Law Firm Credit Card Processing
A fast-paced and busy enterprise like that of a law firm must be highly organized with efficient processes to manage day-to-day operations. Gone are the days of paper filings, face to face interactions, and manual acceptance of their client’s payments. It has all been replaced by digital recording, virtual consultation, and most importantly, law firm credit card processing.
Equipping your organization with law office credit card processing will not only build a solid presence, but it will also make most tasks way easier. It allows you to focus on what you do best — be it a relationship or office management.
A brief introduction to the legal credit card processing for lawyers. The first step in familiarizing yourself with lawyer credit card processing is to understand how it works. Below are the terms and the major key players that you will work with.
- Your client is the cardholder. Their responsibility is to settle the payment for the services you provided.
- The cardholder’s bank is also known as the issuing bank. Funds that are issued by the cardholder’s bank compensates your firm. Releasing funds is set on an agreement between your client and their issuing bank.
- A merchant provides an account through the assistance of a bank. Its main role is to let a business establishment, such as a firm, accept credit card payments for the services they provided.
- A merchant bank, also known as the acquiring bank, gives authority to a merchant to get an account that will accept payments from a cardholder.
Generally, when a client settles their account using their credit card, your merchant provider will contact the issuing bank for authorization regarding the payment. After certain processes and some fees, it will release the payment through the merchant’s bank.
Things to consider
Now that you're familiar with how law firm credit card processing works, there are four things to consider before availing its service. Understanding each will make choosing a merchant easier for your firm.
1. Fees used in processing
Make sure fees that come along with the process matches your firm’s budget. Go around and check out other credit card processing service companies and choose which one suits your business’ current financial capability.
2. The platform that they can provide
Your business must opt for a platform that is straightforward, easy to use, and gives overall security.
You must also ensure that it is compliant with the rules set by the Payment Card Industry (PCI). The PCI is made up of card networks Visa, MasterCard, JCB, and American Express that securely store, process, and transmit data of a debit or credit cardholder.
3. Account Processing
Account processing is a challenging task for any business. In choosing a credit card processing provider, see to it that they can efficiently handle information such as account receivable, billing, etc.
4. Their customer service skills
If customer reviews are posted on their site, make sure to check them if they can provide the best service for your firm.
Choose the one available 24/7 and can offer real solutions to challenging concerns and questions anytime you need them.
Should law firms accept credit cards?
If you’re still unconvinced about the importance of credit card acceptance in getting more clients, here are more reasons why you should start processing online payments.
1. Payment is faster
Once they receive their bill, clients pay faster using their mobile devices such as cellphones and laptops because of the convenience it provides, a lot of studies suggest.
Also, if the process is short-formed and is billed right on the invoice, expect that they will settle it immediately.
2. Billing process is simplified
Sending your bills digitally means that your client can receive it in an instant compared to traditional ways, which may take a couple of days.
3. Attract more clients
Many clients are looking for an attorney who accepts credit cards. It brings them peace of mind knowing that their card’s fraud department is one call away if they want to file for payment disputes or if they suspect fraud. Also, using this payment option provides them points that can be exchanged for useful items, such as cashback, or rewards points.
Finally, travel miles can also be earned while customers use their card. And because most lawyer’s fees involve huge amounts of money, they can convert all these spending for air miles.
Tips on choosing a credit card processor
- Make sure that your chosen credit card processing provider can handle large amounts.
A lot of merchant providers don't deal with large deposits. Your law firm will be handling cases daily and you can expect huge amounts in every transaction. Don't go with credit card processors that hold deposits on any amount, whether big or small. Establish a partnership with legal-specific card processors that have experience and full knowledge in working with any amount of charges.
- See to it that the merchant provider will make a full deposit into your trust account.
Most processors deduct their service fees when they make a trust deposit. This will cause inaccuracy and complications in the three-way reconciliation process.
It will also cause compliance issues in your company. Seek the service of a provider who is generally familiar with the whole process especially depositing.
- Ensure that all fees associated with the credit card will not be deducted from your trust account.
- Mismanaged accounting damages all types of business. With this, find a credit card merchant provider willing to understand and respect the rules and regulations set by your firm. For example, when your chosen merchant provider deducts the bank’s processing fee from your trust account, immediately call them out as it is illegal commingling. Make sure you avail services from a reputable merchant provider.
Tips to efficiently manage credit card payments
It is important that your firm also tracks credit card payments internally. Refer to the tips below and make sure the amount you receive is the same as what your credit card processor presents.
- There must be no gap between billing and accounting
Most of the time, credit card processors do batch deposits which means funds from different clients are summed in a single deposit. To familiarize which bills are already settled, your business must identify the clients and invoices in each deposit. Billing and accounting must always work together.
- Merge your billing and accounting system with your chosen merchant provider
Find a reliable merchant provider that can integrate their process with your billing and accounting system. The integration is an efficient way of lessening your work. Also, after a client makes an online payment, your credit card processor can immediately process the payment. While it is being documented in your billing system, your accounting system updates the income of your firm. d in your billing system, your accounting system updates the income of your firm.