Credit card processing for your pharmacy demystified

Choosing the right credit card processing partner is an important part of how your pharmacy and point-of-sale runs. Here are some tips on making sure you choose the best fit.

Credit Card processing demystified, FeesI use my debit card for pretty much everything.  So much in fact that my card rarely lasts the 5 years between when my bank issues the card and when it expires.  And for once I feel like my particular shopping habits aren’t in the minority. More and more transactions are run with a credit or debit card as use of cash and checks decrease.  According to a recent article, 66 percent of all brick and mortar (not online) sales were made with a credit or debit card.

Now I know this isn’t really news to anyone.  With all of the compliance laws governing credit card acceptance these days, no merchant accepts credit or debit card payments because it’s fun and easy, they do it because it’s a necessity. With projections for 2017 trending up for credit & debit card usage, credit card processing will only become a more vital part of your business. This is why choosing the right partner to meet your credit card processing needs is essential. 

But how do you go about selecting the right processor to meet your needs?  Most companies get multiple calls every week from processing companies soliciting business and promising lower rates, better service and full integration. Unfortunately not every processor can deliver on these promises so it’s important to dig through the layers of their practiced sales strategies to find out if a processor really will be a good fit for you.  Here are my top tips, questions and things to consider before signing on the dotted line with a new credit card processor.

1)      Always consult your point-of-sale provider first.  Many providers are limited as to which credit card processors they can integrate with. This is not the case at RMS, as we strive to allow our customers to work with the processor that provides the best fit for them.  However, we can make recommendations, connect you with a preferred provider that’s familiar with the needs of RMS customers, and let you know about any limitations or red flags with specific companies.  Companies that we recommend are always a best bet because we’ll have the highest level of integration, the best relationship, and advanced capabilities to troubleshoot or intervene should a problem arise.

2)      Find out if the processor is familiar with the pharmacy industry.  You know this better than anyone; the rules that govern pharmacy transactions are different than a gas station or department store.  If you say “FSA Card” and the processing representative has no idea what you’re talking about, it’s a pretty safe bet that they aren’t going to be able to provide your account with the extra attention that it needs.  RMS can always help with some of the more pharmacy specific setup needs, but it’s always good for your processor to understand your needs and be able to assist with anything that comes up.  

3)      Ask about their PCI Compliance certification procedures.  Every merchant is responsible for maintaining a certification for PCI (Payment Card Industry) Compliance.  Some processors are more helpful and pro-active about this need than others.  Many processors won’t actively prompt you to complete a certification and while it may seem like a good thing to not receive emails prompting you to update your certification, it’s actually not.  A processor that provides you with the tools you need to certify for PCI Compliance and reminds you to update your certification is serving the best interests of your pharmacy. If the processing rep doesn’t know about their PCI Compliance certification policies and procedures or tells you not to worry about it, they’ve just thrown up a major red flag.

4)      Don’t be afraid to talk to your existing processor before making a change.  No matter how easy we make a processor change, the simplest thing is always going to be no change at all.  That doesn’t mean that you have to let a good rate offer pass you by.  We always encourage customers to take new offers to their existing credit card representative. Many times your current rep will be able to meet or beat the new offer.  This isn’t always the case, as buying groups and organizations can sometimes garner special rates, but it’s definitely worth a quick phone call to find out.

rms credit card processing5)      Read the fine print.  Every processor operates differently and it is important to understand each different company’s policies or procedures.  Are you being locked into a contract? Are the rates guaranteed or will they fluctuate?  What is their support/service policy?   Make sure that you aren’t getting locked into something that might not turn out to be  exactly as advertised.

At the end of the day, we want our customers to be comfortable with their credit card processing partner and use whatever option is best for them. Oftentimes this is a processor that we recommend, but occasionally there are other possibilities and we are always happy to work with our customers to provide guidance.  If you’re not sure what the best fit for your pharmacy is, just give us a call.  

What challenges have you faced in dealing with a credit card processor?  Let me know below.

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