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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a merchant account?

A merchant account is a business account established on a Visa/MasterCard/Discover processing network, which gives your business the ability to accept credit or debit cards from clients.

How is LawPay different?

Unlike a standard merchant account, LawPay offers account options structured to handle the unique requirements of an attorney-client transaction. When your client pays by credit card, funds are immediately separated into trust and operating accounts as required by the ABA Code of Professional Conduct and most state bar guidelines on trust accounting. Payments for earned fees are deposited into the firm operating account. Payments identified as unearned fees, retainers or advanced fees of any kind are deposited to the firm trust or IOLTA account in order to avoid commingling of client funds.

What if I already accept credit cards?

Great! You already know the benefits of accepting credit cards. On average, our competitive program saves attorneys 20-25% off traditional bank merchant account fees. A member of our team can quickly compare your current program to LawPay and estimate your savings.

How quickly do I get paid?

From the date of a transaction, deposits generally take 24 – 48 hours to credit to your bank account. Weekends and banking holidays are not counted toward deposit time frames.

Am I locked into a contract?

Your agreement with LawPay is always month-to-month. We do not believe in long-term contracts or forcing clients to work with us. If you are not 100% satisfied with your LawPay account, you may cancel at any time.

Is there a minimum processing requirement?

LawPay does not have a monthly minimum processing requirement. In addition, your firm is not penalized for inactivity. We understand law firms may not always have predictable charge activity. Your account is ready when you need it.

Is there a cancellation fee?

There is never a penalty for closing your LawPay account.

How are processing fees handled?

With LawPay, any processing fees or banking charges associated with payment processing are deducted from the law firm’s operating account. This includes processing for payments designated for a trust or IOLTA account. For example: if your firm accepts a retainer by credit card, the full dollar amount of the retainer is deposited into the appropriate trust account. Processing fees for all transactions are then deducted at the end of the month from the firm’s operating account.

What is a specialty card?

Specialty cards are non-standard payment cards such as corporate, purchasing, government and rewards cards. These card types are generally funded with higher fees from the issuing banks and are more expensive to process.

Am I allowed to surcharge my clients for credit card fees?

In 2013, Visa, MasterCard, and the card brands changed their policy to allow for credit card surcharging at the merchant level. However, be aware specific rules vary by state. Check with the card brands to determine if your state prohibits surcharging. Many law firms simply build the additional cost into their fees as a standard business expense. This is generally recommended as the proper and more professional way to handle the business expense of processing payments.

Visa Surcharge Guide

Card Brand Updates on Surcharging

Can I use LawPay with my credit card terminal?

We can generally work with any existing credit card equipment. Most systems are easily updated to LawPay through a simple download. This update takes approximately 10-15 minutes so you can begin accepting charges immediately. There is no charge to update or reprogram your equipment.

Can I use LawPay on my website?

Absolutely! LawPay provides a secure web link that can be easily added to your web content. This does not require additional development or programming on your part. If you prefer to create something more customized, we are also happy to share our APIs with your web designer. Learn more about all of our features here.

What is a chargeback?

A chargeback is the reversal of a sale or transaction. A chargeback is different than a return and occurs when a transaction is disputed by a cardholder. Cardholders may dispute a transaction through their card-issuing bank if they believe the charge was charged in error, service was not received, or the law firm did not have their authorization to charge the transaction. With proper procedures in place, chargebacks can be avoided in your firm.

LawPay recommends adding authorization language to your client engagement letters and maintaining separate card authorizations on file. In the event of a chargeback, attorneys can generally have them reversed by showing this documentation, along with verification that the work was performed for the client. For more tips on preventing chargebacks, see our Chargeback Prevention Guide.

What is PCI Compliance?

PCI Compliance is a set of guidelines for protecting credit card data ─ the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. These regulations were developed in 2006 and enforced by major card brands. Each year, the card brands require that you complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) as a way to evaluate the security in your office.

How does LawPay handle PCI Compliance?

As a major benefit to our clients, we manage PCI Compliance on your behalf at no additional charge. For specific questions regarding PCI you may contact our PCI department at 866.376.0947.

What is EMV, and will it affect my law firm?

EMV (EuroPay-MasterCard-Visa) is commonly known as “pin and chip”. The primary benefit of EMV is to help retail businesses reduce fraud by detecting counterfeit credit cards. As of October 2015, all card processing banks are required to support EMV technology.

As a law firm you are not required to process EMV. This is due to the fact that most firms are not at risk for accepting counterfeit credit cards, and do not process payments through a retail point of sale system. Be that as it may, it is important for your firm to maintain PCI compliance. If you have any questions about PCI Compliance, our support team is available to assist you.