Why a ‘Credit Card on File System’ Boosts Dental Debt Collections!


Is your dental practice utilizing a Credit Card on File (CCOF) system in your patient billing and collection procedures? Are you familiar with CCOF and the benefits a front-end billing approach like this can have on your accounts receivable and revenue cycle processes? If not, here are just a few ways a Credit Card on File system can drastically improve your collections performance, decrease your workload, increase patient satisfaction, and enhance your bottom line!

1_credit-cardsBut first, what is a Credit Card on File System?

In a CCOF system, payments are automatically deducted from a patient’s credit card for charges like deductibles, co-pays, unsettled balances, and the self-pay portion of a patient’s bill. This system reduces the risk dentists face of not getting paid, by guaranteeing an automatic payment after a patient has been treated.

So how do dentists implement a CCOF system?

When a patient visits your clinic for the first time, have a member of your front desk or administrative staff make a record of the patient’s credit/debit card information. Just remember to secure and store this information in a secure off-site location so that your patients’ valuable personal information is protected.

Then, have the patient sign an agreement that allows your dental practice to automatically withdraw the patient’s portion of payment after services have been provided. These payments are typically deductibles, co-insurance, co-pays, or payments for the portion of the bill that was not covered by insurance. Include in the terms of agreement that the patient will never be charged without first being notified, and that if a patient’s bill is larger than what the card will allow, a payment arrangement can be made to divide payment into smaller increments.

How do dentists benefit from a CCOF system?

The biggest benefit a CCOF system can offer your dental practice is a reduction in back-end patient collections and a reduced risk of bad debt. This is especially advantageous for dentists today when more and more patients are losing dental coverage and the self-pay population is on the rise. By having a system that guarantees payment after services have been provided, dentists are able to drastically decrease their unpaid receivables because the payment process has been taken out of the patient’s hands. Patients simply sign an agreement that authorizes you to deduct their portion of the bill from their credit or debit card, not only guaranteeing you payment, but relieving patients of all payment responsibility in the process.

featured-imageCCOF systems also allow for simple and efficient payment arrangements. For those patients that need more time paying their bill, an agreement can be made to automatically deduct a specific amount from the patient’s credit or debit card on an agreed upon schedule. Arrangements such as these prevent a patient from falling too far behind on their bill (at no effort on the patient’s part) and eliminate the risk of the dental practice not getting paid in full for the services provided.

Just remember to check with your state board regarding the legality of Credit Card on File Systems in your state. And make sure a payment arrangement like this is ok with your patients as well. Some patients may not be comfortable with having their private data stored within your system and will prefer a more traditional method of payment. But to put these patients at ease, remind them of how important patient identity protection is to you, and the steps you take to safeguard their valuable personal information.

So consider implementing a CCOF system at your dental clinic. By making the payment process as fast and simple as possible for both you and your patients, you’ll spend less time performing collections and more time getting paid!

YOUR TURN: What is holding your dental practice back from implementing a Credit Card on File system? What questions do you have about this approach to patient collections? What are you concerns? We want to hear from you!


No Legal Advice Intended:  This communication is for informational purposes only and is not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and I.C. System, Inc.  You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal issues.


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