Running a law firm can sometimes mean having a longer to-do list than you have time. One of the best ways to clear some space in your schedule is by leveraging available technologies.
For example, more and more firms are discovering the benefits of using a practice management system. But one area that sometimes gets overlooked—despite offering a number of noticeable benefits—is accepting credit cards.
Electronic payment options and credit cards
Electronic payment options and credit cards give law firms a number of advantages by improving internal efficiencies as well as the client experience.
Credit cards offer a streamlined electronic payment option that clients are familiar with. Because your clients are used to using credit cards to pay for services—and because online payment options offer a way to pay in just a few clicks—they’re often more mentally comfortable with paying by card.
It’s also more convenient since they can take care of the invoice from their computer or mobile device. The comfort and convenience make them more likely to pay, more likely to pay on time, and more likely to pay their invoices quickly on the same day they receive them.
All lawyers strive to maintain client satisfaction, but accepting credit cards is one case where what benefits the client also benefits the lawyer (and not just by keeping your clients happy).
Not only does offering electronic payment options mean there are less tasks involved in getting paid (no need to print and send a bill or cash a check), but it also means lawyers don’t have to devote as much time and energy to collections activities.
For law firms seeking to improve their billing process, accepting credit cards and offering electronic payment options make for an easy win.
Trust accounts and ethics considerations
Although the benefits of accepting credit cards are significant, law firms should carefully consider which software they implement. One of the biggest potential pitfalls is choosing a payment processing software that isn’t made specifically for law firms, which can unintentionally lead to an ethics violation.
Generic payment processors deposit credit card payments into the same account that they withdraw charge fees from. This works for a standard small business, such as a dentist’s office, but it can be problematic for lawyers if the payment is being deposited into a client trust account.
Lawyers may only remove money from a client trust account after performing work on the matter, billing for said work, and giving the client a reasonable amount of time in which to read and raise questions about the bill.
But the charge fees removed by a payment processor are the lawyer’s responsibility to pay. Therefore, their removal from a trust account constitutes an ethics violation.
Similarly, a client’s payment must always be deposited into their trust account. The money can’t detour through the law firm’s operating account—which means that lawyers can’t try to fix the charge fee problem by having payments deposited into an operating account instead.
The solution? Use a legal-specific payment processing software.
How CosmoLexPay can help
CosmoLexPay is a legal-specific payment processing software that has been designed specifically to support lawyers in accepting credit cards without risking an accidental ethics violation.
We support law firms by allowing credit card payments to be deposited into one account while withdrawing charge fees from another. We’re also prepared to handle refunds, chargebacks, and voids in a manner that protects you from unintentional ethics violations.
We recognize the value that offering electronic payment options has for law firms, and we want to make that available without piling on the risk of an ethics violation.
Features to look for
CosmoLexPay offers secure payment processing for law firms of any size. For firms that also use our practice management system, we’re able to provide additional automations to streamline your billing process.
But regardless of whether or not you use CosmoLex’s practice management system, your firm can access the CosmoLexPay features below.
Dashboard and analytics
We know lawyers have a lot of information to keep track of. That’s why our payment processing software includes a dashboard where you can keep an eye on all the moving parts.
By using our secure online portal, you can view the dashboard where you can monitor:
- Analytics and advanced metrics
- How much you’ve taken in by day or specified time frame
- Scheduled invoices
You can also use the dashboard to run reports by sales, item, deposits, reconciliations, and more.
Electronic payment options
We know almost all your clients will want to pay their invoices by credit card, but we also understand that isn’t the case for everyone.
In addition to a legal-specific setup for accepting credit cards and debit cards, CosmoLexPay includes options for clients to pay by e-check or ACH transfer.
Many payment processors will vary the charge fee percentage according to the type of credit card used to pay. These companies typically charge more for specialty cards, including corporate or rewards cards.
Unfortunately for law firms and other businesses, these are exactly the cards most clients are using to pay for services—few people use “standard” credit cards anymore.
CosmoLexPay makes pricing simple and affordable by charging a flat rate for most cards a client uses to pay their invoice. Not only does this help keep things predictable for the law firms we work with, but the rate charge is lower than what most competitors offer for corporate or rewards cards.
This rate holds for debit cards, too. And for ACH transfer, we charge a 1% fee per transaction (capped at $10).
We know a steady cash flow is important to keep a law firm financially healthy. Therefore, we offer same-day and next-day funding—depending on when the transaction posts at the bank—so that you can get paid faster.
The advantages of CosmoLexPay
CosmoLexPay was designed specifically for law firms. Our payment processing software helps lawyers exercise the benefits of accepting credit cards without taking on additional risk.
With CosmoLexPay, not only can lawyers offer secure online payment options to their clients, but they can simplify their own workloads, too. With a software dashboard to stay organized, a streamlined reporting process, fair pricing, and faster funding, we’ve got you covered.