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Top 10 questions to ask your medical payments provider

Today’s global medical service stakeholders have high expectations when paying or being paid for international care or services, which can be logistically challenging and costly to administer. The right payments partner can make a big difference for your medical organization and offer payers and payees choice.

With new technological innovations spurred by the current and next normal in the COVID-19 world, the international payments landscape is changing faster than ever, giving customers a rapidly expanding number of ways to pay or be repaid. Individuals and businesses are looking for flexibility, choice, and ultimately a better purchasing experience. Payers want a solution that is convenient, accessible, and seamless to use on any device. As your institution evolves to deliver on these expectations, choosing the right international payments provider can be an overwhelming task. The right payments partner can make a big difference for your organization as you ever improve the financial and clinical experience. Choosing the wrong payments provider can put at risk your institution’s reputation and your medical customer’s funds.


Here are the top ten questions to ask your international payments provider:


1. Can your partner meet all your incoming and outgoing payment needs, allowing you to receive and send funds internationally?
Accounts receivable and payable teams devote endless hours to chasing missing funds, reconciling payments, struggling to return credits to the original source, paying high fees to send payments abroad, and answering medical customer queries. Your payments provider should enable you to manage incoming payments from your international medical customers and allow you to make outgoing international refunds and other medical services payments, often with no additional fees to either party. This option streamlines the payment experience and reduces the cost for your institution by avoiding manual reconciliation of each transaction.


2. Does the provider of your international payments offer many options through its own in-country bank accounts or do they rely solely on third-party banking relationships to deliver their local currency capability?
Although it may not seem necessary, this feature can help with the cost and speed of international payment processing. Rather than have each payment travel through multiple third-party financial institutions for exchange, funds can be direct deposited and transferred with ease by credit card, banking portal, or wire transfer through a local account held by the payment’s provider in the medical customer’s home country.

3. Is your partner a licensed money transmitter that can support your global payment needs?
Choosing your service provider for collecting foreign medical payments and processing refunds and other payables is crucial. In the U.S., licensed money transmitters can offer a full range of incoming and outgoing payment services. Moving money around the world can be complicated, requiring compliance with a whole array of U.S. and foreign regulations and requirements designed to prevent money laundering and fraud. Licensed providers have both the compliance experience and the necessary licensing to fully meet your needs and best protect your medical customers and your institution.

4. Can your payments provider easily integrate with the organization’s existing system?
Your international payments provider should seamlessly integrate with all major platform technology providers, such as PeopleSoft, Oracle, and many others. This allows international wire payments to be timely applied to medical account balances, ensuring transaction completion within one system. Your organization often realize savings in money and time while delivering additional payment options for your medical customers.

5. Do you have proof that your partner is financially stable?
Private companies are not required to publish their financial statements or provide customers or the public with audited financial statements. Do you have proof that your partner has the size and the financial strength and stability to withstand any significant changes in the market? Economic downturns and business failures are an inevitable part of the global marketplace and are especially prevalent in these times. A provider’s untimely business failure or disruption during a market downturn could impact your ability to receive payments promptly or even result in a loss of funds. This can affect the organizations’ reputation, its ability to attract international medical customers and impact a provider in other unforeseeable, negative ways. By working with a provider that is part of a public company with publicly-available, audited financial statements you can review and monitor the financial strength of your provider and have confidence that your medical customers’ money and your reputation are not at risk.

6. Does your international payments provider have a fraud prevention program in place?
A good payment provider will be knowledgeable about the risks of payment fraud and have a program in place to help clients detect and prevent fraud on a global scale. Unfortunately, international medical customers can be targeted by fraudsters hoping to steal money set aside for service costs. Does your provider have a dedicated team to protect clients from fraud and to work with the client to recover the funds if fraud does occur? Look for providers with fraud-fighting specialists with a proven track record. Partner with a trusted provider that can analyze and accept payments in the payer's or payee’s home country, while providing an easy to use platform that permits tracking of their payment status.

7. Does the international payments provider carry sufficient amounts of insurance to protect against certain losses?
Operating technology platforms, receiving and storing personal data, and processing medical customer funds involve many risks, including the risk of internal fraud, third party fraud, and cyber incidents. Does your provider carry insurance that covers any of these items?

8. Is your provider meeting regulatory and/or industry standards related to the processing of data and the protection of privacy?
Both medical providers and payment processors are subject to several strict regulations and compliance standards relating to the processing of data, and the protection of privacy. Your payments provider must demonstrate that it has qualified personnel and sufficient expertise and controls in place to comply with such requirements. They need to be an expert in this area and serve as an asset in your ongoing efforts to adhere to these rules.

9. Will you receive payment quickly, after a medical customer initiates a transfer? Will the solution automatically link messages and reports related to medical customer payments to their account records?
Simplify the payment process for international medical customers and accounts receivable and payable staff so you can limit manual work. Not only will automated options save time, but they will also reduce errors. Receiving timely payment of outstanding balances from medical customers can be a challenging and inefficient process. Effective and timely engagement is the key to successfully receiving payments for service and account clearance or sending purchasing payments abroad. Ideally, your provider can help you communicate with medical customers in all scenarios before a payment is missed.

10. Can both the medical customer and your organization have complete access to payment tracking?
Payment reconciliation output needs to be easy for both the medical customer and the accounting staff. To reduce confusion, medical customers should be able to use their account ID number, since they are likely using it for other administrative tasks. This unique identifier will also help internal staff match payments to their correct enrollee. If both parties can easily check a payment’s status online it will reduce the tedious paperwork and phone calls normally associated with reconciliation.


Whether you are receiving deposits or balance payments from a medical customer in India, making a supply or equipment purchase in China, or sending funds in-country to business development staff in Mexico, make sure the provider of your international payment can answer yes to all of these crucial questions. Western Union Business Solutions allows you to simplify international medical customer payments, give medical buyers and sellers a seamless payment experience, and expand your expansion strategy and efforts into new markets with access to new global payment corridors. In today’s uncertain climate, your international commerce must be scrutinized and processed by a trusted partner. We bring a serious commitment to regulatory compliance, aiming to confirm that every single transaction is above board and reflects your commitment to excellence in all aspects.

 

About Western Union Business Solutions

Western Union Business Solutions enables companies of all sizes to send and receive cross-border payments and manage foreign exchange. With deep expertise in moving funds around the globe, access to over 130 currencies, and a global financial network spanning more than 200 countries and territories, we help companies spend less time managing international financial transactions and more time growing their businesses.
 
We have extensive experience working with clients in a variety of sectors, including import and export, wine and spirits, agriculture, mining, and non-profit. We also offer customized solutions for medical, education, legal, and financial institutions.
 
Western Union Business Solutions is one of the world’s leading providers of cross-border business payments. Western Union Business Solutions operates through locally licensed affiliates in more than 30 countries.
 

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