Guidelines for Accepting Contactless Payment

Howard Goldstein, Merchant Advocate

In this difficult time we are all going through, my colleagues and I have been talking with so many dentists who are asking about the options for processing contactless payments. The goal of contactless payments is to put the patients’ minds at ease by not requiring the exchange of credit cards between patients and the dental staff, and eliminating the need for the patient to touch a publicly used surface like a credit card terminal.

Not all credit card terminals are capable of processing contactless payments. Please reach out to Merchant Advocate for guidance to determine if your terminal is capable of processing NFC transactions. If it is not, I can assist in finding out if your current provider has contactless terminal options. Unfortunately, some providers have still not updated their technology to be able to process these types of transactions. If this is the case, I can make recommendations for providers that can.

Card Not Present transactions are naturally contactless for the patients. These types of transactions are performed when a patient provides their credit card number over the phone, when they pay you online, or via text to pay.

  • Payments over the phone — When a patient calls the office to provide the card number over the phone, one of your team members manually enters it into the credit card terminal or an online virtual terminal if your processor has that capability.
  • Online payments via a Hosted Payment Page — Another method of card not present transactions allows your patients to directly pay you online by clicking on a link to a secure hosted payment page. Again, not all processors have this capability so please reach out if you are interested in learning more about this particular method of  payment. Many of our practices utilizing this feature are choosing to send their patients a link to their payment website in an email before or after the procedures so payments are not handled in the office.
  • Text to Pay — The last form of card not present transactions enables the office to send  patients a link to a payment page via a text message. Please note some services that provide this feature charge a high premium to do so. Please allow us to provide you with sound advice so you understand the financial impact on your practice’s bottom line as well as alternative text to pay options.

Important Note

Due to fraud within the credit card processing industry being much higher with card not present (CNP) transactions, these transactions can be .30 percent to more than 1.00 percent higher than card present transactions with the same card. That equates to $300 to $1,000 more per every $100,000 you process if you choose to accept these CNP methods. The key to minimizing this higher rate is to make sure you are on the proper pricing program. I am happy to advise you regarding this issue.

You must also make sure you are entering the proper billing address and zip code to avoid another type of procedural surcharge for card not present transactions. This is going to be even more important later in the year when the hard cost of a particular type of procedural surcharge is being raised by .85 percent! This is the single largest hard cost increase we have ever seen and the first time this particular procedural surcharge rate has been increased.  We predict this increase will cost American merchants tens of millions of dollars in the coming years.

Please reach out to Merchant Advocate to discuss any of these topics if you have questions or concerns.