from their phone, tablet, or laptop anytime they want.
That way, you’re never caught off guard. You’ll see the realized revenue (what’s been collected), the scheduled revenue (accounts receivable that includes any invoices and monthly payments that patients will pay during that time period), and outstanding revenue (missed payments).
To see how Simplifeye can help your dental practice or group with payment processing, schedule a customized demo at Simplifeye.com/payments.