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Does your law firm swipe credit cards? If not, what has been holding you back? It's no secret that people like to pay with plastic, so if you don't accept it, you're probably costing your firm money. No one seems to be concerned that it is unprofessional to pay a doctor with a credit card, so why would it be different for lawyers? So if you're holding out because you think it is going to be too complicated, there are a number of new devices and applications out that you should consider.
They are: Square, Intuit GoPayment and Verifone's PAYware Mobile. Each has different strengths, weaknesses and prices, but all of them will make it easier for you to swipe credit cards. The applications come with a card reader that you attach to your phone which thereby turns your phone into a card-reader. For example, with Square, you plug a small card reader into the headphone jack of an iPhone and you're good to go. Square charges 2.75 percent of each swiped credit card transaction and 3.5 percent for each keyed-in transaction.
Many attorneys have procrastinated getting set up to take credit cards because they were concerned about issues of ethics. A recent article in the Massachusetts Bar Association Section Review tackled this issue. Ultimately they concluded that Massachusetts lawyers should check their local ethics rules, but in general they should be permitted to accept credit cards. The main remaining area of concern was IOLTA accounts and payments for retainers. A few special steps may need to be taken to safeguard client funds in these situations.
But generally speaking, there are more reasons than ever to take credit, so it's time to get on board.