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3 Things To Ask When Selecting A Merchant Service Provider

Choosing the right Merchant Services Provider can be a daunting task. To help make things a bit easier we wanted to give you a list of topics you should cover with anyone you are talking to about purchasing merchant services. We talked to Sahand Moussavi, PayConnect Portfolio Manager at DentalXChange and asked him “What are the top three things people should look for when selecting a Merchant Service Provider?”

He gave us 4, because he’s cool like that. 

1. Features & Capabilities: “Making sure your merchant service provider has the technical capabilities that suits your office is crucial. It is not just simply about processing a credit card anymore. Many other features are now available to help run your business more efficiently. Some of these capabilities including emailing receipts, automated recurring transactions, credit score checks, electronic signature capabilities and EMV Chip transactions. Also, your provider should also be integrated with other software and companies, combining the best of both worlds. Regarding dental practices in particular, they should definitely choose a provider that has the ability to do Automated Recurring Transactions & credit score checks. Dental offices set many of their patients up on payment plans, so a recurring billing service plus a credit check service is crucial to ensure you can extend credit at a low risk.”

2. Customer Service: “Customer Service is often overlooked in merchant services, but it is important to choose a provider that has personal customer service and doesn’t force you to get your support from an automated service. Customer service begins right when you sign the contract. Since ALL merchant service providers are essentially a middleman between the merchant and the card brands (Visa, MasterCard, etc.), transparency is very important. A clear and easy to read merchant processing application is a good sign that the service will be good. It is important to have access to 24/7 live support, as dealing with financial transitions can sometimes be an urgent matter. Having personalized customer service is very helpful as a team that is familiar with your account and how it’s set up will make it much less likely for mistakes, and will streamline any changes you want to make.”

3. Pricing: “Pricing is another important factor when it comes to deciding your merchant provider. You want to make sure that the provider offers various pricing models. Different business types use various processing methods and some pricing models will work better for you than others. The card brands charge fees themselves, called Interchange Fees. These fees vary depending on business types as well, so you want to make sure your business is placed in the right category with your provider so you’re getting charged the right fees. Also, your merchant processing application should display any possible fee/rate/charge you might encounter. So once again, make sure your application shows everything when it comes to fees and rates.”

4. PCI & Security Standards: “Being a merchant, you are going to deal with sensitive card information. It is imperative you check the system and training you have been provided are in accordance with Payment Card Industry Rules (PCI). You should ask your provider right away if they are compliant with PCI rules and make sure you are familiar with how their system treats sensitive data. All merchant service providers are required to become PCI Compliant. PCI Compliant Level 1 is the highest level of PCI privacy and security recognized by the PCI Security Standards Council and you want to use a provider who has reached this level.”

If you have any other questions or would like to have your current Merchant Account looked at, give us a call at (800) 576-6412 ext. 473. Sahand, or one of our other PayConnect representatives will make sure you are not being over charged and you are getting the most out of your merchant services.

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The Need For Credit

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In today’s economic climate, the need for dental practices to extend credit to prospective patients is a necessity. With the rising cost of healthcare across the board, most patients just cannot afford to pay for their treatment in one lump sum. So they will look for a dental practice that will extend them credit to pay over time.

Unfortunately, according to a report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development, “56% of consumers have subprime credit scores. Meaning they are unable to take advantage of the best, or even average interest rates if they need to borrow money.” So where does that leave your practice? Do you blindly extend credit on faith, hoping you’ll eventually see your return?

The good news is you don’t have to with our new Patient Credit Score Services.

This innovative service provides you and your staff with the financial data needed for making in-house credit decisions. Powered by TransUnion, you’ll get a synthesized report featuring a FICO score and the healthcare-specific metrics you need to get a more complete picture of your patient’s financial situation, right at the point of service.
Here are the great ways this service is designed to help make better in-house decisions:

  • Improve financial counseling with easy to read Decision Messages, which help staff with in-office credit determinations.
  • Expedite the registration process and improve revenue recovery through self-reported data that is quickly verified.
  • Reduce fraud and identity theft through five standard alert messages, including Red Flags.
  • Review the patient’s available credit and TransUnion New Account score, which are compared against pre-set thresholds to help optimize your collections processes.
  • Improve your charity care determination process and reduce bad debt by comparing the patient’s Federal Poverty Level (FPL) % estimate, which is compared against financial aid thresholds.
  • Makes soft inquiry on a patient’s credit, which will not affect their credit score.

Patient Credit Score Services will help your practice make objective, ability-to-pay decisions and ultimately help you collect on services rendered.

Improve your financial counseling and collection with DentalXChange!

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What Does That Fee Mean Anyway?

Accepting credit cards in your office is almost essential for the convenience of your patients.  In a day when wallets are more likely to carry debit and credit cards than they are to carry cash, it would be hard-pressed to find a dental office that does not accept credit or debit cards.  How do you choose the perfect merchant processor for your office?

Rewards Credit Cards Like These Often Have Less Favorable Rates

Now what do you do when you’re shopping around for a merchant processor?  Or, what do you do when you have many sales representatives knocking on your door for your business with hugely attractive rates?  For many business owners, finding a merchant processor can be a very daunting and confusing task.  With all these terms flying around like “tiered pricing,” “interchange fees,” “qualified rate” and “mid-qualified rate,” how do you know what they are and what they mean for your overall merchant services bill?  For example, did you know that swiping airline rewards cards and department store rewards cards usually carry a less favorable rate than the use of regular Visa and MasterCard?

We figured our clients could use a crash course on the terms they see.   Here’s a breakdown of the key terms:

Qualified Rate:

This is usually the most favorable rate and involves a regular consumer credit card, meaning a non-rewards cards.

Mid-Qualified Rate:

The mid-qualified rate usually refers to rewards cards and airlines cards.

Non-Qualified Rate:

This usually pertains to payments made while the card is not present, for example, payment made over the phone, on the internet, or automatic payments, as well as business cards.

You can usually choose between a physical (left) and virtual (right) terminal

Some other factors, like the type of card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Debit, Rewards) also plays into effect the qualification of the card.

In general, PIN-based transactions cost retailers significantly less money, so it may be in your best interest to automatically prompt patients to enter a pin on the terminal where they swipe their cards rather than complete a signature-based transaction.

Offices might wonder why the merchant charges you a percentage for swiping a credit card in the first place.  The reason for this is that the merchant has to pay the issuer of the credit card (the cardholder’s bank) to compensate the issuer for their risk in accepting, carrying, and collecting cardholder charges.  These are called interchange fees.  To make up for these fees the merchant is charged, they in turn charge you, the business owner a fees in their tiered pricing.

Other terms common on a merchant bill: equipment leasing fees (do you wonder if your’s is too high?), monthly maintenance fees, set-up fees, programming fees, and the list goes on!!

Allow us us analyze a recent statement to determine your potential savings with PayConnect. We can decipher even the most complex statement and provide you with a true, apples-to-apples comparison.  Give us a call at 800-576-6412 x 467 and send us a merchant statement for your free rate analysis.  Even if you’re stuck in a contract, our friendly specialists can go over the fees you’re being charged, so you can make a more informed decision the next time around.

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