The Importance of Web Payments and ACH for Law Firms

Businesses today have a wide variety of options they can use to accept payments from clients. Beyond the basics of cash, check, or card, there are more solutions available than ever before. With so many options on the table, it is up to the business to choose the solutions that best suit their needs, and provide the best payment options for their clients.

For law firms, accepting web payments and ACH transfers is a practical solution as they offer a convenient, secure, and cost-effective way for clients to pay.

ACH payments are made through an Automated Clearing House which acts as an intermediary to transmit payment from one bank account to another. These are often set up for recurring transactions, but can also be used for one-off payments when appropriate. Web payments are commonly accepted for many businesses and can include ACH transfers, in addition to credit and debit card transactions.

Given the nature of law firm transactions, whether it be business to customer (B2C) or business to business (B2B), web and ACH payments processing are a natural fit.

ACH payments were used for $61.9 trillion in transactions in 2020, which was 10.8% growth over the previous year. In fact, in 2020, there were more than 7.7 billion web payments initiated by customers, an increase of 15% over the year before. These numbers carry an important meaning: many consumers are already familiar with and consistently using the ACH network to pay their bills. Because ACH payments are so commonplace, adding them as a payment option for law firms is a natural next step.

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Benefits of Accepting Web and ACH Payments

Many businesses now operate in a hybrid or remote fashion, at least for the foreseeable future. Without in-person interaction, web payments are not only commonplace, they are a necessity. Law firms are no exception and with expanded online operations and virtual meetings, some clients may not visit the office regularly, or ever.

Accepting payment online via a web portal should already be a staple for law firms to collect from their clients, and adding ACH payment capabilities has many benefits for the firm and the client.

ACH payments are secure

A top concern for businesses and clients alike is security. ACH transfers are a well-established method of payment, and with a trusted relationship such as the attorney/client dynamic, there is little risk of using this type of payment.

Not only are ACH payments regulated by the Federal Reserve Bank and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, they are consistently ranked as one of the safest payment methods and are a low target for fraud.

Compared to a check or card transaction, ACH payment information only needs to be shared once. This reduces some of the risks associated with needing to make multiple card payment submissions or writing checks, which is a cumbersome process for businesses and clients.

Additionally, clients are able to see the status of their payment much faster with ACH payments versus paying by personal check. There are also fewer errors with online ACH payments, eliminating the worry about forgetting to sign a check or not writing the correct date when submitting payment.

Convenient solution for recurring payments

ACH payments also offer an easy way for law firms to bill on an ongoing basis. Whether charging a monthly fee or handling installment payments, ACH transfers are convenient for both parties. Since transactions between law firms and their clients are often already paid online and not frequently a one-time payment, ACH payments made through a web portal are well suited for B2C and B2B transactions.

For corporate clients (B2B), ACH payments are less expensive than corporate card fees and wire transfers and more convenient than paper checks. For B2B transactions, both companies are already likely using ACH transfers, so providing this as an option for them is a natural fit and a solution they’re already familiar with.

Individual clients (B2C) also benefit by using ACH for their ongoing payments. Since payments are not linked to a credit or debit card, there is no need to worry about expiration dates or re-entering their payment information each time a bill needs to be paid. Billing is simplified with ACH payments and can be easily set up for installment payments and automatic bill pay.

A cost-saving alternative to card payments

Credit card processing fees are often more variable and expensive than ACH transfers, which cost an average of $0.29 per transaction.

Let’s say you bill a client $1,000 for a service. With this amount, your payment processing rates can range anywhere from $16.50 (for card-present transactions) to $21.50 (for card-not-present transactions). If you choose to use ACH, your processing costs will be much lower, since flat ACH fees typically range from $0.20 to $1.50 per transaction. Some providers may charge a percentage ranging from 0.5% to 1.5%, which means the fee for a $1,000 service would be anywhere from $5 to $15.

Regardless of how you choose to take payments, Stax offers transparent pricing and a subscription-based model for all payment types that helps businesses better predict their expenses and control costs.

Receive payments faster than card payments

ACH transfers have a quick processing time, often the same or next-day, according to NACHA, the non-profit entity that governs the ACH. Processing time for card payments can vary and take days longer, making ACH payments a more cost and time-efficient solution for businesses. In 2020 alone, same-day ACH transfers processed on average, 1.4 million payments per day with a total daily value of $1.8 billion.

Accepting ACH and Web Payments – Where to Start

Law firms looking to expand the available payment methods for their clients should first determine if ACH payments are the right fit for their practice. Since payments are often larger in amount, happen on a recurring basis, and are billed after the conclusion of a visit, chances are ACH is a good fit.

An easy-to-use web portal for clients to view their invoices and submit payments is important in providing a professional and user-friendly experience. This also allows law practices to have a simplified view of account standings and an invoicing and payment collection system that can scale over time.

Choosing the Right Payment Processing Partner

Once you determine that ACH payments are a good fit for your business, finding a payment processor that can handle all your transacting needs is the next step. Stax supports multiple payment options and can handle in-person and web payments, credit cards, ACH transfers and offers an all-in-one platform with invoicing and a helpful dashboard to better control finances.

Stax integrates with QuickBooks and over 200 other software solutions. From invoices to insightful analytics, Stax’s platform helps businesses get paid faster and creates a seamless experience for your business and your clients. Our all-in-one professional services solution combines payment acceptance with client management and gives you tools to steamline the entire invoicing and payment process.

From Decision to Implementation

If you’ve made the decision to accept ACH payments at your practice, the next step is how to implement and get client buy-in.

Educating clients on the safety and convenience of ACH payments is important, otherwise they may not opt for a “new” payment method. Offering clear instructions and answers to frequently asked questions will help transition clients to paying via a method that may not be new to them, but is new to them with your business.

Final Words

The bottom line: With its recurring payment capabilities, integration options, and favorable rates, ACH is an excellent payment option for law firms and clients alike.

So, if you’re looking to implement ACH payments and need help getting started, Stax has dedicated support from demo to implementation and 24/7 in-house customer service to assist with any questions or concerns.

Get in touch to learn how Stax can add ACH and web payments to your business.

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