Healthcare professionals are as busy as they’ve ever been despite the chaotic events of 2020. Though offices have endured temporary closures and other unforeseen obstacles due to COVID-19, providers continue to do their best to improve the care they offer their patients.

Weave recently commissioned an independent survey of 750 healthcare practices and their clients in order to understand what successful providers are doing to maintain and even enhance their customer service. One of the major findings of the survey is the relevance and utility of contactless payments on today’s market.

Contactless payments are ideal for healthcare professionals and patients that are constantly on the run. In-person, traditional payments have a number of drawbacks in today’s climate. Adding contactless payment options to your healthcare practice allows you to process practically any payment.

This blog post couples the findings of our independent survey with a description of how contactless payments work. Contactless payments fit within a complete payment platform, which in turn functions together with a host of communication tools for healthcare practices.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of contactless payments and a complete payment platform.

Give your practice a competitive advantage

Contactless payments give healthcare providers a leg up on their competition. According to the results of our survey, 70% of practices say contactless payments are a competitive advantage, especially during the pandemic. Contactless payments supplement and even replace the conventional ways of collecting payments offices have relied on for decades.

What are contactless payments? There are two main options within contactless payments: mobile wallets, which are provided through tech companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung; and text payments, which are requests distributed by your office over text message. Either way, contactless payments rely on smartphones rather than cash, checks, or cards.

text phone payment request received

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Improve the patient experience

In general, contactless payments work to help your clients have a more positive experience with your office in spite of all the challenges created by COVID-19. 70% of healthcare providers in our survey claimed contactless payments improve the customer experience. This statistic indicates a strong correlation between contactless payments leading to quality customer service and contactless payments being a competitive advantage.

There are a number of reasons contactless payments improve the patient experience. For one, they allow staff to request payments and customers to make payments while on the run. Second, contactless payments let your office promote optimal social distancing. Finally, contactless payments meet the preferences of a new generation of patients.

Have a high-growth mindset

Because contactless payments are both a competitive advantage and an improvement of the patient experience, high-growth practices are hoping to transition to them and away from credit cards. Those practices that identified as “high-growth” were 41% more likely than “low-growth” practices to say they want to transition to more contactless payments.

Contactless payments are important for short-term and long-term growth. Right now, many customers are looking for practices that are willing to do everything they can to protect clients from the threat of COVID-19. Although the virus may eventually disappear from the landscape, other trends aren’t going away anytime soon. For example, patients under the age of 35 have a clear preference for handling business with providers by text rather than by call. Contactless payments are a move toward increased texting with clients.

man paying on phone with text link

Promote social distancing

In the short-term, COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be going away very quickly. As government and public health officials grapple with the complications of the pandemic, providers can do their part by adding contactless payments to their office’s payment options. 73% of healthcare practices say contactless payments support social distancing.

Many healthcare offices have set up curbside waiting rooms to reduce the number of patients in the office at one time and to prevent community spread in the waiting rooms. In order to mirror this protocol after appointments, offices should send payment requests by text instead of having patients stop at the front desk. This level of social distancing protects both employees and customers from germs, viruses, and diseases.

Meet renewed demand for contactless payments

Since contactless payments allow providers to easily promote and enforce social distancing guidelines, practices have seen an uptick in demand for mobile wallets and text payments. 71% of healthcare practices in our survey said COVID-19 has increased the demand for Text to Pay.

Text to Pay is Weave’s own contactless payment feature. It lets healthcare practices send a customized payment request by text to patients following appointments. Clients can click the link to a payment site, allowing them to pay for services from the parking lot or the comfort of their own home.

Consolidate payments on one platform

Some healthcare providers may be slow to adopt contactless payments because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of adding them to their other payment options. That’s why 69% of practices want their payment processing and merchant services brought together on one complete platform.

In the video below, you will see how Weave works as one complete platform for collecting payments, and much more.

Watch How Weave Payments is just one tool from our handy business toolbox

A complete payment platform lets your office process payments on the run while also facilitating traditional, in-person payments. A single payment platform gets rid of upfront and monthly fees that can confuse even the most experienced office administrators. Digital payments and point-of-sale transactions can work in tandem to meet the needs of your entire clientele base.

Keep your options open

A surprising number of healthcare clients know about contactless payments and want their provider to transition to contactless checkout. 67% of the patients in our survey indicated they would like to see a move toward contactless checkout. Practices that refuse to offer contactless checkouts are ignoring the desires and undermining the loyalty of their patients.

At the same time, providers should be cautious to completely abandon conventional payment methods. A significant percentage of clients still prefer point-of-sale transactions. They want to hand over cash, sign a check, or swipe a credit card. A complete payment platform will allow for this sort of payment processing even as a practice pushes and promotes contactless payments.

Mitigate client risk

Contactless payments are a tool for practices that want their clients to feel less at-risk while visiting their offices. 64% of the healthcare clients interviewed in the survey said they feel safer at healthcare facilities that offer contactless payments. Mobile wallets and features like Text to Pay should be another weapon in your arsenal for fighting COVID-19.

Along with contactless payments, mask wearing, handwashing, and social distancing, clients also said credit card tap options and plexiglass dividers help them feel safe. Credit card tap options require less physical contact with payment terminals than swiping or inserting a chip. Plexiglass dividers have become incredibly popular since the outbreak began, and create a layer of separation between front desk workers and customers.

Ditch dirty terminals

A majority of patients want practices to convert to contactless payments because it doesn’t take much imagination to think of all the hands that touch a payment terminal on a typical day. Although many healthcare providers are asking their employees to wipe down terminals after each use, there’s no guarantee that workers are always remembering to take this step. 43% of healthcare clients say payment portals are riskier in healthcare settings than in other places.

Of course, customers consider a few places riskier than doctors’ offices. Grocery stores, big box stores (WalMart, CostCo, etc.), and mass transit kiosks are considered the riskiest places to be touching a credit card payment portal. This type of data goes to show how consumers are thinking about public health concerns in the new normal. Alleviate fear surrounding dirty payment terminals by transitioning to contactless payments.

Process any payment with Weave

The survey of 750 healthcare providers and clients we commissioned gives insights into how contactless payments benefit contemporary practices. Processing payments on the run may have been a more valuable attribute prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the new normal, the convenience of contactless payments is less important than the safety of contactless payments.

Text to Pay is a contactless payment feature that allows your office to initiate contactless checkouts. Patients feel considerably safer when they can avoid payment terminals and the front desk after appointments. Text to Pay also anticipates larger communication trends toward increasing client contact rates by utilizing text messages.

Text to Pay doesn’t have to exist at the exclusion of other payment options. Weave Payments is a complete payment platform, letting customers pay with cash, checks, credit cards, and mobile wallets. This array of options keeps those clients with traditional preferences happy as your practice transitions toward contactless options.

Weave Payments is just one tool from our business toolbox. Our combination of hardware and software solutions are designed to optimize your calls, scheduling, online reviews, email marketing, and practice analytics. Being able to process any payment is only one way to prepare your office for the future.

To find out more about Weave Payments or any of our other communication tools, contact us for a free demo today.