Paper checks are so 20th century. But you’re a 21st-century law firm. So why are you stuck in the past? Every time you accept a paper check, your firm is forced to waste time creating the deposit and going to the bank. And because a bank run is a hassle, you probably bundle checks and deposit them all at once, further delaying payment.

Many law firms are taking advantage of another, more efficient and effective option once they know how beneficial it can be. It’s called ACH payments or eChecks. ACH payments are safer than paper checks, more cost-effective, and much more convenient. ACH stands for Automated Clearing House, an electronic network that lets you directly transfer funds between two bank accounts. You are likely using ACH payments to pay bills in your personal life, but never thought about the advantages of ACH for your practice.

To accept ACH payments, you will need to be able to accept payments electronically. Advantages of ACH payments include:

Lower Costs

Of the three most popular ways consumers (and clients) prefer to pay for goods and services, ACH fees are often lower than credit and debit card processing fees.

Security

Paper checks can be an invitation to fraud. Suppose you are a lawyer who handles real estate transactions, collection matters, contractual disputes, or divorce cases. In that case, you could be depositing checks into your account that the payer never intended to cover. According to an article in the Times-Standard, a major North West California newspaper, attorneys are losing millions in fake cashier check scams annually. (1)   ACH payments also protect your clients from attempted fraud by not exposing their checking account information in the mail.

Improve Cash Flow

Rather than waiting to receive checks and the time it takes for them to clear, or waiting 30 to 90 days for invoices, with an ACH electronic transfer, you can have the money in your account within 48 hours, enabling faster payment cycles.

Convenience

With ACH payments, you can set up recurring billing, so payments arrive as scheduled without wasting time invoicing or making reminder calls to clients for payment. Recurring payments can cut down on time spent on collections as well.

Improve Productivity

ACH payments are more efficient than utilizing paper invoices and checks, streamlining your accounting and workflow, and allowing your team to concentrate on serving their clients.

Enhance Your Image

Many studies show that people prefer to use credit or debit cards or pay online via ACH transfers over paper checks. Offering them a preferred payment method shows your clients that you are a forward-looking firm that appreciates its clients and is concerned about their needs.

As mentioned, to accept ACH payments, you’ll need to accept payments electronically. The easiest, most convenient way to accept electronic payments is through a merchant account processor. Merchant processors also allow you to accept major credit and debit cards.

Debit and credit card payments receive many of the same benefits that are enjoyed with ACH payments. Funds will be in your account within 48 hours, allowing your productivity to increase. Besides, your clients will be happier.

While there are many merchant processing companies to choose from, they are not all the same. Generic merchant processing companies are not explicitly designed to comply with the rules and regulations that govern how the legal profession can accept credit card and ACH payments, ensuring your firm remains compliant.  A few reliable credit card processing companies, such as LexActum, are designed for the legal industry. In addition to the advantages cited above, LexActum provides automatic separation of trust account payments and operating account payments.

At LexActum, set up time is quick and easy. Merchant account applications are processed immediately, and your law practice is ready to process credit card sales within 24 to 48 hours. For a free statement audit, or to get started, Call us at 321-972-9838.

Sources:
¹ You and the Law: Losing millions in fake cashiers check scams

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