Frequently Asked Questions for Law Firms Interested in Credit or Merchant Processing
Credit card and merchant processing can be confusing. Our FAQs try to address the most common questions we hear from law firms interested in accepting credit cards.
- What is a credit card merchant account?
- A merchant account gives a business or law firm the ability to take credit cards and debit cards. These payment options can be made in person (at the office), online, over the phone or on the go with properly-enabled mobile devices.
- What is unique about merchant accounts for law firms?
- The biggest difference between a standard merchant account for many businesses and a merchant account for a law firm is the need for a law firm to separate client payments into a trust account (for unbilled work) and an operating account (for billed work). When your client pays by credit card through our platform, the funds are immediately separated into trust and operating accounts. All processing fees are then deducted from your operating account in order to maintain your client’s trust account balance. That ensures your firm will not commingle client funds.
- How quickly will we get paid?
- From the date of the transaction, it can take 24 – 48 hours for the funds to deposit directly into your bank account.
- How will we accept and process payments from our clients?
- We provide a secure online payment portal that your clients will be able to access to easily and safely to process their payment to your firm.
- What is an ACH or eCheck payment?
- ACH is the acronym for Automatic Clearing House. It basically means bank-to-bank, where funds for this type of payment are drafted directly from the client's checking account. And an eCheck payment is an electronic payment made through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network.
- Do we need to open a separate bank account?
- No. Funds processing through your merchant services account can be deposited into any U.S. checking, savings or money account you choose.
- Can we pass on merchant processing fees to our client?
- This is a common and important questions from many lawyers and law firms. Visa and MasterCard mandate that you cannot “penalize” a cardholder for using their card as a method of payment. Most attorneys consider the cost of accepting credit cards as a cost of doing business and expense those costs accordingly, the same as they would a utility bill. However, some firms will offer a cash discount thus charging a higher set fee and discounting that fee for clients that pay by check (or cash). However, the benefits immediate payment has on cash flow and the significantly less time spent on collections and pursuing bad debt easily justify the small processing fees for accepting credit and debit cards.
- Can we expense merchant processing fees?
- Yes. Merchant processing fees, like other business expenses, can be expensed in a similar way other financial costs of your law firm doing business.
- What if we already have a merchant account? Can you provide a better rate and service, and can we switch?
- If you already have a merchant account from another provider, we encourage you to send us your statement for a free audit. Since we specialize in payment processing for lawyers and law firms, often we discover many inflated and unnecessary fees, and are able to provide a significantly better rate than other merchant service providers. And we make switching merchant services for law firms a breeze, with no absolutely no interruption in service.
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