19 Nov 07

The legal industry has rallied against accepting credit cards for years. Even those who do accept credit cards rarely advertise it.

My firm does accept them, but since the cards are not processed with the client inputting their own information via the web the process tends to be more difficult than it should be.

Here’s a message I sent out to a group of fellow administrators regarding credit card processing for our Association:

Online Payment Collections – the easy way

I did some more digging with PayPal. You can send an invoice through Outlook via email (auto generated with very little work). Then the recipient can use that to pay via PayPal OR they can print it off and/or their registration form and bring it with their firm check. I don’t believe it would require them to have a PayPal account. I’m pretty sure that they can just input their payment info. (If I’m wrong about that I know it’s possible, it would just require a different type of account)

Have I lost you yet? = )

This is much easier and much cheaper than I would have imagined. No monthly fee and 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction (rate goes down if we get over $3000 in an average 90 day period). (Since I’m a BlackBerry addict I can also pay through PayPal on my BlackBerry, but I would doubt many would find that interesting, but I love it!) They also give “businesses” multiple login accounts, which means you can set levels of access to different people.

Here’s more info on collecting payments via email invoicing.

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_email-payments-overview

I did also look into Google Checkout (a newish service from Google similar to PayPal), but with their service you have to integrate it into your website and I think that’s too much work at this point. Only advantage to Google is that the fees are a flat 2% + $0.20 per transaction. Only slightly less really, but a lot more technical skill required

So, does this ring any bells for you? Because of the overwhelming popularity of eBay and MANY online retailers who accept PayPal, what are the odds that most of your clients aren’t already using it for something? Perhaps they aren’t using it for professional reasons, but I would bet my reasonable, but not abundant, salary that most of the individuals at your client know of or have personally used PayPal.

There is one downfall for PayPal at law firms. The last time I read there was a $10,000 per transaction limit. (If there are any non-legal readers here I can see your eyes bulging out that ANYONE would charge MORE than $10,000 in one pop, but, believe me, it happens) So, if you have a client who uses a commercial credit card account who regularly pays their $100,000 invoice with their VISA, then you’ll NOT want to take any interest in PayPal, or you should at least have a “real” merchant account through your bank to process those transactions.

Another concern which I believe can easily be avoided, is that when you process the credit card the funds credit your PayPal “bank” account instead of automatically going into your firm’s general operating account. When I say it can be avoided, I just mean that you can transfer the funds out pretty quickly (though there is a daily limit of how much you can send to your bank, but that limit isn’t usually that bad).


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  • shannon

    credit card processing is so easy to obtain that there’s really no reason why your business shouldn’t process credit cards if it doesn’t already. it’s even inexpensive now, too!

  • shannon

    credit card processing is so easy to obtain that there’s really no reason why your business shouldn’t process credit cards if it doesn’t already. it’s even inexpensive now, too!

  • Anonymous

    To be honest as a client I get nervous if I see a PayPal sign on any reputable law firms website.
    Here in South Africa all fees have to be in a trust account so it would never apply here hopefully.

    Are legal professionals in the USA not required to keep a trust account?
    But then again I doubt you guys there have half the corruption we have here in our legal system.

    Nicole
    South Africa

  • Anonymous

    To be honest as a client I get nervous if I see a PayPal sign on any reputable law firms website.Here in South Africa all fees have to be in a trust account so it would never apply here hopefully. Are legal professionals in the USA not required to keep a trust account?But then again I doubt you guys there have half the corruption we have here in our legal system.Nicole South Africa

  • Richard

    Nicole, thanks so much for the comment. I started writing a full explanation as a comment, but have decided to post an entirely new entry/response to your inquiry/comment.

    I hope you enjoy it and that you share some more feedback with the other readers.

  • Richard

    Nicole, thanks so much for the comment. I started writing a full explanation as a comment, but have decided to post an entirely new entry/response to your inquiry/comment.I hope you enjoy it and that you share some more feedback with the other readers.