For many lawyers, especially new lawyers, trying to run your practice can be more difficult than actually practicing law. The rigors of running the office itself can be extremely time consuming leaving you little time to actually grow your practice.
When considering the average attorney’s receivables, it can take at least 30 days and even up to 90 days for an attorney to get paid for work they’ve done. After spending a significant amount of time, money and resources creating bills and invoicing clients they then have to commit extra time trying to chase down those payments from clients all while trying to get their own bills paid. This means their cash flow is very inconsistent and unpredictable making the job of running and growing a successful firm quite difficult.
For these reasons it is a great idea to accept credit cards in your law firm.
From the client’s perspective this offers much more flexibility and customer service while also creating much more consistent cash flow for the firm. When considering the pros and cons of incurring the costs associated with accepting credit cards or not the access to immediate payment for services rendered greatly outweighs the potential transaction fees. However, you will need a merchant service provider who understands how a law offices needs differ from other types of business. As a lawyer you will also need to educate yourself on the rules involved with holding a trust account. Many law schools don’t take the time to educate their potential lawyers on how to properly operate their trust account. Lawyers running a successful firm will need to understand that there are specific rules surrounding the proper operation of their trust account in order to stay out of hot water.
Some examples of violations include:
No personal funds are ever allowed in the trust account.
You also cannot “borrow” money from a trust account or take money from it before it is “earned”.
Under no circumstances are you allowed to pay any expenses with money directly from a trust account.
These would all be considered a violation of ethics, not to mention mismanaging your IOLTA trust account can get you disbarred. For these reasons you will want to consult your state’s ethics rules for accepting credit cards.
At Bankcard Brokers we know how to handle your Law Practice Merchant Account correctly. We understand that lawyers have specific needs that differ greatly from other merchants. You will be accepting payments for earned fees, retainers, and advanced payments and the money is not all treated the same way. There may even be times where you need to return money to the client for unearned fees held.
Your qualified merchant account will enable you to avoid trust account violations and ensure you are operating within state and ABA guidelines for accounting.
Your Law Practice Merchant Account will provide you with everything you need to accept payments through credit cards properly.
1. No commingling of funds: You choose which account the funds need to be deposited in. Accurately separate trust funds from operating funds ensures that earned fees and unearned fees are never commingled.
2. NO third-party access: Your IOLTA trust account is protected. No debits are processed from your trust account at any time, for any reason.
3. All processing fees are deducted solely from the operating account. Fees for both the business account and the trust account will only be deducted from the operating account protecting the integrity of the trust account at all times.
Your virtual terminal will integrate with your e-commerce site. A virtual terminal gives you the convenience of managing your clients from anywhere you are conducting business. You will also be able to handle recurring billing for those clients that pay you on a monthly retainer. No matter where you are you can rest assured that your payments and your client’s information is secure. Collect payments in your office, or in the field, whether it’s at your client’s office or the courthouse. You can even receive payment for services through your website making it ultra convenient for your client to stay on top of their payment without having to make a trip to the office.
Attorney merchant account expedites the payment process.
Imagine no longer having to send your clients a bill and then wait 30-90 days to receive those payments. Being able to accept credit cards will facilitate collection of any past due billing you may have in a much more timely manner as well, helping you to increase revenues and reduce write-offs.
If you want to expedite your payment process while maintaining 100% compliance join the Bankcard Brokers team. At Bankcard Brokers we have the tools to separate your trust and operating accounts, create recurring billing to spread out the cost to your clients, complete quick easy refunds for unearned fees, bill for retainers, and even integrate with your website for easy collections.