Protecting your practice from credit card fraud helps both your patients and your revenue.
Credit card fraud comes in the form of stolen cards, fraudulent use of credit cards, and other inappropriate transactions. These types of fraud can be costly to your practice and cause significant financial losses for you if these instances become relatively common at your practice. While you can’t always prevent every fraudulent transaction from happening, you can take steps to protect yourself.
Keep reading to learn more about common types of credit card fraud and find some prevention strategies that can work for your clinic.
Types of fraud
There are many different situations where credit card fraud can happen in a typical chiropractic clinic. For instance, accepting credit card payments via phone can make it easier for fraudsters to provide stolen card information and have the transaction processed without the usual methods of verification and identification. Consumers can also bring in stolen cards, use another person’s card online to make payments, or even obtain one of your patient’s card information for their own use either at your clinic or elsewhere.
Thankfully, stealing credit card information is now a lot more difficult thanks to chip readers and cards with a chip and pin. This makes it more challenging to charge accounts without having the physical card with you, reducing the likelihood of fraud occurring. Credit card readers process transactions with the credit cards (or debit cards) directly, reading the computer chip on inserted cards in order to find and charge the correct account. Simply having the credit card number, name and expiration date isn’t enough to steal and use the account under this type of system.
However, not everyone uses these chip systems. This technology was recently introduced in the United States and many clinics still use older systems. Unfortunately, though, using an older system may place your clinic at risk if fraud occurs.
Likewise, over-the-phone transactions and online transactions may be more vulnerable to credit card fraud occurrences. You should be proactive about protecting your clinic and your patients from fraud. In the process, you can reduce your own liability risks.
To protect yourself, be as diligent as possible about verifying cards and checking identification. The card account’s owner is not typically liable for fraudulent charges placed on their account, but your clinic may be held responsible for these charges if you do not make a reasonable effort to verify the transactions.
If, for instance, someone brings in a stolen credit card and you never check identification, you may be placing your own clinic’s revenue at risk. Unfortunately, while federal law protects consumers from liability for credit card fraud, merchants aren’t necessarily protected.
Sometimes, the credit card issuer does eat the cost, but if the clinic is found to be responsible for not catching the fraud, then they may end up absorbing the losses.
Card safety tips
Proactive prevention is an essential part of accepting credit cards. Here’s what you need to do:
- Verify Phone Transactions-Be very careful with over-the-phone payments. Generally, these transactions are more expensive for clinics, and for a good reason–it’s more challenging to verify cards on the phone, so there’s a greater risk. If possible, avoid accepting card payments via phone. If you do decide to offer this service, be diligent about doing whatever you can to verify card ownership. You may, for instance, require patients to use cards that are in their name or a family member’s name only. You might want to only accept phone payments from patients who’ve been at your clinic for a while and are well-known by your office. During the transaction itself, follow any guidelines your payment processor recommends, so your liability is reduced if something goes wrong.
- Online-Use a system that requires information such as the billing address, full name, expiration date, verification numbers printed on the card, and any other recommendations your processor suggests.
- In-Person-Have the front desk process credit card payments by verifying photo identification and checking signatures. If you have a reason to be suspicious, follow your payment vendor’s process for verification–many vendors offer an automated verification by phone to help you without alerting the card user.
Reduce your liability by accepting cards carefully. Remember, you are on the front lines in the battle against credit card fraud.
- Kuhn, K. “Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud At Your Practice.” GroupOne Blog. http://www.grouponehealthsource.com/blog/protecting-against-credit-card-fraud-at-your-practice. Published: October 2015. Accessed: February 2018.