Debunk these 3 myths about third-party payment plans


Clear up the confusion about this oft-misunderstood resource to help your clients pay for services.

You've probably experienced this scenario in your veterinary practice: A client's dog needs an expensive surgery, but she's not sure how she'll pay for it. She doesn't have pet insurance or the necessary cash. You offer her information about third-party payment plans, but she's reluctant. She goes home to think about it, and you wonder if you'll ever hear from her again.

Everyone's managing their budget more carefully, and that includes your clients. But instead of running from third-party payment plans, clients could be embracing them. Here are the three biggest myths about these plans—and what you can do to debunk them.

Myth 1: It's a hassle to sign up. Assuming the procedure isn't an emergency, clients don't have to sign up in your clinic. Most third-party lenders will let clients apply online after they've had a chance to weigh their options. Or, if they'd rather have your help, you can offer to complete the application with them.

Myth 2: I'll be charged exorbitant interest fees. Clients pay interest with a regular credit card, but that's not always the case with a veterinary-specific card. Many cards offer a few months of interest-free payments—a perk that can help them pay for expensive procedures without racking up even more debt.

Myth 3: The plan probably won't cover the services my pet needs anyway. Different plans offer different types of credit, so clients should study the fine print and determine what will work best for their pet's needs. The plans exist to help clients pay for the care their animals need, so most clients who apply find them beneficial, says Lorraine Monheiser List, CPA, owner of Summit Veterinary Advisors in Littleton, Colo.

It's never easy for clients to hear that their pet needs thousands of dollars worth of veterinary services, but helping clients understand their financial options can lift some of the weight off their shoulders. That's the first step to helping your patients get the care they need.

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