While convenience fee and surcharge laws vary from state to state and from one card issuer to another, just because you can charge your clients a fee for paying with a credit card, does it mean you should? We’ll look at the pros and cons of charging a fee to your clients to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding consumer psychology is an important part to consider when making an informed decision relating to charging fees. Results from a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll show that more than 9 out of every 10 Americans agree that legal fees are extremely expensive (91%). This is an important figure to keep in mind when considering if you should charge a fee for clients that pay using a credit card. If your client already feels that legal fees are expensive, how might it make them feel to be charged an additional fee to pay for your services?

Convenience fees are not viewed as convenient by consumers. One well-known example of a convenience fee with a major customer backlash was Verizon deciding to charge customers paying with a credit or debit card through their website or via telephone a $2 convenience fee. The company was flooded with complaints and quickly reversed its decision.

While it is convenient for your clients to pay using a debit or credit card, the perception of a fee may make them feel like they are being nickeled and dimed for more money. So what is the best policy when it comes to charging clients a fee for paying by card? Let’s look at some pros and cons of charging a fee to clients that pay with a credit card and some alternative options that your firm may want to consider.

 

  Pros

  1. The costs associated with accepting debit and credit card payments are absorbed by charging a fee.
  2. Clients are more likely to pay by check to avoid fees associated with a debit or credit card payment.
  3. Check payments are much less expensive to process than card payments.

  Cons

  1. Clients have an overwhelmingly negative response to additional fees.
  2. Checks take longer to arrive and process than credit and debit card payments.
  3. Check payments require more manual accounting processes than card payments.

An alternative to charging fees for paying with a credit or debit card is to raise your normal rates slightly and offer cash or check discounts. This allows your firm to cover the added costs associated with having a merchant processing solution while making your clients feel that they can save money rather than having a fee if they select to pay with a card.

No matter what your law firm decides upon for charging fees, you must ensure that you comply with local regulations and each card issuer’s terms and conditions.  When it comes to processing debit and credit card payments in the legal industry, additional regulations make choosing a payment processor more challenging. In most states, law firms must have both a trust and an operating account to properly deposit funds from client payments.

While there are many credit card processing solutions available to choose from, finding one that not only complies with regulations but is also designed to meet the demands of the legal industry can be challenging. One example of a payment processor that is designed explicitly for the legal industry is LexActum. Whether you decide to charge your clients a fee or not, LexActum is set up to meet your needs. If you decide to charge clients a fee, they will ensure that your firm complies with local regulations and each card issuer’s terms and conditions. They offer a low, flat-rate monthly structure with four tiers to select from, and they never lock clients into a contract. With no cancellation fee and easy-to-understand rates, LexActum is the preferred choice for many law firms. If you’re looking to change processors or get set up for the first time, LexActum provides fast and easy setup and free statement audits. Visit LexActum.com for more information or call them at 321-972-9838.

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