Lyndsey Lang is chief strategy officer at Fattmerchant, a subscription-based, integrated payment technology platform.Read Articles Written by Lyndsey Lang
How consumers pay for services is always changing, so making sure your veterinary practice’s payment system is up to date is crucial.
Answering the four questions below can help you determine whether the time is right for an update.
1. Does your current payment system provide access to business analytics?
Legacy payment systems do not typically provide real-time data and analytics. However, this functionality is key in helping to manage veterinary practices. If your payment system does not generate data that can improve decision making and planning, you are probably in the position of reacting instead of anticipating.
An updated payment system allows you to use an online dashboard to monitor the state of your practice and track transactions in real time.
When evaluating the data management tools of payment systems, look for a system that can provide:
- Detailed data and analytics reports in one dashboard. This allows you to view all your data without having to access different accounts and software.
- Summary data. This allows you to see gross and net sales and total refunds in one simple chart.
- Sales data. This allows you to see the busiest time of day for your practice so that you can easily plan employee schedules.
- Sales trends. Comparing data across all your locations presents insights on where you should focus your efforts.
Your new payment system should seamlessly integrate with other business software, such as QuickBooks Online, allowing you to sync securely back and forth to track outstanding invoices and other data on both the payments platform and business software.
2. Does your current payment system allow you to digitally monitor inventory and sync inventory between sales channels?
Inventory management raises ongoing questions for veterinary businesses, such as how much inventory should you order, how should you track it, when should you order more and at what price? Answering these questions is a challenge for many veterinary clinics but is critically important for controlling costs and ensuring that items like pet food, medicines and grooming tools do not sit on the shelf too long.
Your payment system should allow you to digitally monitor inventory and sync inventory between your selling channels, such as multiple locations and e-commerce. Otherwise, you run the risk of overstocking or understocking, which can have major implications for a hospital’s profitability.
3. Can your current payment system accommodate a mobile card reader?
From the consulting room to out in the field, a veterinary practice needs to be able to accept payments anywhere patients are seen. Mobile payment solutions allow you to quickly and efficiently collect fees and provide clients, who are increasingly going cashless, with the convenient payment options they want. If your payment platform is unable to add a mobile card reader, you could be losing clients.
Mobile card readers typically plug into your mobile device and connect with an application. As you consider moving to a payment system with the ability to add a mobile card reader, look for the following features:
- Apps for iOS and Android that allow you to accept, track and manage payments easily from your smartphone.
- The ability to accept EMV and NFC (near-field communication) payments.
- The ability to connect in multiple ways — 3G and WiFi, for example — to guard against poor connectivity and technical issues.
- The ability to email receipt.
Investing in a payment platform with robust mobile capabilities will help your practice grow and become more connected to customers.
4. Does your current payment system allow you to accept chip cards in an EMV reader?
If you can’t accept chip cards, your practice and clients could be at risk for credit card fraud. Updating your payment system with an EMV terminal that’s ready to accept cards embedded with smart chips increases the security of in-person payments, such as transactions made on a point-of-sale system, wireless terminal or mobile reader.
To begin accepting chip cards, you need to update your payment system, replacing your terminals and mobile readers with EMV terminals and EMV readers. These payment systems make clients “dip” their credit card rather than swipe it so that the chip can pass along encrypted information necessary for processing the transaction.
Safeguarding the security of client information and removing risk from your practice are two compelling reasons to update your practice’s payment system and make the transition to accepting EMV payments.
If a legacy payment system is holding back your practice, now might be the time to move to a platform that will help you increase profits, improve the client experience and attract new patients.