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TSYS Merchant Solutions Review: Best Credit Card Processor for Medical Practices

TSYS Merchant Solutions Review: Best Credit Card Processor for Medical Practices
Credit: TSYS Merchant Solutions

After much research and analysis of credit card processors, we recommend TSYS Merchant Solutions as the best credit card processor for medical practices.

TSYS Merchant Solutions offers an affordable, secure way for medical practices to accept credit cards from patients at the time of service. TSYS is part of the American Medical Association's Member Value Program (AMA MVP), which partners with vendors to provide discounts and perks to medical practitioners.

We like that TSYS offers low rates, starting at 1.7 percent plus 20 cents per transaction, as well as custom pricing to fit your practice's unique needs. All plans include a free EMV- and NFC-enabled credit card reader, so you can accept traditional cards, chip cards and mobile payment systems like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

We also like that TSYS can help you save money with no setup fees, low-to-zero minimum-volume requirements and discounts for higher-volume practices.

Editor's Note: Looking for information on credit card processors for your business? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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Here's how TSYS' three simple pricing packages work:

Accelerate. The Accelerate plan offers TSYS' lowest advertised rate available, at 1.7 percent plus 20 cents per swipe. There is also a monthly fee of $49.95. The TSYS representative we spoke with said it is the best option for established medical practices or those with specialized services, because of their high volume and costs. The minimum transaction volume requirement for this rate is currently at $250,000 per year.

Grow. This plan has a slightly higher swipe fee, of 1.99 percent plus 20 cents per transaction, but also a much lower service fee, of $19.95 per month. The minimum card-volume requirement is also a little friendlier for growing, midvolume medical practices, at $100,000 per year.

Pursue. If your medical practice is just getting off the ground, the Pursue plan is typically the most suitable for you, as it has zero minimum card-volume requirements, the TSYS rep told us. The swipe rate is a bit higher, at 2.5 percent plus 20 cents per transaction, but the service fee is only $9.95 per month.

We're not a fan of one-size-fits-all solutions, so we like that in addition to these three packages, TSYS's partnership with the AMA lets you build special custom rates. That way, you can choose a rate that best suits your practice and saves it the most money.

We confirmed that this includes preferred interchange-plus pricing, a pricing model that gives small businesses access to the same low-cost wholesale rates as big-name, high-volume companies. Interchange-plus pricing offers rock-bottom rates and gives you even higher discounts as your business grows. However, we found that this option isn't advertised and is only available by request.

Medical practices have unique needs, and we like that TSYS has you covered with flexible credit-card-processing solutions.

If you operate a doctor's office, outpatient facility, clinic, medical spa or offer other types of services, TSYS lets you accept credit card payments in-house, online and wherever your patients are.

There are four ways to accept credit cards using TSYS:

  • Credit card reader. Accept payments at the front desk before or after patients are seen with a traditional credit card machine and PIN pads. As mentioned above, options include NFC- and EMV-enabled readers for mobile payments and chip credit cards. [See Related Story: Credit Card Machines: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions]
  • Mobile credit card processing. Let customers pay from anywhere in your facility, on location or wherever you provide services. Like Square and PayPal Here, TSYS offers a free credit card swiper that attaches to your mobile phone and processes payments via mobile app. This is available on iPhones and Android phones. The TSYS rep told us that you'll have to enroll separately for this service, which costs $5 per month and a swipe rate of 2.7 percent.  
  • Tablet POS. TSYS' tablet point-of-sale (POS) system lets you accept payments from anywhere using an iPad or Android tablet. Like a traditional credit card reader, it can act as a stationary, stand-alone POS system that stays at your front desk. Or, as a mobile credit card processing system, the tablet POS can be carried to patient rooms, waiting rooms and throughout your facility or for off-site visits. We particularly like that TSYS gives you two choices for a tablet POS: the standard TSYS Tablet POS — which comes with a tablet, tablet stand and credit card reader — and the ShopKeep cloud-based iPad POS system. Both come with robust features like customer, inventory and sales tracking; tax and tip calculation; integration with accounting systems; and more. Check out our ShopKeep POS system review to learn more.
  • Online credit card processing. Accept payments on your website or on a TSYS-hosted page. TSYS payment gateway service includes the WebPASS virtual terminal, MultiPASS API for shopping carts and TSYS Hosted Payment on a dedicated TSYS website built for your business. The TSYS rep told us that these options are particularly useful for medical practices that bill patients post-visit. Online payments let patients quickly pay for services by clicking on a link and entering their credit card information online instead of picking up the phone, sending a check or visiting your office again. This could also help reduce late and missed payments, because it's a fast and easy way for patients to clear their bills.

