Don’t forget this 1 hidden credit card processing fee

Credit card processing contracts are full of fees, so when we began building credit card processing into SimplePractice’s billing software for therapists, we asked the question…

What’s the best company for credit card processing?

It’s the one that saves you the most money, right?
Well of course, so how do you tell which one lets you keep the most of your hard earned cash?

That question is surprisingly complicated and time-consuming, but it is a question every therapist in private practice has to answer, so let’s do a little comparison shopping…

Have you ever tried to comparison shop for a credit card processing company?

It’s a headache because of all the different types of fees:

Processing fees
Transaction fees
Monthly or annual fees
Refund fees
Dispute fees
Manual entry fees
Hardware/terminal fees
Some fees increase over time
Some fees decrease over time
Some fees are percentages while others are flat

The list goes on.

The point here is that the complicated and often murky business of credit card processing makes it difficult to compare costs on an apples to apple’s basis.

Here is another “fee” to consider: the fee on your time.

Customer service
Some processors offer extremely low rates, but their customer service has a terrible track record. This is where many therapists “pay” for getting a rock bottom deal on credit card processing. While you may save a a dollar on every transaction, you’ll end up giving it right back when you spend an hour on the phone settling a charge dispute. If you bill your time at $100 per hour, you just spent $100 to save one dollar on that transaction. Respect your time- it’s valuable.

Inevitably, you will spend time dealing with customer support, whether it’s setting up and managing your account, handling disputes, or troubleshooting when cards just aren’t going through. This time you spend is money. Make sure you’re dealing with a company that will handle your issue without much hassle. Call them up and talk to their customer support before making a decision.

Integration with accounting
It’s vital that credit card processing is easily integrated with accounting for billing and tax purposes. Tax season is another time therapists can end up wasting time. Make sure you can export credit card transactions for your accountant or accounting software without much effort. Don’t pick a company that’s cheap only to find yourself wrestling with complicated excel spreadsheets at the end of every month.

Comparison shopping
It’s important to invest time comparison shopping so you know your options. But limit the time you spend and remember that old saying: if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Read the fine print, many processing companies that advertise low rates have other ways of surprising you with unexpected fees.

If you truly want to invest a lot of time to find the absolute cheapest option you’ll have to compare your credit card processing behavior (volume, average transaction amount, frequency, refunds, disputes, etc.) to the pricing options you find in your research.

So what is the best company for credit card processing?

It’s the one that doesn’t cost you a lot of time and has a transparent fee structure you can afford.

In other words: it’s the one that seems simplest to you.

For us, Stripe credit card processing was the best choice as our first integration partner into SimplePractice. We found customer support to be helpful and it integrates seamlessly with our billing system meaning it won’t take extra time away from our community of therapists.

We know a lot of folks out there use products like Square (we love Square) and want to know why we did not incorporate that into SimplePractice. It’s simply because they do not yet offer third-party companies to access their system to integrate processing. When they do, we will add them. In addition, we will always be on the lookout for other great products to integrate with our billing system so you can have choices. But we will always carefully select our partners based on security, simplicity, support and cost.

You’re a therapist so don’t spend your time haggling with credit card companies or learning how to set up payment terminals. That’s time you could be spending with clients. Your time has a billable rate so don’t treat it like it’s free. Your time is the hidden “fee” when comparing credit card processing companies.

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