Cerbo currently offers integrations with two merchant services partners: Stripe and Bluefin. These communicate with Cerbo via an API, meaning that once you set up your Stripe or Bluefin account and we connect to it, you continue to handle billing inside Cerbo, rather than having to go to an external website or application.


Each billing service has different strengths and drawbacks, and most of our clients find one that works better for their specific business needs.


Bluefin

Bluefin is a traditional merchant services partner with a cost-plus billing setup (rate varies by type of card used, card present/not-present, etc.) that is typically quite competitive, particularly if you are able to process a significant portion of your transactions via the card swiper in the office. The Bluefin integration supports:

  • Credit card payments, including keyed in transactions, saved card transactions, and swiped card transactions (lower merchant services rate, you would purchase the swiper hardware through Bluefin)
  • Patients can securely enter their payment information and make payments toward an account balance via the Invoices & Payments tab of the Patient Portal
  • ACH payments (in beta)
  • Recurring subscriptions (indefinite until you cancel)
  • Automated payment plans (automated payments which apply toward a specific charge or can be used to create an unallocated credit in the patient's account)


In general, Bluefin is more tightly and fully integrated with Cerbo than Stripe is. We recommend Bluefin for clinics that:

  • Need to use payment plans (automated payments that apply toward a specific charge or can be used to create an unallocated credit in the patient's account that is available to apply to specific charges), instead of just simple recurring subscriptions (subscription charge and payment are linked and payment is not available to apply to other charges).
  • Would benefit from using the card swiper to take advantage of the lower merchant services rate for swiped transactions.
  • Use ACH.
  • Sell supplements.


See here to request a quote or get started with Bluefin.


Stripe

Stripe has a simple billing structure and is a quick set-up for your practice. They charge per transaction with no monthly fee (as of this writing, 2.9% +  $.30 per transaction) and no monthly processing minimums, which can make it a good choice for practices with very low transaction volumes. You can manage patient recurring subscriptions via your integrated Stripe account in Cerbo. 


The Stripe integration supports:

  • Credit card payments, including keyed in transactions and saved card transactions, BUT NOT swiped card transactions (lower merchant services rate)
  • Patients can securely enter their payment information and make payments toward an account balance via the Invoices & Payments tab of the Patient Portal
  • Credit card payment information can be collected in the online new patient registration form
  • Recurring subscriptions (may be indefinite until you cancel OR a fixed number of occurrences). Note that Stripe subscriptions register in Cerbo as an inextricably linked charge and payment, meaning that Stripe subscription payments CANNOT be applied towards other charges in the patient's chart. 

The Stripe integration DOES NOT support:

  • Automated payment plans (automated payments which apply toward a specific charge or can be used to create an unallocated credit in the patient's account)
  • Swiped credit card transactions
  • ACH payments
  • Clinics that sell supplements, or offer telemedicine services. This generates a fraud alert in their system and they may suspend your account without warning (this can happen even though Cerbo is separate from the website/online storefront where the supplements are sold).


See here for more info on getting started with Stripe.

 

Note About Supplement Sales

The underlying processing networks of most credit cards do not support the sale of supplements via their networks.  Supplements are lumped into a single category of "pseudo-pharmaceuticals" that contains everything from nutriceuticals to diet pills, and businesses who sell them are marked (often unfairly) as a high risk to processors.  Despite this label, supplement sales through normal merchant service channels continue to occur, but note that there is the risk of your business being marked as high risk for fraudulent activity, despite your track record. Stripe has a history of being particularly aggressive about auditing and closing accounts on this basis.


Connecting to Cerbo

Once you have an account with Bluefin or Stripe, we need to access that account. For Stripe, we ask that you post the public and private API keys on a sticky note inside your EMR, then let us know by email so that we can go in and retrieve them. DO NOT send via email, as this is sensitive information and email is not secure. For Bluefin, they generally inform us of the necessary information, but you may post your API key on a sticky note inside your EMR when you receive it, then let us know by email, to be doubly sure that we get the necessary information.


Using a Non-Integrated Merchant Services Processor

You do not need to use one of our integrated merchant services providers. If you have a particularly amazing rate elsewhere, or otherwise prefer to continue to use a separate merchant services processor, you may do so. The drawbacks would be:

  • You will not be able to store patient payment information in the EHR, and patients cannot entier their payment information or pay their balance via the Patient Portal. When you are using an integrated merchant services provider, payment info is securely transmitted to and stored by the merchant services provider - our system ONLY sees the payor name, last 4 of the card number, and expiration date. It is against payment industry regulations - and exposes you to a high risk of liability - to store payment information in unencrypted format (e.g., in a free text note in the patient's chart in Cerbo).
  • If you want to track charges and payments in Cerbo (e.g., for generating superbills), using a separate merchant services processor would involve double-entry of this information into Cerbo and your chosen merchant services system.