Why Are So Many Clinics Going Cashless?

While the pandemic thrust many businesses forward in terms of their adaptation to technology, and removed cash payments as an option (temporarily) to prevent hand-to-hand exchanges, many health and medical clinics had already chosen to go “cashless” long before this – and even more are choosing to do so now. But why – isn’t this limiting and reducing access for some health consumers? And can uptaking more cashless payment options actually add any value to your business?

 

The “Cashless” Trend

Looking at data and reports from around the world within the medical field, there seem to be a fair few reasons why clinics have chosen to uptake this trend. These include:

 

Administrative time

Accepting cash payments requires a lot of administrative time, whether that’s physically accepting the money and counting out the change, physically going to the bank to make deposits, or always ensuring you have enough of the right change available. And for some clinics, that time is not an expense they’re willing to continue to expend – instead being happy to offset any small fees imposed by card companies with this administrative time, which often carries a level of unpredictability, like if a bank is busy or something goes wrong with the transaction or receipt collection, skyrocketing the time required to resolve the issue. Perhaps it’s the reliability and consistency with the time associated with digital payments that add further appeal.

 

“Cash has legs”

It’s what no one wants to say – but it’s a reality faced by many clinics. Cash can be withdrawn from the till, it’s not uncommon for small amounts of cash to be left unaccounted for at the end of the day, employees may use the cash for office coffee runs where the change provided may not add up, and there can be user error in taking cash too – most often in favour of the customer if incorrect cash change amounts are provided – with no insight or accountability as to where the money has gone or by whom. Going digital gives you full traceability and transparency about exactly where the money is going, and any errors identified can quickly be traced so that they can be remedied. 

 

Data says cash is on the out

Back in 2017 and 2019, 96% of people confirmed that cash was one of the payment options they may use. In 2020, this dropped to 70%. In 2021? Only 8% of New Zealanders still use cash as their primary form of payment, with only 63% of kiwis using cash at all for any payments. So the data shows that the tendency to use cash only continues to decline – and with many companies and clinics strategically optimising their processes and services, they’ve been guided by this data to ditch cash, noting the various administrative benefits they stand to gain from the process.

 

Interestingly, this shift is in line with the shifts being made by the banks, with the amount of ATMs available for cash withdrawals having significantly reduced over recent years.

 

More payment options are coming in

For those wondering about the 8% of people who still do rely on cash, many clinics justify the change by the expansion of their overall payment options, even if a cash option has been removed. Aside from the standard EFTPOS and credit card options, there are now plenty of alternatives like Buy Now Pay Later – meaning that health consumers don’t even need to have all the money required to access a health service available in their account before they access it – and have their health providers receive their payments in full. 

 

Cashless Payments Via The HealthNow App

HealthNow is a health savings and payment platform that is dedicated to making healthcare more accessible for everyone – regardless of their financial circumstances. HealthNow is cashless, operating entirely from an innovative and intuitive app that allows healthcare consumers to pay for their medical services and products in three simple, cashless and on-the-spot ways:

  • Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL): BNPL with HealthNow is different to other traditional platforms, operating ethically with the goal of genuinely advancing the health of its users. It works by, at the time of payment, allowing users to spread the cost of their healthcare services over up to twelve weeks, meaning that they only pay a fraction of the upfront cost on the day. There are no fees or interest associated with having a HealthNow account as a health consumer, with only the potential of small fees (less than any other BNPL option) if payments run overdue. HealthNow operates with social responsibility, integrity, and meets a higher level of regulatory compliance than traditional BNPL platforms, operating within the Credit Contracts And Consumer Finance Act (2003).
  • Employer Aid: as unemployment rates plummet and recruiting (and retaining) suitable employees becomes more difficult, many businesses are now choosing to support their employees as part of their employment package by contributing funds to a dedicated digital health wallet for their employees to spend on the health services they need – without the restrictions, strict policies, or annual limits of private insurance policies. Employers can choose the number of funds contributed and their frequency. The freedom employer aid payments offer can be health-changing for people and families. The funds allow employees to do everything from seeking help for health fears or concerns that are still at a pre-diagnostic level (may not be formally diagnosed yet or display acute symptoms, but the person has genuine concerns that are affecting their mental, emotional or physical health on the issue), to being able to purchase nutritional supplements, thermometers and other pharmacy products. The funds can also be used for unwell family members – because our own health can be very closely tied to the health of our family, something that regular insurance plans do not acknowledge in their black-and-white approach. Employer aid is used in a similar way to an EFTPOS transaction, but done through opening and scanning the HealthNow app. Again, it is completely free for health consumers.
  • Health Saver Wallet: with the cost of living at an all-time high and discretionary funds at an all-time low, many people are also recognising the need to start putting away funds dedicated to health services for the entire family. Having this in a separate bank account not only poses accessibility issues, but also risks being withdrawn to be spent on other expenses, draining the funds available to help look after a family’s health, both proactively and reactively. This is where HealthNow offers a dedicated online health wallet, the funds of which can only be used on health and medical-related products and services for any member of the family. 

 

Clinics love partnering with HealthNow because:

 

Get Paid Anywhere, Anytime: HealthNow offers seamless, contactless and fully secure payments regardless of whether your patient is visiting you at a central clinic, a remote clinic, a home visit or a telehealth consultation.

  • Same-Day Payments: Clinics get paid in full on the same day for every product or service rendered, without exhausting their administrative time or repeatedly chasing payments.
  • Full Versatility: Patients choose the payment method that best reflects their circumstances on the day – whether that’s paying in full, or spreading the payments over up to twelve weeks.
  • Better Health For All: Accessing diagnostics and treatment earlier and without stressing about the immediate availability of funds promotes improved health outcomes for all.
  • Health Wallet & Employer Aid: Patients can utilise funds contributed by themselves, their families or their employers to pay for your services directly from their HealthNow wallet.

 

Ready to get started with HealthNow for your clinic? Start by signing up here.

 

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