Most people are not aware that credit card use should be fused into everyday life, either for business purposes or individual use.
Since credit cards are available to businesses of all sizes including law firms, it can build a credit profile to improve future credit borrowing terms. Credit cards may also be backed by a personal guarantee which integrates a personal liability that can also help in structuring credit terms.
Historically, many law firms have not set up the means of accepting credit card payments because they do not see their practices as traditional businesses; instead, they see themselves as professionals. They feel the way they process payments now is just fine so why change it, not realizing that one of the most critical areas of changing technology is payment methods, especially with regard to credit card processing.
Though it is true that lawyers are different, they serve a profoundly important role in our society. But just like everyone else, lawyers have to eat. If you don’t ask for money, you’re less likely to receive it. Surely, there are better and worse ways to approach the topic, but simply ignoring fees, or only taking cash is pretty limited thinking, especially if you serve small business clients, there’s likely an expectation that you will accept payment by credit card.
Many of your clients are already paying online in other places. Four out of five households with internet access opt to online banking, and by not collecting on invoices immediately, you’re effectively extending your client’s credit. Whether you’ve been running your law firm for decades or you are just starting, if you’re not accepting credit cards, you are simply undermining yourself.
These are four reasons why you should start accepting credit card at your law firm
- IT SAVES TIME
A credit card offers advanced technology and does a lot of the recordkeeping work for you. It makes the process of managing your expense budget easy, with less work on your part. It also keeps records properly identified for tax purposes, making tax time much less of a headache.
Note that it is important to evaluate the technology that your credit card provider offers because the right technology can dramatically minimize the manual work needed to manage your finances. And it is not just any old technology to consider. Make sure it is a technology designed for law firms, and you can choose Cerenade, we deliver the right information in the right way for credit card law firm use.
- IT MAKES BILLING EASIER AND FASTER
If you are sending out your bills by electronic means, having an integrated option for the client to pay via the use of credit card right from the email makes the billing and receiving process not only faster but easier.
Cerenade is the main technology company in town. It integrates with just about every practice management system. By integrating your practice management and credit card processing systems, you can have a completely seamless process where your time is entered into your practice management system, which generates a monthly invoice, sends it electronically to your client, who then pays the bill online while your practice management system receives and records it on the invoice, handling your books automatically and providing your client with an electronic receipt, and you an electronic notice.
- IT GETS YOU MORE CLIENTS
There are many potential clients specifically looking to hire an attorney who accepts credit cards. For some clients, it is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that they won’t be cheated and that their credit card fraud protection department is there for them. For others, it is the ability to pay for your services over time. For others still, it is the points or miles that they are trying to earn that provides the greatest incentive. Regardless of the client’s motivations, you will likely find that advertising that you accept credit cards will increase your client base.
- IT PROVIDES A PAYMENT GATEWAY
Law firm merchant accounts are unique business accounts set up for one-to-one relationship, which is very adequate for law firms. Unlike other businesses, law firms have special considerations when dealing with credit cards and client funds. Whether you are considering accepting credit cards or already offer an electronic payment option, using state-of-the-art technology will ensure you are paid quickly and securely.
Every credit card processor will provide you with a payment gateway, clients will use to submit their credit or debit information. It can be a physical swipe or an electronic form, but the type of account you have determines where that information from that gateway goes. A merchant account will briefly hold the client’s money and then transfer it to your firm’s bank account.
Processors made specifically for law firms are usually merchant accounts. In fact, some legal-specific credit card processors handle trust accounting, depositing the transaction the correct account right away and only deducting fees from your operating account. Cerenade is an example of this type of processor with practice management software.