Every day, over 100 million credit card transactions occur in the US. It should come as no surprise to hear that legal clients want the ability to pay you via credit card. In fact, the 2021 Legal Trends Report found that 66% of clients expect law firms to accept online payments.
While it might seem daunting, implementing credit card processing capabilities at your firm doesn’t have to be an arduous undertaking. Not to mention, it’s well worth the upfront time investment. Give your clients the payment options they want by following our guide below:
1. Verify your firm can indeed accept credit cards
Before vetting potential credit card processors, consult your bar’s rules and general ethical guidelines pertaining to the payment options you can accept.
2. Determine how you’ll accept credit card payments
Your firm can accept credit card payments online or in person. You can simplify the online approach by using cloud-based credit card processing software, such as Clio Payments.
Accepting credit card payments online is faster and more efficient. You can add click-to-pay links to your website and in client communications, including invoices, providing greater flexibility and convenience for clients—and improving your collections rate and cash flow.
If you wish to accept credit cards in person, you’ll need to purchase a credit card reader to process payments. Clients tap or swipe their cards to complete the transaction.
3. Find a payment processor
Due to ethics rules, selecting a credit card processing provider involves an added layer of consideration for lawyers. Law firms need a credit card processing solution that recognizes and accounts for the difference between trust accounts (for retainers) and operating accounts (for bill payments).
You can choose from a legal-specific processor or general credit card processor for your firm. Simply ensure your provider maintains compliance with IOLTA trust accounting rules.
4. Get your credit card processor up and running
With the right provider, setting up your credit card processing software (ideally via an integration with your legal practice management software) should be a simple process. And you can help your future self by selecting a provider that offers reliable customer support and training to assist you with any questions or troubleshooting you may have.
Once the software is up and running, you can send electronic invoices with “pay now” buttons. Additionally, activating click-to-pay links on your website and client emails should be straightforward. Sophisticated but easy-to-use solutions such as Clio Payments will automatically post clients’ credit card transactions to the appropriate matter or account. It will also sync records with your accounting platform to eliminate errors and save time. Integrations such as these are key to unlocking productivity and growth at your firm.
5. Notify your current and prospective clients
This step is critical as offering credit card payments can be a big differentiating factor for your law firm. A prospective client may choose to work with you over another firm, simply because you accept credit card payments. You should make all of your payment options clear on your Google Business Page, website, and social media. You can frame your announcements in a way that shows the lengths your firm will go to provide a pleasant client-centered experience for everyone who works with your firm.
[Text Wrapping Break]And it’s equally important to update your current clients. One way to do this is via an email newsletter. Email your client list informing them that you’ve expanded payment options to include credit cards. Another way to communicate this change is through signage in the reception area of your office.
Clio Payments: The easy way for law firms to accept credit cards
Get paid faster and provide a better payment experience with Clio Payments—credit card processing and legal payments software.
The integration of Clio Payments with Clio Manage provides a secure, efficient, and client-centered billing and collections ecosystem that enables clients to pay with a credit card (or debit or eCheck), while automating back-end processes at the firm, such as updating billing records.
Start accepting credit card payments at your firm today
Regardless of your firm size, the benefits of accepting credit cards are obvious—for legal professionals and their clients. And with the right credit card processor, the setup doesn’t have to be difficult.
This post was originally published on Clio’s blog.