Across the United States and Canada, regulatory boards and agencies waste millions of taxpayer dollars each year as part of the professional licensing process. The reason? Every time they collect a payment as part of that process, they wind up paying more in fees than they should. That’s money that could be directed to other, higher-priority activities but instead just winds up in the pockets of third-party vendors.
Let’s take a closer look at how payments work within professional licensing, why they’re often too expensive, and what you can do about it.
The costly business of processing payments
Around a quarter of all occupations in the U.S. and Canada are regulated. That means that tens of millions of professionals have to acquire and renew documents every year that certify their right to practice their profession. That usually happens through a secure, web-based portal that connects them to the appropriate regulator within their profession and jurisdiction. Of course, every individual licensure activity has an associated cost for obtaining the licensee, including fees for initial applications, registration and other examinations, and license renewal, among others, that vary from profession to profession.
As part of the process of evaluating and approving occupational licenses, regulators are responsible for collecting those fees. Since they’re not payment processors themselves, they typically outsource that function to third-party providers such as authorize.net or other state- or province-specific vendors to verify each payment between the payer (the licensee), the payee (the state agency or provincial regulator), and the financial institution (the bank or credit card company). In exchange, those vendors collect transactional fees for every payment. And while those fees vary, they often range from 2.2% to 3.1% of the cost of the transaction, plus an additional 10 to 30 cents per transaction.
That might not sound like much, but it can quickly add up.
A dental hygienist, for example, might pay a regulator upwards of $1,600 to either apply for or renew their professional license, $500 to $1,000 for registration and other exams, and another $500 in registration and membership fees. If a payment processing company charges a 3% transaction fee and an additional 30 cents per transaction, a state or province with 13,000 active dental hygienists would wrack up roughly $600,000 in payment processing fees per year just to cover that one profession.
Unfortunately, it’s historically been the regulators that cover these fees rather than the licensees, adding a considerable expense to their balance sheets. The good news, at least in Canada, is that new legislation is paving the way for regulators to pass those fees on to the licensee, though I suspect that’s not as widely known as it should be.
How did we get here?
How regulators decide to use one payment processor versus another could be based on a number of factors. In some U.S. states, for example, government agencies are constrained by the payment processing options that other agencies have adopted, including umbrella/central agencies that dictate how payments for a range of other public services are provided. And while regulators in some Canadian provinces are at liberty to select a payment processor of their choosing, the fact is most regulators just don’t give it much thought. Many simply stick with the solutions they inherited from their predecessors or default to the payment processor that larger or adjacent state or provincial agencies prefer.
Plus, regulators are often unaware that less expensive options are even available to them. That’s an important oversight because when you look at the cumulative costs of processing payments for an entire industry within a given jurisdiction, even a percentage point decrease in processing fees makes a real difference. Remember that dental hygienist example from earlier? A one percentage reduction in fees would save the regulator in that case around $40,000. As a regulator, it’s worth looking for opportunities like this to save so that you can allocate more of your budget toward other, higher value work.
Another important point to make here is that the payment processing companies most regulators use aren’t familiar with the specifics of occupational licensing within any particular field. That may not seem like a big deal, but it actually limits their ability to provide proper customer servicing and handling escalations in a one call close.
A better way: Payment processing for regulators, by regulators
To avoid paying excessive fees, regulators should look for other solutions. At Thentia Cloud, we recently launched a payment processing solution called Thentia Cloud Payments that minimizes payment processing fees so that regulators can reduce their costs. Not only that, Thentia Cloud Payments was designed with the needs of modern regulators in mind and reflects our deep familiarity with the nuances of licensing processes across all licensed professions. The result? A fast, easy-to-use solution that will revolutionize the payment processing market and provide agencies with a cost-effective solution to manage their financial transactions.
In addition to lower costs, ease of use, and the domain expertise we bring, some of the other key advantages of Thentia Cloud Payments include:
- One-stop shopping. Because Thentia Cloud is a leading regulatory platform across North America, hundreds of regulatory agencies will now be able to benefit from having a single solution provider for both payment processing and regulatory system management. Even in Canada, where fees can be passed on to licensees, working with a single vendor to manage the licensing process end to end makes a lot of sense.
- Greater security. When it comes to payments, regulatory agencies can’t afford to take any risks. Thentia Cloud Payments includes a range of robust cybersecurity features. The platform deploys rigorous fraud mitigation and security measures to protect your organization, customers, stakeholders, and data.
- Reliability. Thentia Cloud Payments is backed by Elavon, a leading provider of payment processing solutions in the US and Canada with more than a 30-year track record and a stellar reputation.
- Long-term support. We’re committed to your long-term success and will regularly follow up with you to see how we can adjust our services to better meet your evolving needs. We’re your partner and will be there to help at every step along the way.
Getting set up on Thentia Payments Cloud is also fast and can often be completed in as little as 48 hours. If you’re spending too much on payment processing fees, now is the time to explore better, more cost-effective solutions.
To learn more about how Thentia Cloud Payments can benefit regulatory agencies, download Thentia Cloud Payments Product Brochure, or book a demo to get a personalized ROI and cost assessment with one of our one of our payments specialists.
About the Author:
About the Author:
Account Executive, Thentia Payments
Meet Leonard Fernandez, an accomplished payment processing specialist with a decade of experience in the payments industry. As an Account Executive at Thentia Cloud Payments, Leonard brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.
Prior to joining Thentia, Leonard honed his skills in human capital management and payroll management during his successful tenures at ADP and Bank of America Merchant Services. He then transitioned into the exciting world of payments, contributing to the growth and development of prominent companies such as Greenbits and Blaze.
Leonard’s extensive experience and deep understanding of the industry has earned him a well-deserved reputation as a trusted advisor and valued partner to his clients. He is passionate about leveraging his expertise to help businesses of all sizes navigate the complexities of payment processing, delivering tangible results and measurable value.