Private Practice Success

Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP

Choosing the Right Credit Card Provider
by Maria Gray

Last year I wrote an article about credit cards. This is a follow up to that article based on a Facebook discussion initiated by Jackie Meltz, PsyD, LCSW. The group had a lively online discussion about the pros and cons of taking credit cards and which vendors charge the best rates. I am not endorsing any particular vendor or method, I’m offering you some information, so you can make your own decision. Keep in mind that the rates quoted in this article may have changed since the date of publication.

Should I take credit cards or not?
During our Facebook discussion, several therapists mentioned that they only accept cash or checks. Instead of using cards, one therapist offers his clients the option to pay him using the bill pay functionality included in online banking. Others said they were planning to stop taking cards due to the high cost of annual fees.

If you want to offer this service to your clients, make sure your rate is high enough to offset the cost. For example, if the rate you’d like to net is $174.48 an hour (I know that is an odd number) and you are using Stripe, you will need to charge $180.00, because the fee is 2.9% plus 30 cents, $5.52. I offer my full fee clients the opportunity to pay by credit card. When I offer a client a sliding scale rate, I ask that they pay by cash or check, this allows me to slide a little bit lower since I am not paying the credit card fee.

I realize that taking credit cards may have clinical implications for clients who struggle with money and debting issues, and I explore these issues with my clients.

Which vendor should I choose?
When I calculated my annual credit card fees, I realized that I could save money and have a more integrated solution (able to generate monthly receipts automatically) if I used QuickBooks, since I am already a QuickBooks customer. I am in the process of testing this new solution. I was very happy with my previous vendor Stripe, and had no problems with their technology.

Other vendors to consider include: Costco, Payline Data, and TSYS. Many banks offer lower rates for credit card processing for their customers, however, their card swiping technology is sometimes outdated.

Below is a small sample of vendors and rates. I encourage you to review the rates and speak with the vendor directly, so you can make an informed decision.

Vendor Swiped
Hand Keyed
 Square 2.9%
+15 cents
3.75%  no  
Go  Pay Tier 1
QuickBooks GoPay Tier 2 (accountant is QuickBooks Pro)
+ 25 cents1.5%
+ 25 cents plus
a monthly
fee of $20
+25 cents3.1%
+ 25 cents plus
a monthly
fee of $20
QuickBooks offers two different rate tiers based on whether your accountant is a QuickBooks Pro . Integrated with QuickBooks accounting software to allow automated generation
of invoices.
 Pay Pal 2.9%
+ 30 cents
+ 15 cents
 Stripe 2.9%
+ 30 cents
+ 30 cents
no Bundled with Simple Practice software to allow simple generation of invoices. No need to swipe your clients card, simply enter the data
into the system once.
 Ivy Pay 2.75% 2.75% no  


Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP is a psychotherapist in private practice with offices in West LA and Larchmont. Maria specializes in trauma and addiction. To learn more about Maria’s practice see Maria’s workshop, “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Building A Profitable Private Practice But Were Afraid To Ask,” is scheduled throughout the year on Saturdays. The workshop is suitable for licensed professionals, interns and students. To register, go to