LawPay, an AffiniPay LLC product, provides attorneys with a highly-endorsed service for accepting credit card payments. This product provides attorneys with a way to separate account and trust fees, a feature that can bypass many ethical issues about credit card acceptance.
More and more U.S. lawyers are accepting credit card payments for services rendered and for retainers. It makes sense to use credit cards, because that use could improve cash flow, attract more clients, and reduce collections. However, unlike retail, credit card payments to lawyers can be fraught with thorny ethical issues. That's why LawPay may be one of the easiest solutions for most attorneys.
LawPay understands the difference between trust and operating accounts. If you, as a lawyer, take a credit card for a retainer, you can direct the fees to your trust account. If you accept a credit card for services already rendered, you can direct those funds into your operating account. With this option, you can keep funds straight and remove many of the ethical barriers to accepting credit cards. More importantly, LawPay contractually protects your client funds by restricting the ability of any third-party from debiting monies from a Trust or IOLTA account.
Currently, LawPay enjoys endorsements from the American Bar Association as well as from a large number of state bars, because the company understands the legal issues that attorneys face in accepting credit cards. We're behind this endorsement, as this processor seems to be one of the easiest, least expensive, and lawyer-friendly product we've found to date.
Below is a detailed review of LawPay Merchant Services offering. The review is broken down into the following categories.
Depending upon the type of business you own, some of the following features may or may not be important to you. To learn more about any given feature, just click on it.
LawPay provides several features that are important to lawyers within the United States. Some of the options below may not pertain to many law firms.
|Microsoft Dynamics GP||No|
|Windows / Blackberry||No|
|iPhone / iPad||Yes|
|Alternative Transaction Types:|
|Snail Mail Orders||Yes|
|American Express (AMEX)||Yes|
|Add Tips to Bills||No|
|eCommerce / Shopping Cart||Yes|
|EMV Chip Cards||Yes|
|Loyalty / Gift Cards||No|
|eChecks / Electronic Checks||Yes|
|Welfare Benefits (EBT/SNAP/TANF)||No|
|Security / Fraud Prevention:|
|AVS Fraud Protection||No|
|PCI DSS Secure Transactions||Yes|
|HIPAA Compliance (Healthcare)||No|
|Trust Account Debiting (Legal)||Yes|
|Fleet Cards (Petroleum)||No|
|Online Menu Orders (Restaurants)||No|
Law firms also can apply a link on a company website that provides clients with a way to pay at their convenience.
Almost every merchant account services company uses either Interchange Plus or Tiered Pricing (to learn the differences read here). Where companies allow us to disclose pricing information, we show the deals that our secret shoppers were able to achieve. When companies offer both Interchange Plus and Tiered Pricing, we try to get a quote on both options.
Our Experience: The reason we couldn't find LawPay's payment fees online immediately was because we needed to click on "Open an account." Once we committed to clicking on that button, the world of fees opened up to us. LawPay offers three tiers with different features:
Trust Plan (for firms that accept advanced payments or retainers and use both trust and operating accounts):
Standard Plan (for firms that only need to deposit into one account, either a trust or operating account):
Intro Plan (for firms that process less than $2,500 per month and deposit only into an operating account):
We found few complaints online about LawPay, but we did find a few objections to the monthly payments, mostly from small attorney firms or independent attorneys. We feel that LawPay is right in line to serve attorneys with their special financial ethics. I'm thinking that some retailers with online storefronts wouldn't mind these fees at all when combined with features shown in the fine print below...
We couldn't find a Terms of Service (TOS) document for LawPay, which we found ironic considering they're catering to lawyers. But, we got our questions answered with that phone call to sales.
|Fine Print Fees:|
|Setup / Application Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||None|
|PCI Inaction Fee||None|
|Online Reporting Fee||None|
|Monthly Minimum Volume Fee||None|
|Accept International Pymt Fee||None|
|Voice Authorization Fee||None|
|Monthly Min. Process Fee||None|
|Daily Batch Fee||None|
|ACH / Direct Deposit Fee||None|
|ACH Charge Fee||None|
|ACH Return Fee||None|
|No Annual Fees|
|Free Support via Phone, Email, & Chat|
Our Take: If we were attorneys, we'd probably jump on this product and service for our credit card processing needs. When these figures are combined with the contract information shown below, the lack of complaints about this company, and the high endorsements coming from bar associations, we're just about sold. We just need a pen...and a law degree.
One note about the support service - we couldn't find any notes that offered 24/7 service, so be aware that this might be an issue for you...or not.
While your transactions usually take place electronically, the actual device that you use to swipe a customer's card is referred to as "the equipment." This equipment includes hardware and, often, software or apps for that hardware to function properly.
LawPay is about one of the easiest payment processors we've encountered. No equipment required except a computer, tablet, or mobile phone and an Internet connection. No swipe required, and transactions can be completed by the attorney's office or by the client via invoicing:
Legacy Terminal: If you'd prefer to own a traditional credit card machine, LawPay offers this terminal. Options include a Nurit 2085 and a Hypercom 4205.
Various Software Management Systems: LawPay lawyers can click on an invoice payment or IOLTA payment option to generate payments, offer refunds, make recurring payments, and receive reports. This software includes invoices, payment approval with client signature, and a dashboard that provides a comprehensive view of all transactions. You also have the option of tagging transactions to create customized reports.
LawPay can handle payments from and for merchants within the United States.
I generally don't like long-term contracts or termination fees in merchant services agreements, because the ability to cancel keeps the credit card processor on its best behavior, including the willingness to make you happy if there's a dispute. Plus, this ability to cancel gives you the ability to move on if you find a better deal.
