By Guest Writer – Tabitha Lugo, Shelley Renee Practice Consulting
Q: I have a quick question for you. We wanted to see if you can give some guidance or any resources regarding payment plans and specifically payment plan arrangement documents. For example, we have an Invisalign patient who wants a payment plan with some down-payment and then monthly payments. How do we put that in financial consent form? Do we keep credit cards on file?
A: Payment options for patients and owners have come a long way!
Practice owners are looking to increase treatment acceptance by offering convenient patient payment plans. What options can practice owners offer to patients that do not incur large merchant fees or extra labor costs to implement? One of our favorite new technologies for this is credit card vaulting.
Vaulting is the ability to hold credit cards on file. Credit card merchants now provide a portal to swipe and capture credit card data securely in an encrypted form to “store” for later use. Please note this data is NEVER stored in the practice software but rather with the credit card merchant itself.
Once the credit card is swiped, a consent form is printed and signed authorizing the practice to charge that card as agreed upon in the financial agreement. Practice owners then set up recurring automatic charges at the previously established intervals. No extra steps from the team are needed and no extra merchant fees are incurred (other than purchasing the correct terminal).
Other features allow for a text to pay option (texting statement balances with direct pay option) as well as the ability to auto-post to the patient ledger – alleviating extra steps for the business team.
Overall, this is an easy to implement game changer for today’s teams and offers an alternative to costly third-party financing solutions.
Two very important recommendations to get this off the ground. Start by conducting training with your team on the scripts to use for introducing this option to the patient base. Also, research the different credit card merchants as this industry is notorious for hidden and unnecessary fees.
Please reach out to us for more information and we can gladly share what’s working well with other teams we consult with.