Best Practices

7 Best In-Person Payment Methods

Gabriela Jhean
Gabriela Jhean
June 18, 2024

As a legal professional, client satisfaction is paramount. This is particularly true when it comes to accepting payments. A smooth and hassle-free payment can solidify trust and keep clients focused on what matters: your legal services and their positive outcome.

In-person payments are one of the best legal payment methods to settle clients' legal fees and deliver a personable experience.

However, the surge of online payments has led some firms to overlook the value of continuing to accept payments face-to-face. This can create friction for clients who prefer the familiarity and ease of in-person transactions.

This guide explores seven in-person payment methods and shares the pros and cons of each for both your firm and clients.

What Are In-Person Payments?

In-person payments are transactions that occur face-to-face. Common methods include:

  • Physical exchange of cash or checks
  • Secure swipe or tap of credit/debit cards using a point-of-sale (POS) terminal
  • Modern options like digital wallets and contactless payments

In the legal context, in-person payments encompass any financial transaction where a client settles their legal fees directly with a representative of your firm.

7 Types of In-Person Payment Methods

By offering a variety of in-person payment methods, law firms can ensure seamless and convenient interactions with their clients.

To cater to these preferences, let's explore the seven most popular in-person payment methods favored by clients today.

1. Mobile Payment Solutions

Embrace the future with mobile payment solutions like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Clients can simply tap their mobile phone or smartwatch for a secure and speedy transaction. These options leverage fingerprint or facial recognition for added security, putting you and your clients at ease. Many billing software programs integrate seamlessly with mobile wallets, allowing instant payment recording and faster checkouts.

Additionally, consider offering QR code payments as a convenient and contactless option for your clients. QR codes are easy to generate and display, and clients can simply scan them using their smartphone cameras to make a secure payment. To learn more, here are five reasons your firm should accept QR codes.

Pros for Firms: Faster transactions, reduced fraud risk, lower processing fees than credit cards.

Cons for Firms: Requires compatible hardware/software.

Pros for Clients: Convenient, secure, loyalty program integrations possible.

Cons for Clients: Requires a compatible phone and mobile wallet setup.

2. Contactless Payment Methods

Like mobile wallets, contactless payments use near-field communication (NFC) technology to securely transmit payment information by tapping a credit card or enabled device. This method gained traction due to its speed and hygiene benefits following the COVID-19 pandemic.

As contactless payments become more commonplace, consider future trends like facial recognition or iris scanning for even faster in-person transactions. Integration with billing software is often available for easy record-keeping.

Pros for Firms: Faster transactions, improved hygiene, lower processing fees.

Cons for Firms: May require investment in contactless readers.

Pros for Clients: Convenient, secure, works with digital wallets and most modern credit and debit cards.

Cons for Clients: Requires a chip-enabled card or contactless-enabled device.

3. Credit Cards

Accepting credit cards remains essential for most businesses, including law firms. Partner with a reputable legal payment processor like LawPay to ensure PCI compliance and secure in-person payment processing. Billing software integrations with credit card processing streamline record-keeping and reconciliation.

Pros for Firms: Secure transactions, wider client reach, and potential for increased sales.

Cons for Firms: Processing fees can be higher than other methods.

Pros for Clients: Convenient, builds credit score with responsible use, and offers purchase protection benefits.

Cons for Clients: Potential for debt accumulation if not managed responsibly.

4. Debit Cards

Like credit cards, debit cards allow immediate payment withdrawals from a client's checking account. This method offers a familiar and convenient option for in-person transactions. Processing fees for debit cards are typically lower than those for credit cards, making them a potentially cost-effective choice for you and your client.

Pros for Firms: Faster access to funds and lower processing fees than credit cards.

Cons for Firms: May not offer purchase protection benefits like credit cards.

Pros for Clients: Convenient, secure, and offers immediate access to funds for payment.

Cons for Clients: Less fraud protection than credit cards and potential for overdraft fees if insufficient funds are available.

5. Cash

Cash remains a relevant option, particularly for smaller transactions or clients who prefer not to use digital in-person payment methods. While it offers immediate access to funds and eliminates processing fees, handling cash requires a secure system for storage and accurate record-keeping to ensure proper accounting.

Pros for Firms: No processing fees and immediate access to funds.

Cons for Firms: Increased risk of theft, time-consuming to manage, count, and deposit.

Pros for Clients: Private transactions and requires no additional setup.

Cons for Clients: Risk of loss or theft.

6. Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT)

EFTs allow for direct transfers of funds from one bank account to another. While less common for in-person transactions due to potential delays, this alternative payment method can be an option for specific situations like high legal fees or for clients who prefer a direct bank-to-bank transfer. However, keep in mind that additional setup for both parties may be required.

Pros for Firms: Secure and eliminates the risk of stolen cash or bad checks.

Cons for Firms: May require additional setup for both parties and potential delays depending on bank processing times.

Pros for Clients: Secure and eliminates the risk of carrying cash or losing a card.

Cons for Clients: Requires sharing bank account information with the law firm.

7. Checks

Checks are still accepted by some businesses, particularly for larger transactions. However, processing checks can be slow and comes with the risk of fraud due to potential for bounced checks. While some clients may prefer the familiarity of checks, it's important to weigh the processing time and potential for complications against other, faster methods.

Pros for Firms: May be preferred by some clients, especially for larger transactions.

Cons for Firms: Increased processing time, risk of bounced checks, and potential delays in receiving funds.

Pros for Clients: Familiar method for some and avoids carrying cash.

Cons for Clients: Subject to fraud risk and potential delays if checks are lost or require additional verification.

Meet Clients Where They Are With LawPay

Empowering your clients with a variety of secure and convenient in-person payment options fosters trust, upholds compliance regulations, and streamlines your firm's operations. By offering a mix of the legal payment methods explored above, you cater to individual preferences and ensure a smooth payment experience for everyone.

LawPay's in-person payment devices are designed to meet these needs and streamline your firm’s payment processing.

Get paid faster and easier with LawPay:

  • Effortless Credit and Debit Acceptance: Our payment solutions seamlessly integrate with your LawPay system, allowing you to accept credit and debit card payments quickly and securely. Say goodbye to manual processing and hello to faster access to your funds.
  • Modern Payment Options: Embrace the future with LawPay's QR code payments. Clients can simply scan a unique QR code with their phone to pay instantly, eliminating the need for physical cards or cash.
  • Introducing LawPay's IPP Terminals (Coming Soon!): Stay tuned and join the waitlist for the launch of our cutting-edge in-person payment (IPP) terminals. These state-of-the-art devices will offer an even more seamless and secure checkout experience for clients and lawyers on the go with features like tap-to-pay and chip insertion.

Ready to equip your team with the tools they need to get paid efficiently and securely?

Sign up for a free demo to see how LawPay can make payment processing a win-win for your firm and clients.