LawPay is a month-to-month service that you can terminate at any time with no penalty or charge. We're fairly certain that if you have outstanding payments or other processes that you would need to clear those transactions before you shut down your LawPay account.
The merchant account services industry is multi-layered. Understanding how those layers fit together can be confusing (Read More in this Article). A good thing to know, however, is whether or not your company is a direct processor (good if yes) or, if not, then to know who they process with and whether or not that processor is reliable. The second thing to know is whether or not the service or sales staffs are in-house or outsourced. In-house staffs are preferable for you, as these staff members may have more access to sources that can resolve your issues.
Processor: Don't worry about paying middle-man fees here. LawPay is an AffiniPay LLC product, which means that you - as an attorney - really are doing business with AffiniPay. But, AffiniPay doesn't offer the features that LawPay offers re: the separate bank account feature. AffiniPay is a registered ISO of BMO Harris Bank, N.A., Chicago.
Account Sales: LawPay is a product that is geared toward attorneys only, so their marketing is focused. To have the American Bar Association endorsement is probably the best sales pitch ever for LawPay. When we opened the LawPay site, a popup box greeted us to offer help via chat, so we asked for help. A sales agent greeted us immediately. That immediate reaction to our question goes a long way for someone who visits that site - and that "someone" would most likely be a lawyer.
Account Service: LawPay attorneys receive support services from AffiniPay LLC. They offer a 1-800 number specifically for support services. AffiniPay LLC client service and technical support are based in Austin, Texas.
As part of our review process, we try to test merchant account service companies' claims by placing test calls and working through the customer service process.
2/17/2015; TIME: 1:00 pm EST
Call to Customer Support
We decided we'd check out the chat option. As soon as we clicked on the chat button, an agent named Dan responded immediately. Since I'm not an attorney I was upfront about writing a review about their services. Dan was very helpful, offering his phone number for a call.
2/10/2015; TIME: 1:15 pm EST
Call to Customer Support
We didn't call Dan's number, but instead called support. Troy answered, and assured us that all support was in house. What he meant was all support was in house at AffiniPay LLC, since LawPay is an AffiniPay product.
2/10/2015; TIME: 1:35 pm EST
Call to Customer Support
This time we called the sales number and asked for Dan. Dan was on another line, so we talked with Lloyd. Lloyd was friendly, even though I told him I wasn't an attorney. He was upfront about fees and told me to call back anytime to ask any other questions.
We'e not LawPay clients, so we don't know the troubles we might encounter from support or sales down the road. We're very comfortable, however, with the calls we made and the chat we had with Dan. As Lloyd mentioned in our call to sales, they had to stay on their toes because they are dealing with lawyers who have certain ethical issues. If LawPay fails the lawyer, LawPay has a lot to account for.
We scoured the web to find past and current customer complaints about this processor. Then, we investigated those complaints that seemed legit, and provide our verdict on how well the processor handled the issues. Interestingly, we learned that LawPay has very few complaints and a ton of endorsements.
This was the most horrible complaint we could find after digging for hours.
If you'd rather pay all the other fine print fees, go for it. Choose a bank or a major processor with all the bells and whistles. No? Then stick with cash.
COMMON CUSTOMER COMPLIMENTS
We found this endorsement on the site from a bar association member as well as in other online reviews and comments.
As I mention previously, we're not sure the support is 24/7, but we don't know that attorneys need 24/7 support.
This compliment also was very common.
Considering that a lawyer doesn't need a terminal and can work virtually to accept payments on what appears to be an easy-to-use system, we're in agreement.
Endorsements from the American Bar Association and other attorneys provide this compliment.
We hope LawPay never screws up.
|PCI Compliance Fee||$0.00|
|Online Reporting Fee||$0.00|
DISCLOSURE: Advertising, Affiliate and Conflicts of Interest: Merchant Negotiators accepts advertising via the Google Adsense platform, directly from advertisers, and has common parent ownership interests with other payments related companies leading to conflicts of interest. Read our Affiliate / Conflicts / Advertising Disclosure for a more detailed disclosure.
About the Reviews: These reviews, and for that matter any reviews, are inherently subjective, and should be regarded as our opinion, not as a statement of fact. Selecting a merchant services provider is an important decision, and we urge you to use no single source of information as the basis of that decision.
About the Pricing: This pricing is an estimate based on limited available information. In some cases, the Processors' pricing information was provided directly by the company, in others, we obtained it from public information, through calls to the company, or through past or current clients of the company. Where, despite these efforts, we were unable to obtain any information about certain fees, we used estimates based on similar providers in the industry. While we're working, in some cases, with the company directly to get more accurate pricing, even in those circumstances, we can't guarantee the pricing's accuracy. Complicating all of this, is that for some companies individual salespeople are given authority to modify terms on a deal by deal basis. In any case, if you know of an error, please let us know and we'll fix it.
About the Calculations: With respect to your estimated savings, this is based on a lot of factors and some hard math. The reason we do it, along with the "Actual Gross Rate" calculation is that every Processor prices their product differently (e.g. interchange v. 3 tier v. 4 tier v. flat v. membership, etc.) and some make it intentionally complicated or opaque. Trying to convert their pricing structure to a consistent "Overall Cost of Processing" is the only way you, the merchant, can do an apples to apples pricing comparison and know whether an offer is actually a good deal. Our system isn't perfect but we're trying.
Conclusion: In sum, these rankings, ratings, and scores are inherently subjective, and should be regarded as our opinion and not as a legal statement of fact. Moreover, use these prices and estimates at your own risk, and make sure to verify the pricing you see here in any formal contract you receive. Finally, if you do find something wrong in our pricing, terms, etc., tell us and we'll try to fix it.
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