How to Accept Credit Cards in Your Law Firm
Guest post by Lawyerist.com
More than 40 percent of Americans prefer to pay by credit card. But many law firms don’t accept credit card payments. What gives? If you own one of those firms, you are missing an opportunity to provide your clients better service and accept payments faster. But, fear not. You can start accepting credit cards in your business almost immediately. To learn how, follow the steps outlined below.
First, a Few Considerations
Before you start accepting credit cards in your firm, decide where you stand on a few fronts:
- Cost. Some credit card processors charge transaction-based fees; others charge flat monthly rates. Some firms prefer the certainty that comes with monthly plans, and others prefer transaction-based fees if, for example, the firm’s clients infrequently pay by credit card. That said, details about transaction fees are sometimes a bit hazy. Be sure to pay attention to the fine print.
- Law practice management software. Not all credit card processors easily integrate with your practice management software. And some lawyer-specific credit card processing options only integrate with a select few software options. If you already have a software system you swear by, be sure to understand how that software impacts your options when choosing a payment processor.
- Trust accounts. As you well know, lawyers have a strict and unforgiving duties when handling client funds in trust accounts. It is possible to run afoul of this duty when accepting credit cards, since some credit card processors do not allow you to pull transaction fees from separate accounts. To remain IOTA-compliant, use a processor that accepts credit card payments into trust accounts while taking fees out of your (separate) operations account.
4 Easy Steps to Accept Credit Cards in Your Firm
- Accept that you need to accept credit cards. Credit card processors available today are simple and easy to use. To be blunt, there is no excuse for lawyers refusing to accept credit cards. And while you’re at it, you can start warming up to the idea of accepting other forms of payment preferred by millennials, like Venmo, PayPal, and Apple Pay. And this, of course, is to say nothing of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Etherium, and Ripple. If you want to catch up, figure out how to accept credit cards using this guide. If you want to innovate, figure out how to accept crypto.
- Comparison shop your options. Weigh the pros and cons of at least three—and probably four or five—credit card processing options. Depending on your firm, look at both lawyer-specific processors and general credit card processors. Do not hide that you are considering several options, either; your comparison shopping will almost certainly make the bidding process more competitive.
- Buy your own equipment. If you want to accept credit card payments in person, purchase credit card processing equipment through online retailers like Amazon or at big-box stores like Costco. You’ll get much better pricing, and you won’t waste your money or time on leased equipment.
- Advertise your new payment option. Once you have integrated credit card processing into your business, make sure that visitors to your office, website, and social media profiles know you accept credit cards. It will delight your existing clients and increase your competitive advantage with new ones.
Do you feel like failing to accept credit cards isn’t the only thing holding your law firm back from growth? Take Lawyerist’s Small Firm Scorecard to learn what steps you can take to put your firm in a position for greater success.