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Mobile Credit-Card Readers Change How Law Firms Get Paid

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

Among the new gadgets at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas: an upgrade for a mobile credit-card reader. It's part of a trend that's changing the way merchants, including law firms, get paid.

Software maker Intuit showed off its redesigned GoPayment Card Reader at CES, the website iSource reports. The reader is a small device that connects to a smartphone or tablet to allow users to swipe credit cards for payment processing.

Meantime, a competing mobile credit-card reader made by Square is expanding its retail reach. Square announced new partnerships with OfficeMax and The UPS Store that will make its reader available for sale at 10,000 retail locations nationwide, Daily Deal Media reports.

The Square and GoPayment mobile credit-card readers are part of a revolution that's supplementing -- and in some cases, replacing -- banks and third-party companies that offer credit-card processing services. The services are attached to fees that some merchants feel are too high.

Enter Square and GoPayment, along with a third player in the mobile credit-card reader market, North American Bancard's Pay Anywhere system.

These mobile credit-card readers are free, and offer different types of accounts -- some pay-as-you-go, some with monthly fees. The companies take a cut of 1.7% to 3.7% per transaction, depending on your account type and whether the credit card is swiped or keyed-in, according to

In a previous post about mobile credit-card readers, we mentioned some attorneys were concerned about possible ethical issues such as commingling client accounts with your law firm's business account. One state's bar association addressed the issue, concluding that in general, credit-card payments should be OK if lawyers take steps to safeguard client funds.

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