The CDC has issued guidance for businesses to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 and lower its impact in their workplace. One of the focus areas addresses the need to maintain healthy business operations, including a proposal that businesses implement practices to support social distancing if recommended by state and local health authorities.

Telephone appointments, video conferencing and curbside pickup or delivery allow providers of essential services to stay open and continue serving customers in their communities. Business owners who primarily engage with clients in person — from specialty medical practices including fertility, dermatologists, physical therapists, audiologists and counselors, to veterinarians and pet supply, and auto repair and parts services — are quickly implementing solutions to safely interact with customers throughout this crisis. Some of these solutions include how their businesses accept payments.

Here are a few quick and easy payment practices that you can employ to ensure healthy operations through these new business operations. Once this crisis passes, you’ll continue to reap the benefits, including: a better customer experience, faster cash flow, time and labor savings, and reduced fraud.

3 Recommended Ways to Incorporate Social Distancing into your Payment Practices

  1. Telephone Payments – Now, first of all, you should be concerned running “card not present” transactions over the phone will significantly raise your processing costs. This is very true … unless you have the right type of software and account set up.The card brands consider payments taken over the phone to be riskier than those processed in person. More risk often leads to higher processing costs, which can add hundreds of dollars per month to processing fees. Fortunately, there are simple security measures that help reduce fraud and protect against expensive downgrades. To ensure the lowest fees, make sure to enable Address Verification Service (AVS) and Card Verification Value (CVV), and set up your system to require these prompts for any card-not-present transactions.If you traditionally take payments on a stand-alone payment device and are no longer meeting customers in person, you can process telephone payments through a cloud-hosted Virtual Terminal to save money and lower costs. You, or authorized employees, simply connect to a secure portal via your browser, enter login credentials, and key in card data. You can view and manage all activity from any browser — anywhere.
  2. Online Payments – Either adding a “Make a Payment” button or payment form into your existing website are options, as well as using a hosted payment page. Hosted Checkout adds a simple “Pay Now” button to your website that directs customers to a secure billing page where they enter the payment amount and sensitive card information. And best of all, it doesn’t require any website development skills or the purchase of third-party software.A medical practitioner can conduct a video appointment and email the invoice with easy steps to visit the website and pay. Hosted Checkout can be a temporary solution to collect social distancing payments while your business keeps its doors closed for in-person service, or it can remain on your site for continued use long after the crisis has passed.
  3. Recurring Billing – You’ve built a loyal customer base before and during this crisis by being a trusted provider of services in times of need. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 health crisis is affecting many families, friends and businesses in the communities you serve. Denying service to long-term customers who are financially struggling can further put them in harm’s way and result in a loss of their business in the future.Solutions that allow valued customers to pay over time are a lifeline in times like these. Recurring Payments securely stores customer and card or bank account details to automatically process payments based on an agreed schedule. With Hosted Checkout, you notify clients of outstanding payments and allow them to pay what they can.

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