Why Payment Methods other than Credit Cards Matter to your Pharmacy

rms-pharmacy-pos-lady-with-money-1.jpgIt’s easy to forget that there are methods of payment that don’t involve plastic.  Credit and debit cards certainly may account for a good portion, likely even a majority, of the transactions processed in your pharmacy, but they certainly aren’t the be all and end all when it comes to accepting payments. 

Although many experts cite the dwindling use of cash and checks, they certainly aren’t negligible forms of payment.  It’s important to pay attention to how your pharmacy POS system handles these, and other payment methods.  If it’s not just as easy for your customers to pay with cash or check as it is with a credit card, you risk alienating those customers that don’t default to a card payment.  Here are some important methods of payment to keep in mind and some features to look for in any pharmacy point-of-sale system. 


Checks:  There are some inherent risks with accepting checks.  If you’ve ever had a problem with returned checks, you may be a little wary.  Plus, they take more on the back end to handle than other methods of payment and can slow down the checkout line because the customer has to take time to write the check. But there are ways to mitigate your risk and make life easier all at the same time.  Check verification systems or check security systems that are integrated with your Pharmacy POS system can limit the risk you carry when accepting a check.  Security systems check against a known list of bad accounts to determine whether a check is safe to accept. Verification systems can actually verify funds available in the account and process the transactions electronically.  Of course these options do represent an additional cost for check processing, so if returned checks aren’t a huge deal for your pharmacy you can use the check security settings your POS system should have.  Within the RMS system you can track checks written by customers, mark checks as NSF, and even control the value and number of checks that specific customers can write.  Last but not least, you can minimize how much time the process to write and endorse checks takes at the register.  Receipt printers are available that can allow you to endorse the front and back of checks with the push of a button.  All your customer has to do is sign the check and then the rest can be done automatically! 

Cash: This seems pretty simple right?  Just tell the clerk how much change to give and be done with it.  Why even bother to talk about cash?  But cash handling, handled improperly, can result in big problems for your pharmacy.  Make sure that the cash management functionality makes sense to you and is easy to use.  You need to be able to quickly balance your drawers and subsequently track overages and shortages.  Dual drawer functionality is helpful so that multiple clerks can use the same register on the same shift but still be responsible for their own individual cash drawers.  Also, check for settings that allow you to leave the change due amount on the screen until the cash drawer is actually closed.  When it comes to cash handling, it’s really the little things that streamline your processes.

Payroll deduction:  This feature is becoming much more popular, especially among larger institutions.  Offering automatic deduction of pharmacy purchases from employees’ paychecks encourages employees to use the pharmacy and means happier employees.  (Stay tuned for a special upcoming article about payroll deduction in the coming weeks!)

Accounts Receivable: House charges used to be a common method of payment in the pharmacy industry.  And while it’s certainly lost some momentum in recent years there are still many RMS customers using A/R to great effect. POS integrated accounts receivable means that everything is charged, tracked, billed and paid right through your POS system.  At RMS, we can email your statements right to your customers, and even integrate with a service that can print, stuff and mail all of your statements for you. 

While we may not actively think about these features every day, they are an integral part of making the day run smoothly in your pharmacy and they are definitely worth taking the time to think about with any POS purchase.