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Processing a vCard or insurance credit card

Processing a vCard or insurance credit card

Insurance companies often send payments to providers in the form of virtual credit cards (vCards). Our Online Payments feature only supports charging clients' cards. This means that if you charge a vCard or insurance credit card in SimplePractice, it’ll be recorded as a client payment. 

We recommend processing vCards outside of SimplePractice, and if possible, reaching out to the insurance payer to have future payments sent via check or direct deposit.

If you don’t have a way to process these cards outside of SimplePractice, or if the insurance payer will only send payment in the form of a vCard, follow these steps to record payments in your account:

Important: When charging a vCard through your Online Payments account in SimplePractice, you won't be able to collect the full payment amount due to the processing fee.

Adding a vCard

We recommend adding the card to the client’s file as soon as you’ve received it from the payer. When you save the card, our processor will run an initial pre-authorization on the card for $1.00. This is a test charge that will disappear from the card’s transaction list within 5-10 business days.

Important: Don’t charge the card until 10 days after the pre-authorization has taken place since vCards typically include the exact amount being charged. If you try charging the vCard within 5-10 days of adding it to the client’s file, the remaining amount may not cover the charge due to the $1.00 pre-authorization, and the card will be declined. By waiting 10 days until charging the vCard, the $1.00 will have been returned, and the full amount of the card can be charged.

We recommend giving the card a nickname, such as [Payer vCard] to make sure you don’t accidentally charge it before you intend to.

Charging a vCard

After adding the card to your client’s file, we recommend creating an calendar event appointment type on your calendar for 10 business days out as a reminder to charge the full amount listed on the vCard. To do this:

  • Navigate to your Calendar homepage 
  • Click + > Schedule appointment
  • Choose Event as the appointment type


  • Title the event to remind yourself to process the client's vCard
  • Set the date and time to 10 business days after the card was added
  • Click Done 

After the 10 business days pass, the pre-authorization amount of $1.00 will fall off the card, and you can charge the card for the full amount. To do this: 

  • Navigate to the client’s file
  • Click Add Payment


  • Enter the Payment amount 


  • If the client has an unpaid invoice(s), uncheck it so the payment doesn't go toward the client responsibility


  • Under Choose payment method, click Change and select the vCard on file


  • Review the Summary and charge the card

Refunding the client's balance

After the vCard is processed, the payment will show as a client payment. You can record a manual refund so that the payment collected through the vCard won’t be recorded as payment coming from the client. To do this: 

  • Navigate to the client's Billing page 
  • Filter to Transactions by client 
  • Locate the payment
  • Click View


  • Click Refund in the Payment details page


  • Use the Method dropdown to select the Cash, Check, or External card option


Important: Don't use the Stripe credit card option. This will issue a refund to the vCard. 

  • Enter the full Refund Amount
  • Click Refund

Adding a manual insurance payment

Once the client payment is marked as refunded, you can add a manual insurance payment to reflect the payment the insurance payer made.


Note: If you’re enrolled for Payment Reports (ERAs), the insurance payment will be automatically added. For more information, see ERAs in SimplePractice (Payment Reports)

When manually adding the insurance payment, you can enter Check or Wire as the Payment Method and record the last 4 digits of the card as the Payment Number.

Handling vCard declines

You may experience a decline when adding a vCard to a client’s profile, or when attempting to charge the card. How to handle the vCard decline depends on when the decline took place. 

A pre-authorization decline takes place when initially adding the card to the client’s profile. These declines come directly from the payer who issued the card. We recommend contacting the payer directly to request clarification as to why they aren’t allowing the charge to go through. Here are some things to keep in mind when reaching out to the payer: 

  • The representative may claim the issue is due to a change in policy on our end. This is incorrect, as there haven’t been any changes to how we process vCards 
  • If the representative is unable to assist, you can request they escalate the inquiry to their technical team
  • They may suggest that we disable our pre-authorization charges. These charges are required by our payment processor and can’t be disabled 

SimplePractice is unable to make these charges go through, so if the payer isn’t able to resolve the issue on their end, you can request that they reissue the payment via check or direct deposit. 

If you’re able to add a vCard to a client’s profile, and encounter a decline when charging the card, please submit an email help request so our team can investigate further.

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