Making The Switch

Entering The Digital Age Of Payments

If you've been thinking about paying clinical research subjects electronically using an online payment platform and prepaid cards, you're definitely onto something. Millions of people are opting for prepaid cards for a variety of reasons. As the prepaid card industry continues to mature, providers are becoming more specialized in the markets they serve and the products they provide. This specialization gives providers a deeper understanding of what their market wants and allows providers to custom develop payment solutions and provide greater value to their customers and cardholders.

But how do you go about making the switch? It ultimately depends on your situation – if you’re looking to pay just a few people a small one time payment without using checks, cash or money orders, you should consider your local grocery store’s "card mall". Here you will find some generic, no frill options that may satisfy your needs. However, if you want a scalable, cost-effective payment solution designed specifically for the life science industry, your best bet is a specialty prepaid card solution provider.

Before you decide though, take a look at the following things you will need to know before launch. Keep in mind that you won't need to do everything all at once, but in order to make your program a success, you should definitely think about how to fit them into your strategy.

1. Decide Who You Want To Pay Electronically

Do you have a company wide initiative to pay everyone electronically? How about specific studies where an electronic payment solution would be perfect? Whatever the case, the first step in paying electronically is to decide who you want to pay and why. It's important to define the goal so you can implement the right strategies and tactics to achieve that goal.

2. Decide Which Type Of Prepaid Card Is Best For You

The two predominate types of prepaid cards available are "open loop" and "closed loop". Open loop prepaid cards carry a Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express logo and can be used to make purchases or pay bills anywhere these card networks are accepted. Closed loop prepaid cards, in contrast, are typically issued by a single merchant and can only be used to make purchases back at the merchant's store locations.

Open loop, reloadable prepaid cards are ideal for organizations paying individuals who will receive more than one payment. Not only is this card type more cost-effective and secure for the organization, but it is preferred by payees since they can receive all of their payments onto one card and do not have to worry about keeping track of multiple cards and balances.

3. Choose Your Rollout Strategy

Once you've decided which prepaid card type is best for you, it's time to decide how you want to rollout your program. Your provider should have several rollout strategies for you to consider along with communication materials to announce the program and educate end users. You will also need to consider who will have access to the card inventory from the time it is shipped from your prepaid card provider to the time the card lands in your payees hand. Each additional touch point is a potential bottleneck so work closely with your provider to determine the best approach for your organization. In addition to managing the card inventory, you will also need to determine who will be able to load cards. Do you go with a centralized approach or a decentralized approach. Again, this depends on your organization and your goals.

Your provider should have the experience necessary to ensure a smooth rollout. If you're rollout flops and payees become disgruntled, you're likely to be stuck paying with cash and checks for a while longer. To that point, it is critical to make sure that your managers and employees understand how the program works in addition to the research subjects or investigators being paid. Representatives from your organization should test the payment system and get comfortable using the card before you rollout the program. This way, if a payee has a question, your representatives can talk from experience and provide a quick and helpful answer. With the rollout of any new program, communication is always paramount.

4. Implement Your Prepaid Card Program

After you've chosen your prepaid card type and rollout strategy, it's time to select a provider that best suits your needs and implement your prepaid card program.

Converting to an electronic payment solution is an extremely rewarding process that will continue to pay off as time passes. If you invest your efforts and energy, paying electronically can quickly become a huge contributor to streamlining your operations. Keep in mind that the above was a comprehensive overview of the major points of paying electronically. If you can't afford a fully integrated, company wide, electronic payment system out of the gates, that's not a problem. As your business grows, so will your ability to capitalize on different electronic payment tactics.

Fortunately, CT Payer offers an easy to use online client portal designed specifically for clinical trials and the life science industry that can even be integrated with your accounting, CTMS or EDC systems to trigger payments automatically. Join the other research organizations who have achieved their business goals by implementing a payment solution with CT Payer.