Using mobile payment apps in the optometric practice

March 6, 2015

During a presentation at SECO, Adam Parker, OD, shared his advice for using mobile payment apps at an optometric practice.

Atlanta-During a presentation at SECO, Adam Parker, OD, shared his advice for using mobile payment apps at an optometric practice.

Mobile payment apps are becoming increasingly popular because they offer more security than credit cards. Hacking scandals at many of the major retailers in the U.S. have highlighted just how insecure credit card information can be. But these apps encrypt the data and send it safely, but only when you approve the payments, Dr. Parker says.

Mobile apps also offer convenience.

Related: HIPAA in the age of social media

“It’s really convenient to just use your phone, scan it or put it next to a device, and put it right back in your pocket instead of going through your wallet trying to find your credit card,” Dr. Parker says. “Also, let’s face it: it’s pretty hip and fun, too.”

According to Dr. Parker, 80 percent of adults carry less than $50 in cash, but the average fee at an optometric practice is approximately $150. And in a few years, he predicts that using a credit card will be considered outdated.

“So, let’s make it as easy as possible for someone to give you money,” he says.

Available apps

The market of mobile payment apps is growing and changing on a near-constant basis. Some of the most popular payment apps include:

Apple Pay (Available only on the iPhone 6)

• SoftCard (It was formerly known as ISIS, but changed its name to avoid being associated with the other ISIS. Google recently bought SoftCard, so this service will soon come to an end.)

Google Wallet

Venmo

Dwolla

PayPal

GoPayment

PayAnywhere

Square

Samsung Pay  (Only on the Samsung Galaxy S6, which is not yet available)

Starbucks was among the first companies to successfully debut a mobile payment app. Users upload money directly onto the app through their credit or debit card, pay with the app, and earn reward points.

Next: How do they work?

 

How do they work?

Some apps like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay allow you to save your credit cards digitally and have a usual credit card fee. Other apps pull money directly from your bank account for a flat fee of $0.25 to $0.95 per transaction (no matter the amount), plus a possible monthly fee.

 

Should you accept mobile payment apps?

Dr. Parker says that not accepting mobile payment isn’t going to be a deal breaker for your patients right now. For early adopters, it will be a great way to show your patients that your practice is on top of technology trends. This may be especially valuable at practices with a younger patient base.

There are also certain cases in which a mobile app would be convenient in an optometric practice. For example, if you are having a trunk show and the optical is busier than normal, it would allow your patients to make their purchase as quickly as possible. If you make off-site visits to conduct exams or other services, these apps can come in handy.

Related: How digital devices are affecting vision

Dr. Parker says that the following apps are best suited for optometry practices:

• Apple Pay

• Google Wallet

• PayPal

• Square

• Samsung Pay 

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