Furthermore, we like that TSYS offers additional perks with its credit card processing systems. This includes online reputation monitoring, online reporting, recurring payments, gift cards and loyalty programs, all of which integrate with whichever credit card processing solution you use for your business.

As a medical practice, your business requires even stronger security measures to protect your patients' privacy. We like TSYS because it comes with advanced security tools to ensure data security and compliance, as vetted by the AMA.

TSYS is the second largest credit card processor and has been around for more than 50 years. This means it has a well-established reputation and security program that has continued to evolve to meet growing threats in the credit card processing and merchant services industry.

As such, the company offers all types of security, from robust data protection to risk and fraud prevention, to make sure your practice and patients are well-covered from all angles.

These security features include the ability to accept EMV cards, strong encryption, account monitoring and PCI compliance. TSYS also offers tokenization, which eliminates the storage and transfer of credit card information by replacing cardholder data and credit card numbers with other alphanumeric values.

Furthermore, unlike with many credit card processors, the company's services come with risk-monitoring and risk-mitigation tools, so the service can predict and prevent fraudulent transactions. Many credit card processors don't give you much control over funds, so if something goes wrong, you are at the mercy of your bank or processor. But TSYS helps you protect your finances, with features like reserve funding, charge-back processing and suspended funding to manage any losses and cash-flow shortages due to unforeseen security issues.

TSYS also stands out for medical practices because it has your and your patients' backs in the event of a data breach. The company's Card Compromise Assistance Plan (C-CAP) covers up to $1 million in annual damages to help you recover from a cyberattack. Very, very few credit card processors offer this benefit, which is particularly helpful for a business that deals with costly medical services.

TSYS is an excellent credit card processor for medical practices, but it does have two major drawbacks: The company forces you into multiyear contracts, and it has limited customer support.

First, TSYS requires a three-year, auto-renew service contract, which could be a huge deal breaker. You'll also be hit with a $250 termination fee if you decide TSYS is not the right credit card processor for you. Compare this to credit card processors that don't have any long-term contracts or that at least offer depreciating termination fees the longer you stay with the company.

In addition, there is a noncancellable, nontransferable, two-year lease on equipment. And according to some consumer reviews, this contract and the difficulty of returning machines caused them to actually pay the cost of equipment as though they had purchased it outright.

The good news is that some businesses have been able to waive the early termination fee or the auto-renew part of the contract just by asking an account representative. However, this is on a case-by-case basis and can only be done if you sign up through a TSYS rep. TSYS has also been improving its service by resolving billing issues with refunds and with better equipment-return protocols.

Another drawback is that although TSYS offers 24/7 phone and email support, the company doesn't offer very many self-help resources. For instance, its website doesn't have articles, searchable knowledge bases, an FAQ section or how-to guides to help you resolve issues on your own. The company does have a YouTube account with several informational videos and tutorials, but nothing comprehensive that you'd typically find with other popular credit card processors.

We chose TSYS Merchant Solutions from a pool of the dozens of credit card processors we considered. To read our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of credit card processors, visit our best picks page here.

Ready to choose a credit card processor? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor's Note: Looking for information on credit card processors for your business? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.