How do you plan to receive payment from your clients? Are you collecting payment yourself or will there be a receptionist doing that for you? Do you have third party payment? Will you be mobile or in one location? Will any of your counselling be online? All of these answers will help determine which option is best for you. I will share what I have learned about payment options and how I made my decisions. Two very useful online articles are listed at the bottom.
So, there seems to be four basic payment options: cash, cheque, credit, or debit. Each have benefits and disadvantages, depending on your answers from above. These are my thoughts based on my single person, mobile, face-to-face private practice.
- Considering how much a counselling session can cost, cash does not seem like the best option because I am the holder of the payment and I wouldn’t want to have a lot of cash in the office. If the client is not paying the full amount, however, this could be a hassle-free way to be paid.
- Cheques seem like a good option assuming they don’t bounce but the bank usually holds them for a few days before they can be accessed. Also, I don’t know how many people use cheques anymore. I wouldn’t make this the only option, but I see few disadvantages to accepting cheques.
- Debit does not cost anything to accept, so in that way it is preferable to credit, although some online payment systems such as Paypal do not include debit. I like debit, although I could not find any debit options that did not also include credit.
- Credit costs the counsellor money (somewhere around 2.75%), however, it is very convenient for everyone. Also, there are a number of ways to receive payment through credit: a point of sale system like the square, a mobile card processor, a credit card terminal if you are in one location, and online payment like Paypal. I like this option because the fee transfer happens right away.
My plan is to accept cheques and cash while encouraging credit or debit. For credit options, I narrowed my top two choices to the Square or Moneris because I wanted the transaction to be face to face (rather than e-transfers or Paypal). Even though Moneris has a monthly fee, I chose it over the Square for a few reasons. First, Moneris has been around longer and has a strong track record for customer service. Second, this service has a relationship with my bank (RBC) and a person in my city who has already talked to me on the phone – how often does that happen these days? , Third, I can accept debit or credit with Moneris. The Square only takes credit. If you are curious about online payment systems, you can visit the two articles I listed below; I found both very informative.
This decision about payment options is an important one to make and you would be wise to do so before opening your business bank account because there are a number of different types of accounts based on how your receive payment. I found it very helpful to speak with a business account manager at my bank in order to sort out all of these options. If anyone has opinions or insights about payment options, please leave a comment and share with our readers.
Lindzon , J. (2014, Nov. 14). Top five online payment systems for your small business. Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-money/cash-flow/top-five-online-payment-systems-for-your-small-business/article21553705/
Purch. (2015, June 11). Square Review: Best Mobile Credit Card Processing Solution. Business News Daily. Retrieved from http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8064-best-mobile-credit-card-processor.html
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA