Patient Experience: The Case for Storing Credit Card Information

Ace E. By Ace E. | August 23, 2018

Storing patient’s credit cards for future use can be a bit of a murky topic. Some medical and dental offices now require it. Some patients vehemently object to it. And there’s no one right or wrong answer for everyone.

When the topic is approached from the patient’s perspective, however, it becomes a good bit clearer.

It’s about choice and convenience

Today’s patients have more to think about than ever before. They carry more of the costs of their care. They have more physician and treatment options. And with so much to consider, small conveniences can go a long way.

Instead of requiring patients to keep a credit, debit or HSA/FSA card on file, consider simply offering it as a convenience. Patients can then choose to make their lives easier and avoid having to present their card every visit and for every copay. And they can avoid writing paper checks for services not covered by insurance.

It’s now another service your office provides. And it’s the patient’s choice whether or not to participate.

If this sounds like the right approach for your office, here are some things to think about when establishing the service.

5 considerations when storing credit card information

1. Communication

This is key. Be thorough in your communication and get explicit permission to keep the card on file. Get agreement on how and when you will use the card, and how you’re going to keep it secure.

Quick Tip

You may consider integrating this into patient registration forms that can be filled out digitally in the waiting room.

2. Security

Simply put, credit card processors have special security for keeping cards on file and it’s best left to them. Find a partner you like and store your patient’s card data with them, not in your own systems.

3. Compliance

It goes without saying, but be sure any and all processors you work with are HIPAA compliant. A breach of credit card data is a HIPAA violation.

4. Categorization

If you plan to accept FSA and HSA card payments, set up the appropriate merchant category code (MCC) with your payment processor.

5. Surcharging

Be sure you understand the rules around surcharging in your state. You likely may not be able to pass along credit card processing fees to the customer.

Place patients first

Of course, keeping cards on file has benefits for medical practices, in terms of faster payments and reduced administrative effort. But those should be secondary. Placing the patient first – and offering them flexibility, convenience and a modern experience – can lead to a win both for the practices and patients who choose to participate.

Explore Cognito Forms Card-on-File

Our Card-on-File feature empowers you to accept credit and debit card payments online through Square and Stripe in a way that is both PCI and HIPAA compliant. Curious about how it works? Learn all about it.

Ace E.

Ace E.

Ace is the Marketing Communications Manager for Cognito Forms. When not at the office, you can find him volunteering with the American Advertising Federation (and soon on stage with his band: the Cottontown Soul Society).