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Payments For Professional Services

BAMBORA OPINION

24 June 2019

Victoria Galloway

How innovative payments benefit the professional services industry.

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As a professional services provider, you’ve pursued an advanced degree and are specially trained but there are some things that even experts need help with. For many professionals like lawyers, doctors and even finance consultants, payments solutions for your business is often one of those things.

For instance, you were probably never taught how to ensure that your clients or patients pay you for the work you do. But getting paid in a timely manner is key to building a profitable business and helping more people.

So in this blog post, we explain why professionals like doctors, lawyers, and dentists should provide multiple payment methods and the options you have.

BENEFITS OF HAVING MULTIPLE SECURE PAYMENT METHODS

You need a way to accept payments for the professional services you offer. And the best way to ensure that you get paid consistently is by offering multiple payment methods.

Different customers will have different payment preferences and this will ensure that you can meet them all. Here are the benefits to offering multiple payment methods.

Avoid late or missed payments

A certain amount of late or missed payments can’t be avoided but you can significantly cut down on them by offering multiple payment options. By giving your customers convenient options to pay, you’ll reduce friction and increase the likelihood that they’ll pay sooner.

Get your payments data in one place

Many professionals don’t realise that their payments data is a valuable, untapped resource. It gives you key insights into both your customers and your business. It can help you understand what customers spend the most money on and what services you could possibly upsell them on.

Increase profitability

Not all professional services offer the same flexibility when it comes to payments. So having a variety of payment services will give you an advantage in your industry and can help you stand out to potential clients. Giving your clients a better customer experience can lead to increased revenue in the future.

Focus on your competencies

Let’s be honest, you didn’t go to law school or medical school so you could spend your time worrying about payment processing systems. Finding a way to get paid in a more efficient and timely manner will allow you to focus on the work that matters to you.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES THAT BENEFIT FROM PAYMENT PROCESSING SOLUTIONS

If you, like many other professional services providers, work with a wide variety of clients, it’s difficult to find a payment solution that works well for most everyone.

And the payments you accept will largely depend on the industry you’re in. Accepting payments for lawyers will look very different than accepting payments for dentists. Here are some of the biggest challenges faced by different professionals and possible solutions for each.

Accountants

Accountants often need to accept payments in their office but also send invoices at a later date after the service is completed. So you should look for a payment solution that allows you to offer online payments as well as in-person payments with ease.

For some clients, you’ll also want the option to offer recurring automatic payments. And watch out for companies that charge an excessive amount of fees for online payments. If the math doesn’t add up, you should probably move on.

Lawyers

For lawyers, it can be tough to figure out the best payment processing solution. This is partly because lawyers tend to have more complex fee structures than other professions.

Most states require lawyers to maintain client trust accounts. These are designed to protect client funds and are separate from firm funds. Any payment processor you choose will need to be compatible with your client trust accounts.

Lawyers should accept a variety of payment types, including ACH, credit and debit cards, and digital wallets. And they will need a flexible API integration that provides access to multiple secure payment processors.

Medical Professionals

Medical professionals need to be able to accept a wide variety of payment options from their patients. Patients come to you from all walks of life and you need to be able to accommodate their payment methods.

Offering a virtual dashboard that accepts credit and debit card payments, direct debit, keyed in transactions, and recurring payments is the best way to accept payments for doctors. However, make sure you do some research so you can find a provider that offers this at a reasonable cost.

WHAT TYPES OF PAYMENTS CAN PROFESSIONAL SERVICES OFFER?

Recurring Payments

  • PROS: They’re more convenient and will save you time so you can focus on other things. You’re also likely to deal with fewer chargebacks than credit cards.
  • CONS: They’re typically processed in batches so they aren’t ideal for time-sensitive payments.

There are many advantages to setting up recurring payments. They are more convenient and will save you time so you can focus on other things. The costs are generally much lower and you’ll deal with fewer chargebacks than credit cards.

However, recurring payments are less flexible than other payment systems. They’re typically processed in batches so they aren’t ideal for time-sensitive payments. And if the customer has insufficient funds, it will take you longer to get this sorted out. Depending on the kind of services you offer, a set-and-forget automated approach to payments can really streamline your cash inflow.

Credit & Debit Cards

  • PROS: Many customers prefer to pay with credit cards, so it can increase the volume of your sales almost immediately and it gives your business legitimacy.
  • CONS: Fraud is a common problem with credit cards and you may have to pick up the tab for any processing or chargeback fees.

Accepting credit and debit cards is pretty standard these days. It will increase the volume of your sales almost immediately and it gives your business legitimacy. Plus, many customers prefer to pay with credit cards.

However, you will have to deal with credit card processing fees. And some companies will charge monthly fees for the processing terminal.

And while credit cards are more flexible than recurring payment, they are also less secure. Fraud is a common problem with credit cards and you may have to pick up the tab for any processing or chargeback fees.

Online Payments

  • PROS: Online payments are quick, convenient, and easy. This can lead to increased sales, especially if you implement one-click payments.
  • CONS: You may have to deal with technical problems, so it’s good to have a service provider with 24/7 local support.

Online payments are quick, convenient, and easy so it’s no surprise that consumers tend to prefer them. This can lead to increased sales, especially if you implement things like one-click payments.

However, accepting online payments does increase your risk for fraud since hackers find ways to steal credit card and password information. And you will likely have to deal with technical problems which aren’t always quickly resolved.

Alternative Payments

  • PROS: Alternative payments like gift cards and contactless payments offer convenience and a better customer experience.
  • CONS: You may have to educate your clients about some of these options.

Increasingly, businesses are starting to accept alternative payments like contactless payments and gift cards. The primary advantage of this is convenience and providing a better customer experience. However, you may have to educate your clients about some of these options.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM BAMBORA'S PROFESSIONAL PAYMENT SERVICES SUITE

Lawyers, accountants, and medical professionals all deal with sensitive client information and are legally held to a much higher standard. So you need a specialised payment processing solution designed for the services you offer.

Here’s what you can expect from Bambora’s professional payment services suite:

  • We’ll sort your MID: This means there’s no need for you to open a merchant account.
  • Easy Mobile SDK integration: This allows you to accept in-app and mobile payments.
  • Accept Visa and MasterCard: You’ll be able to accept the two major credit cards.
  • ‘Save my Card’ functionality: This feature tokenises customer card data to encourage repeat purchase.
  • Boost eCommerce with a Shopping Cart plugin: Bambora integrates with Woocommerce, Magento 1, Magento 2 and NitroSell.
  • Superior payment management: This allows you to authorise, capture, purchase, refund and batch payments.
  • Manage chargebacks: This makes it easier to understand and mitigate potential chargebacks
  • Direct Debit: Enjoy a reliable, well-forecasted revenue stream.

If you’re interested in learning about how Bambora can help your professional business, feel free to contact us and one of our friendly local team will get in touch to discuss your requirements.


About the author

Victoria Galloway is Bambora APAC's Technical Copywriter, and has been writing and producing in the payments and eCommerce space for a number of years, both in the UK and Australia.