Dallas Bar Association

Prevent Chargebacks When Accepting Credit Cards from Your Clients

LawPay Can Help You

by Tracey Gavin

LawPay is a custom credit card payment solution designed for attorneys. LawPay meets the ABA and state requirements for managing client funds.As a member benefit of the Dallas Bar Association, law firms save up to 20–25 percent off standard credit card fees by using LawPay.

Credit cards and debit cards are becoming the payment of choice among consumers. According to a March 2009 report of the American Bankers Association, some 10,000 payment card transactions are made every second around the world. Based on these trends, attorneys can no longer ignore the importance of accepting credit cards, but should proceed with caution. 

One of the most common concerns with credit card acceptance is the risk of chargebacks which occurs when a client disputes a charge. Chargebacks allow a cardholder to temporarily not pay for a specific transaction until the charge is investigated.

Most Common Reasons for Chargebacks:

  1. The firm does not have permission from the cardholder to charge the card.
  2. The cardholder says the firm did not provide the service agreed to by the cardholder.
  3. The cardholder says the dollar amount charged was different than what was agreed.

Tips to Avoid Chargebacks:

  1. Let clients know what your payment expectations are on the front end by including due dates, late fees, and payment options as part of your fee agreement.
  2. Your client should initial the firm’s payment and credit card policies contained in fee agreements.
  3. Confirm the name on the card. If the name is different from your actual client, obtain approval from the cardholder.
  4. Obtain authorization from the cardholder for the amount being charged.
  5. When accepting credit card information over the phone or through your website, ensure you have a charge authorization or previous client agreement to charge payments.
  6. When receiving payments from relatives or other third parties, include the specific client name, invoice number and matter number. Obtain a signature from the third party to confirm they are accepting responsibility for payment of another party.

What Happens When You Receive a Chargeback Notice:

  1. Your client has filed a formal dispute for a specific charge.
  2. Notice will generally be sent to you by mail from the card-issuing bank.
  3. LawPay will attempt to notify you by email or phone to expedite the process.
  4. Your firm will be asked by the card-issuing bank to respond within a 7-10 day time period. 
  5. To successfully defend an unfounded dispute, your firm must prove the work was performed and your client gave his or her permission to charge the card for that work.  

About LawPay

If you are currently accepting credit cards, we encourage you to compare your current fees with LawPay. And, LawPay is available to support your firm with chargeback disputes. To learn more contact (866) 376-0950 or www.LawPay.com/dallasbar.


Tracy Gavin is the Marketing Director for LawPay. She can be reached at tgavin@affinipay.com.

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