Learn About Credit Card Processing for Lawyers
Attorney Merchant Accounts to Accept Payments by Credit Card
What options are available for attorneys who want to accept credit cards in their law practices? Some lawyers use companies whose programs are specifically designed for attorneys and are endorsed by bar associations, while others prefer to use standard credit card processing services available to anyone. The following are some of the credit card processing options that are popular among lawyers.
LawPay is a credit card processing service for lawyers that has been recommended by over 60 bar associations nationwide. Using LawPay's system helps to correctly separate your client trust funds from your business funds so that earned fees and unearned fees are not commingled. Unearned fees can be credited directly to your trust account, while earned fees can be credited directly to your operating account. All processing fees for both types of accounts are deducted at the end of the month solely from the operating account.
LawCharge described itself as "designed by an attorney for attorneys," and was the first company to create merchant accounts designed specifically for attorneys. Attorneys using LawCharge can decide whether to deposit funds into their IOLTA account or their operating account, with all fees being deducted from the operating account at the end of the month. There is no commingling of funds under their attorney merchant program. LawCharge is now in partnership with Virtual Payment System (VPS) to provide an expanded variety of merchant accounts and provides 24/7/365 support.
Beacon Processing Solutions
Beacon Processing Solutions does not provide services exclusively to attorneys, but they do have a special program for law firms that allows the attorney to choose between depositing funds into an operating account or into a trust account.
Square is a credit card processing system that allows you to take credit card payments using a free credit card reader that plugs into your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Although Square does not have the functions to separate operating account income from trust account income, it is popular among attorneys taking cases where trust accounting is not an issue. It is also popular among attorneys who, due to some credit problems in the past, may have trouble getting approved to use a standard merchant account.
With Square, no credit application is necessary unless you want to remove their rather lengthy waiting period for the receipt of funds. In addition to the tiny credit card reader that scans the card into your mobile device, Square also provides the ability to enter a credit card number directly into their iPhone app. Square's fees are charged per transaction and are deducted before the money is deposited to your account.
Paypal is another service that may not comply with your state bar's trust accounting rules in all situations, but which is still popular among lawyers for simplicity and ease of use. Paypal offers a variety of billing options, including options for a monthly fee to be charged to the lawyer as well as options where all fees are charged only on individual transactions. Paypal also provides a convenient invoicing system for emailing bills to clients.
For more information about staying in compliance with your state bar's trust account rules, read 3 Common Lawyer Trust Account Mistakes.