by Tracey Gavin
There was a time when lawyers refused to use dictation equipment or copy machines. Why should they? They have carbon paper and shorthand. Likewise, lawyers and firms have often considered themselves shied away from taking credit cards. Yet, if firms wish to be seen as “modern” they must concern themselves with the needs of their current or prospective card-wielding clients.
In 2016, it is estimated that over 55 percent of all bills will be paid online. Not surprisingly, today’s legal clients expect the option to pay bills with credit, online, at their own discretion. Law firms need to heed this and immediately adopt online payment technology. Firms accepting credit cards report having done so in response to client requests, and in the process have made their payment process easier, and more up to date.
It may come as no surprise that legal fees can often act as a point of dispute and general distraction from the case at hand. So improving a firm's collections process can be a great way to ensure client relationships are never compromised. Law firms that offer the credit card option to clients report having fewer uncomfortable discussions about past due bills and less guilt when asking for earned fees. These firms believe that when clients know they have more than one way to pay, the list of potential excuses for not doing so gets shorter.
If the prospect of having an invoice paid within 24 hours does not excite you, then increased cash flow should do the trick. On top of having fewer write-offs, less discounting, and more upfront payments for the full amount, credit card payments save time and effort. Firms not accepting credit cards spend up to 4-5 hours a week on collections, calling clients, following up on past due accounts, and cashing checks. How much is your firm’s time worth?
When it comes to choosing your payment provider make sure you are given the ability to direct card payments into your operating and trust accounts, to preserve the character of payments made. Any service charge related to a trust account deposit must be paid from the firm’s operating account. This further promotes the efficient financial operations of the firm and secures better cash flow.
Consider the benefits of a more lean and efficient collection process. In an increasingly cashless society with clients looking to stretch their budgets, give your clients an easy option to pay. Do not let a payment method, or lack thereof, be an impediment to prospective clients seeking the counsel of your law firm. The bottom line is credit cards are good for business and more importantly, the business of law.
LawPay is leading this progression online by being the preferred payment solution for attorneys. Designed specifically for the legal industry, LawPay offers a user-friendly tool for receiving credit card payments—the fastest way to get paid. Our secure solution is quick and simple, allowing clients to make payments anytime, anywhere.
Tracy Gavin is the Marketing Director for LawPay. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.