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You Do Not Have to Accept Virtual Credit Cards as Payment!

March 08, 2021

You Do Not Have to Accept Virtual Credit Cards as Payment!
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Virtual Credit Cards (VCC) are a mechanism by which some insurance companies may attempt to pay your practice for medical services. Insurance companies and other third-party payors send these single-use 16-digit credit card numbers via mail, fax or email as payment.

Did you know that there are additional fees associated with these types of digital transactions? 

  • The fees can be as high as 6%!
  • The virtual cards must be manually keyed into a credit card processing system, taking up valuable staff resources and time.
  • The money isn’t always immediately available. Sometimes it can take up to five days for the transfer.


The Affordable Care Act mandated the creation of the Healthcare EFT standard, which requires that healthcare payors pay healthcare claim payments electronically using HIPAA standards if requested by the healthcare provider. Thus, health plans, or any of their clearinghouses or payment-related vendors, are required to offer an EFT payment option, which is generally quicker and more cost-effective than VCCs for providers.

According to the AMA, “ … all health plans are required to use ACH EFT to pay physicians that request and register for this payment method. Physicians looking to enroll in EFT payments should contact their health plans." The Electronic Funds Transfer Toolkit from the AMA is a comprehensive resource for physicians and practice staff.  

Consider updating your practice's policy and procedures regarding the use or rejection of VCC payments. Include instructions to the staff member about how to opt-out of VCC payments. If the staff member calls the payor directly, follow up with a faxed or mailed letter to ensure that complete EFT payment is received timely. 

Contact Natalie Cohen, MBA, MHA, LAMMICO Practice Management Specialist at 504.841.2727 or for more information.

This is not legal advice, and is not intended to substitute for individualized business or financial judgment. It does not dictate exclusive methods and is not applicable to all circumstances.

Revenue Cycle Management consists of effective billing, payment and collection policies and procedures. If a patient is unhappy in any way with the care they received, billing errors or aggressive collection activities could undermine the physician-patient relationship and become the impetus for the patient to file a malpractice claim. Effective revenue cycle management can help mitigate your malpractice and compliance risks.

Previously published in October 2017. This content is accurate as of March 17, 2021. ​

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