Few things strike terror into the hearts of orthodontists and TCs more than the idea of asking people for their bank account or credit card info to set up a recurring payment. One possible exception is the idea of extending financing beyond treatment time! Our nature is such that we only remember the times that things didn’t work out and, worse than that, we almost always focus on what could go wrong instead of what usually goes right! However, to win the Shopping War we must provide great customer service, an exceptional product and make our fees affordable. If we are going to extend financing to keep a reasonable case fee while remaining affordable, we need to have our patients on auto-draft. ALL OUR PATIENTS!

Here’s an example of how that conversation goes in our office. Hopefully this will be useful to those of you who are struggling to implement universal auto-draft and trying to convince resistant patients and TCs (yes, TCs can be the impediment in many cases so you must be sure your TC is on board!) that auto-draft is the way to go.


TC: Ok so now that we have agreed on how much down and how much a month, we will just need a checking account to set up monthly payments and get started. (We want a checking account because fear of an NSF charge will move your payment to the top of the pile and the fees are lower than a credit card)
Mom: But I don’t want you to draft my checking account.
TC: No problem, you can use a credit card to do auto payments.
Mom: I don’t want to do that either.
TC: No problem, you can pay in full and get a X% bookkeeping credit.
Mom: I don’t want to pay in full.
TC: Not a problem at all, you can sign up for care credit or a local bank and they can give you a payment plan. You just need to fill out this application and have a credit check.
Mom: I don’t want to pay interest and I don’t want to do a credit check.
TC: I understand. It’s better with no interest and that’s why Dr. Burris allows all our patients set up monthly payments with no interest and no credit check. All we need is a bank account to set up monthly drafts… (And the cycle starts over again).
After going a couple rounds if mom doesn’t get it on her own the TC says, “Mom, Dr. Burris believes everyone deserves a great smile and that is why he offers in house financing with no interest and no credit check. We are not a bank and we don’t have the ability to keep up with all those payments without using auto-draft. I’m sorry but it’s just beyond our ability. So to make affordable financing possible we need to use auto-draft. We are giving you a 6000 dollar loan with no collateral and no credit check and no interest. I’m sure you understand.

99 percent of the time this solves the issue and we move on. Every once in a blue moon a mom will stand up and walk out over auto-draft. If that happens the TC will tell the mom that the doctor will be consulted. In these cases we give in and let mom have a coupon book because it’s not worth losing a case over!

The key to making this work, however, is to have a hard and fast rule that EVERYONE IS ON AUTO-DRAFT. PERIOD! If the TCs think they have latitude here, they take the path of least resistance and let everyone who protests out of doing auto-draft. They have to believe in what you are doing. They must believe auto-draft is necessary. It is vital that your TC believes that auto-draft is essential to extending financing and that extended financing is key to increasing access and affordability. The TCs also have to believe they will get fired if they let people avoid auto-draft on a regular basis. I can tell you that we’ve had to fire many, many TCs for refusing to get on board with universal auto-draft because they believe, “most people won’t do auto-draft.”

It is crucial to get all your patients on auto-draft if you want to offer extended financing. PERIOD. It is crucial to offer affordable financing if you want to maintain a healthy, fair case fee. To believe you will be fine without adjusting to the new reality or that doing what you’ve always done will work in the future is folly.

13 thoughts on “Getting Mom to Say “Yes” to Auto-Draft (scripting included)

  1. So glad you found it useful! I’ll go over scripting for several scenarios in the coming weeks so stay tuned if you like this kind of thing!

  2. Hello,
    First, thanks for all your tips. They are extremely helpful.
    I have been using auto draft for most of this year and it is working out great for scheduled starts. We recently have adjusted out schedule template to allow for same day starts. I am interested in some scripting to use so that parents bring a check book to the consult. It seems that most people do not carry check books any longer.
    Also, is the TC Facebook page still active? I went looking for it to see if there were any suggestions, but was unable to find it.
    Thanks for your help,

  3. If they don’t have their check book then they can call their bank or use their debit card or credit card. I wouldn’t get that granular on the new patient phone call and tell them to bring their check book!
    The TC page is no more but you can check out Young Docs Study Group on Facebook https://m.facebook.com/groups/GACyoungdocs/
    And sign up for your free subscription to The Progressive Orthodontist Magazine at http://theproortho.com/
    Glad you’re enjoying the posts and finding them useful.

  4. 96% of our patients are on OrthoBanc auto-draft, but a few insist on paying through their own auto-draft account. For those folks, we tell them that if their payment is not received within 5 days of the due date, there will be an automatic, non-refundable $25. “statement fee” assessed. Seems to work effectively.

  5. Sounds like you have it going on Dr. Mary! Autodraft is awesome!!

  6. Ben, thank you again for all your great tips. I am wondering how you work auto draft in combination with flex plan or MSA patients. This is seems to complicate things in our office and I am certain you have a system to resolve it. These patients are reluctant to do auto draft since often they are making two lump sum payments at the start of each new year. Just seems a bit trickier here.

  7. With extended financing and auto-draft, how often do you have issues with patients who have completed treatment and still have a significant balance? Do they often call and try to stop payments and what kind of burden is this on your staff dealing with patients whose financing extends well beyond their treatment time?

  8. People with verified HSAs or cafeteria plans (I assume that’s what you are taking about) are a different ballgame all together in our office. We let them pay annually and don’t worry about auto draft. I talked about HSAs in this article. Sorry for the delay in answering. I guess I missed this comment. Have a great weekend. http://orthopundit.com/hsas-cafeteria-plans-are-awesome-scripting/

  9. Most people honor their obligation most of the time IF you stay on top of things. I don’t believe in “financial wires” or holding people in braces until they have finished paying. Some people will not honor their commitment but 1) if you’re not at capacity and you start cases vs not starting them you’re better off 2) if you start a bunch more cases because of your financing you’ll help more people and make more money.
    Here’s an article you might find useful


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