It always pays to do a little research before making a purchase to ensure you find the right product to address your needs—especially if said purchase is going towards your business. Payment solutions are no exception. There’s a wide world of them to choose from, but they’re not all ideal for legal professionals like you. Here, we’ll examine five essential features you should keep an eye out for when shopping around for an online payments processor.
- Tailor-made, just for law firms
A lot of online payment solutions bill themselves as a one-size-fits-all product that can suit the needs of any business. However, this is a bit of a misnomer—in reality, most of these products work best for retail stores, restaurants, and hospitality businesses, as these are the most common businesses in the country. You’ll likely find that these payment solutions have features, functions, and price points that would suit these businesses perfectly.
You’re a law firm, though. You’re not selling a product—you’re providing a complex, valuable professional service. A typical paper receipt wouldn’t properly convey the type of work you do for your clients, and doesn’t convey the full value of the professional services you provide.
This is why specialized payment solutions are the best fit for law firms like yours. Instead of trying to build a product that pleases everyone, these companies instead hire industry experts to design their product specifically for the legal industry. For instance, they’ll know how important it is to protect your IOLTA account from third-party debiting, as well as keeping your earned and unearned fees separated with each transaction. Plus, their products often integrate with other legal software that you use everyday, allowing you to keep your work organized in one place.
- Allows for both invoiced and in-person payments
In the modern world, online credit card payments have quickly become the most popular way for consumers to pay. To put a number on it—74 percent of households with an internet connection prefer to pay their bills online with their favorite connected devices.
Despite this, not all payment processors are designed with this functionality in mind. Many of them are still designed solely for in-person transactions, with online payments as a tacked-on afterthought (if it’s even offered at all). While these solutions can serve consumers more used to traditional methods, they’re missing a key emerging demographic.
Rather than settle for one or the other, your best bet is look for a payment processor that will let you do both—send online payment requests that your clients can pay on the go, or take credit card payments through a card reader in your office. While online payments will likely benefit your firm the most, you may sometimes have a need to process payments in person, such as working with a client who many not be as tech savvy as others.
- Simpler fee structure for better account reconciliation
There’s no avoiding it—using a credit card processor means you’ll have to pay for fees on each transaction. For many payment solutions, these fees are debited as soon as a transaction is received. This may sound like a reasonable deal, but it can make reconciling your accounts an absolute nightmare. With every transaction in your history, you’ll have to take into account the amount you’ve billed with the amount displayed (which will include your processing fee). Why add extra work to your busy day?
Your best bet is to use a payment processor that will debit all of your fees on a single day rather than individually from each transaction. This way, you’ll see 100 percent of each payment in your transaction history, and can view your total processing fees as a separate charge each month. The result? Much simpler account reconciliation each month, which means more time spent serving clients.
- Detailed transaction history and reporting
Speaking of reconciliation, the right reporting tools can make all the difference when choosing an online payment provider. Not only does this information let you balance your books properly, but it can also provide valuable insights in fostering your firm’s success. Of course, this is another area where not all payment processors are created equal.
The best payment solutions for lawyers will let you run detailed reports on your transactions, letting you filter them by time frame or the status of the payment. These solutions also make it easy to view your top clients by volume, payment trends, and even export your payment history in whichever format you prefer. In contrast, most payment providers will have metrics tracking gift cards or cash drawer history—stats that might appeal to a point-of-sale business, but a professional service firm like yours will have no interest in.
- Pricing without gimmicks
Between the various different interchange rates, processing fees and codes to decipher, online payments systems can sound incredibly complicated. The last thing you want is to spend more time figuring out the fee structures of your processor than you do on billable hours.
Thankfully, there are payment processors that are not only competitive in the rates they offer, but also transparent in their pricing. Choose a payment processor with no hidden fees, no minimum processing requirements, and no long-term contractual obligations. Payment p
rocessors for professional service firms will let you easily forecast and budget for your expenses by keeping their rates straightforward and easy to understand.
Want to learn why LawPay is the #1 online payments solution for law firms? Download our Solution Brochure today!