Today’s tech-savvy clients expect online payment options—especially the ability to pay by credit card. And this expectation is the default for all companies they do business with, including hiring a lawyer. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, the use of credit cards grew 392%, while checks declined by 66%, between 2000 and 2018.
Accepting online payments not only provides more flexibility for clients, but can open up a variety of payment methods and plans, such as breaking legal retainers into smaller amounts. In fact, the 2021 Legal Trends Report found that consumers ranked whether a law firm offered payment plans or not, as one of the most important factors for hiring a law firm.
Adopting online payment options doesn’t have to involve a total organizational change. Consider the below six questions, and you’ll be ready to reap the benefits of accepting online payments from your clients.
Can my law firm accept credit card payments?
Due to state bar rules and ethics guidelines, selecting a credit card processing provider involves an extra layer of complexity for lawyers. First, ensure that accepting credit cards is in line with the standards and regulations in place for your state.
Law firms also need a credit card processing solution that recognizes and accounts for the difference between trust accounts (for retainers) and operating accounts (for bill payments). Ensure your provider of choice will keep you compliant with IOLTA trust accounting rules.
How will my law firm receive credit card payments?
Payments can be accepted online or in person. A cloud-based payment processing software, such as Clio Payments, allows clients to pay their bills anywhere—whether they’re at home or on-the-go.
Some clients may still wish to pay in person. In that case, consider purchasing a card reader to process payments.
Which payment processing provider will my law firm use?
Finding a payment processing solution that integrates seamlessly with your practice management system will ensure your collections process is fast, automated, and convenient—for both you and your clients.
For example, Clio Payments, built within the robust Clio Manage infrastructure, creates a client-centered payment experience by enabling clients to pay their bills via credit, debit, eCheck, or set up automated payments on their cards. Plus, you get paid faster, improve your collection rates, and boost efficiency within the firm.
How do I set up my payment processing solution?
Setting up the right payment processing software shouldn’t be complicated—look for solutions that integrate seamlessly into your legal practice management software and provide reliable customer support and training.
Sophisticated solutions like Clio Payments will automatically post clients’ payment transactions to the appropriate matter or account and sync records with your accounting platform to eliminate errors and save time.
How do I tell clients about my new payment processing solution?
An excellent online payment processing solution is only valuable if your clients know about it. Tell your clients about your new payment options by spreading the news on social media, updating your website, adding signage in your reception area, and adding an online payment option to your invoice template.
Can I accept additional payment methods?
Providing a client-centered payment experience doesn’t end with credit cards—clients appreciate the flexibility and convenience of having multiple options for paying their bills online. The benefits of accepting credit cards extend to other online payment methods, such as debit cards or ACH (eCheck) payments.
By accepting additional online payment methods, clients pay easily with their method of choice while law firms reap the efficiency and cash flow rewards of secure digital payments, whether credit card, debit card, or eCheck.
Start accepting credit cards at your law firm today
By integrating Clio Payments with Clio Manage, clients can pay their bills securely and efficiently with a credit card, debit, or eCheck. Better yet, updating billing records and other back-end processes are automated.
Whether you’re a lawyer in a solo practice or a large law firm, it’s impossible to deny the benefits of accepting online payments—for both you and your clients. And with the right online payment processing provider, the setup doesn’t have to be complicated. Get started with Clio Payments today!
By Josh Kern