Running a busy practice takes time and energy; so much time and energy that some, less urgent, matters have to be placed on the “back burner” or made in haste without the proper research. In most practices, the credit card processing program is one of the first things to suffer from this lack of time.
Many credit card processors have programs that seem, on the surface, to have everything your practice needs. Many even carry an endorsement from a Dental Society or Association, and the assumption is that it must be customized in some way to meet the special needs of a Dental office.
Since few practices can devote the hours necessary to make an informed and intelligent choice, below is a guide that will condense your research into a 5-minute phone call. Just a little advice: First, listen to what the sales person for the processor has to say and let them give you all the information they choose to offer. Only then should you ask the following questions. That way you will be, “putting them to the test”, to see if they were attempting to hide any information from you.
When being solicited by a credit card processor, all of the following should be requested in writing.
1. Will you give me a lifetime guarantee on the rate against the “base rate” of Visa and MasterCard? In other words, the only way the rate can be raised is if Visa or MasterCard raise the base rate. Request that the credit card processor can never raise their profit margin. (This protects you from “teaser rates”).
2. Will you lifetime warrantee my equipment? If they won’t, you will be charged hundreds of dollars to replace or repair when it breaks down.
3. Will you provide me with supplies for the lifetime of my business? (Roll paper can cost upwards of $3.00 per roll plus printer ribbons and shipping and handling).
4. What additional rate will I be charged for hand-keyed transactions, (the type that occurs when the magnetic stripe on the card is not read)? This will greatly affect your overall rate and most processors don’t even mention it unless you ask! Will you use my existing equipment, must I buy new equipment or is the equipment included in your package?
5. Will you give me a lifetime guarantee that you will never sell my account to another processor? If you don’t get this guarantee then you can be sure that the intention is to sell your account and the new processor will not honor your existing contract.
6. Will you guarantee that you will beat any written offer for the lifetime of my practice or allow me to leave with no cancellation fee?
7. How does your program for my practice differ from the program you offer to the run-of-the-mill retailer?
Remember; don’t just take a sales person’s word on these items. Be sure they are in writing.
Frank Shiner is President and CEO of Retriever Medical / Dental Payments Inc. Retriever offers a truly customized program, which has features not available with any other processor, nationwide. They may be reached at (800) 337-3630. Please be sure to mention that you are a member of our society to insure that you receive the lowest rates.