Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT

Private Practice Success

03/31/2021 5:30 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

Maria Gray,

To Swipe or Not to Swipe:
How Much Are You Paying in Credit Card Fees?

If you accept credit cards and are working virtually, you may have noticed an increase in your credit card fees. Prior to the pandemic, I swiped my clients’ cards in person using a card reader (also known as a dongle). When the cardholder is present, the card can immediately be verified by the credit card company, so the rate is lower. When my clients were present in my office the rate was 2.4% +25 cents. Now I email an invoice and the rate is 2.9% +25 cents. If I chose to hand key the credit card information into QuickBooks, I would be charged 3.4% + 25 cents.

I review my credit card processing options every few years to see if I can reduce my costs. When I was charging my clients in person (pre-pandemic) I used QuickBooks GoPay card reader, I switched to GoPay when I realized the rate was much lower than Stripe’s. I chose GoPay because I was already using QuickBooks for my bookkeeping and the card reader works well and their rate was the lowest. GoPay is only available to customers who use QuickBooks’ accounting software. The software requires some effort to learn and I still use a bookkeeper to review my books each quarter to check for errors.

QuickBooks is a major commitment and it’s not for everyone. I am one of those geeky people that enjoys bookkeeping. Here’s a sample of the many credit card processing options that are available:

Credit card fees are based on a $200 charge. Rates as of 12/01/2020


Charge based on a $200 fee Card Swiped in Person

Charge based on a $200 fee Data Stored in System

Invoiced $200

Hand Keyed $200


QuickBooks Go Pay

2.4% +25 cents=$5.05


2.9% + 25 cents $6.05

3.4% +25 cents $7.05

My clients who pay via invoice have the option to pay with most major credit cards and Apple Pay which they like. The swiper has consistently worked well and the customer service for payment issues is good. 


2.6% + 10 cents= $5.30

3.5% +15 cents $7.15

2.9% +30 cents $6.10

3.5% +15 cents $6.95

I haven’t tried Square.


No swiping, card data is stored in their system

2.9% + 30 cents= $6.10 2.95% + 30 cents if you use Simple Practice=$6.20

2.9% +30 cents $6.10


I used this for a year and the customer service was good. I still use it when people are paying for things on my website. 

Pay Pal


2.9% + 30 cents= $6.10

2.9% + 30 cents $6.10


I only use this for personal purchases.

Ivy Pay

No swiping, card data is stored in their system.




They offer $1000 credit when you join.

I use a few apps in addition to my QuickBooks invoicing, but many of my clients prefer to receive an email invoice. I use CashApp which currently does not charge for transactions, this product was created by PayPal, and several of my clients use it and like it. The downside is their customer support is not great. Zelle is an app that facilitates bank to bank transfers via email or your mobile number, it easy to use and there are no transaction fees. I use Venmo for my Brainspotting consulting work and currently there are no fees, but Venmo is now launching a business version that will include fees.

When a client is paying with an app, I ask them to use caution and verify my information when sending the first payment and I’ll also offer to request it from them if they prefer. I haven’t had a client send money to the wrong person yet, but I understand from other therapists that it can be hard to resolve.

If an existing client asks me for a fee reduction due to a current financial hardship, I will ask them to pay me via Zelle or CashApp so I can save money on the transaction cost and pass that savings on to my client as part of the reduced rate.

There are so many options for accepting payments and this post could be ten pages long. The bottom line is that I want to offer my clients a convenient, modern way to pay for therapy and I consider these fees to be part of the overall cost of running a service business. If you are feeling frustrated about the high cost of credit card processing, it may be time to raise your fees. I’m interested in hearing about your credit card processing choices. Feel free to reach out to me on Social or better yet give me a call, remember when we used to talk on the phone?

Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP, CGP, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles. She is a Brainspotting Specialist who specializes in trauma and addictions. Maria is a Certified Group Therapist and currently offers three online groups in her practice. She enjoys working with adults who grew up around mentally ill or addictive family members. To learn more, go to  www.mariagray.net.

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