Once you’ve decided to accept credit cards in your practice, make sure you select the right payment processor. Here’s a checklist to refer to that will help you get what you need to keep your practice on track and make your life easier.

1. PCI Compliance

By electing to accept payments, your business must adhere to and comply with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), created and updated annually by the PCI Security Counsel. A PCI compliant processor has already taken the steps to employ the highest levels of data security to ensure that your confidential business information is secure. A reliable merchant account provider should offer to assist you in completing the required annual SAQ (Self-Assessment Questionnaire) to verify your compliance and guide you in taking the right steps to increase protection and improve business.

2. Security

To shield against fraudulent activity, trusted payment processors use tokenization technology and P2PE (Point-to-Point Encryption). Tokenization is the process of substituting a customer’s PAN (Primary Account Number) with a “token” – information that is useless to a hacker. You, as the merchant, will store the token in your system in place of the sensitive payment information.

P2PE is a secure way to transmit data between two parties that helps protect the sensitive information obtained and sent on electronic transactions. With P2PE, credit card data is encrypted from the moment the card is swiped, while the data is in transit, all the way to authorization; preventing a merchant’s system from ever seeing or touching the sensitive PAN data.

Together, these two security measures drastically reduce your PCI compliance scope and costs.

3. eCheck (ACH) Payments

Similar to the paper check process, eCheck/ACH payments transmit a client’s bank routing number or checking account number electronically through the ACH system for a more immediate transfer. By saving time and cutting costs associated with traditional check payments, you can save money while improving client service and increasing profits.

4. Reconciliation

Whether you accept payments through one channel or many, having robust, detailed reporting in one centralized location is essential to your business. Only a select group of payment processors allow you to track your transactions from inception to settlement because they are the gateway provider and processor all in one.

5. Integrated Payments

Some payment processors offer plugins or APIs to seamlessly integrate payment processing into your accounting, ERP or CRM software. By processing from one single interface, you will save time and money, reduce double-data entry errors, and simplify the reconciliation process.