As online nutrition coaching businesses and private practice dietitians continue to grow and become the new norm, understanding your client payment options can get complicated. 

I get asked this question VERY often inside my Facebook support group for Dietitian Nutrition Coaches. Even before coaches start seeing clients they want to know which payment service is the best.

How does a registered dietitian business owner distinguish between Stripe, PayPal, and Square? Which one should you choose for your private practice’s payments?

In this post I’ll help you understand the details that distinguish the 3 platforms, as well as the ins and outs of their offerings and fees.

First, it’s important to remember that this is all about finding what works for YOU. Not what’s best for your significant other, not what’s best for another business owner, but what’s most fitting for YOU. There’s no right or wrong way to do this.

Stripe

Stripe is an online payment option that offers customized payment styles like billing and platform payments. This is what my team uses and plenty of my coaching clients use this option as well. Stripe’s integrations into websites are so smooth it’s hard to tell when you’re using it to checkout somewhere online. You’ve probably used it if you shop online at places like Target!

PayPal

PayPal’s has many more options than Stripe which can make it overwhelming for new owners.

PayPal has 3 options for the checkout experience: PayPal Checkout is simply a plugin button that you can integrate into a pre-existing checkout platform. Then there is PayPal Payments Standard which offers a free checkout experience for your business’s website. Lastly there is PayPal Payments Pro which is similar to the Stripe product.

Square

Square offers even more payment options than PayPal and Stripe, so it can be even harder to understand.

Square’s main product is their in-person POS system which allows your smart device to read contactless payments. They also have a free app that turns your phone into a POS system. If you’ve ever seen an in-person business using an iPad with a POS system, that means they’re using Square! 

Square also offers e-commerce options for businesses that want to set up online shopping for their customers. If you sell any products in your private practice and already have an online store set up, you can integrate Square into your existing services.

You can set up invoices for one-time payments, repeat customers, and even recurring billing. If you don’t do paid-in-full payments with your nutrition coaching clients like I teach my students, then this may be a good option for you if you want recurrent billing for your patients.

What About The Costs?

AS much as it’s important to consider the functions and features of these 3 platforms, it’s equally as crucial to consider the costs in order to select the option that best fits your current business.

Costs of Stripe

Per transaction, there is a 2.9% + $0.30 fee.

The services that Stripe offers as well as their pricing is pretty straightforward. There are no monthly fees or setup fees whatsoever. 

Also, if you use their Customized API for your nutrition coaching business because of your high client volume or unique coaching model, you’ll be able to customize your rates also. 

Costs of PayPal

The options range from $14.99 to $99.99, and per transaction there is a fee ranging from 2.7% to 3.5% + $0.15 for the standard option.

However, PayPal Payments Pro will cost you $30 a month plus the 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee.

Costs of Square

The initial costs range from free to $799, with transaction fees ranging from 2.5% + $0.10 to 3.5% + $0.15. Depending on which Square options you use, the amount you pay per transaction can vary based on the software that you use.

Square POS systems, you’ll pay a range of transaction fees from 2.6% + $0.10 to 3.5% + $0.15, depending on which POS hardware you process it through.

So Which Should I Choose For My Private Practice?

Now that we went over some basics it’s time to start narrowing down which of these three options is right for your online nutrition coaching business and private practice.

If you don’t have a web developer on your team, then Stripe is probably not your best choice. You’ll need a web developer who knows what they’re doing to get Stripe up and running on your website like I do with mine. But if you do have one, this could be a great fit for you!

If you’re one of those business owners who doesn’t have a web developer, which is totally not necessary to have a successful private practice, then PayPal may be an easy option for you. Their checkout experiences are easy to add into your online store, and it is pretty inexpensive.

If you’re running a brick-and-mortar private practice, then Square will beat out the rest for you. Remember from earlier that we talked about the POS systems that Square offers. If you ever decide to expand into the online space, then Square can offer online solutions like Weebly to help you with that. With face-to-face clients, Square is a great option. 

The Bottom Line

Hopefully this blog has you turning the wheels of what could work best for YOU and your personal business model.

Think about your website, your services, your payment collection methods, your clientele, your business size, and your financial needs. 

Take this info and work with your business coach or team members to figure out which one is the winner for you.

Remember that imperfect action beats standing still, so make a decision in order to keep making impact for your clients and making more income for yourself!

Did you find this post helpful? If so share it with one of your registered dietitian entrepreneur friends who needs answers to this question!

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