Online Payments

5 Evident Reasons LawPay Competitors Fall Short

The LawPay Team
The LawPay Team
February 3, 2023

As the leading provider of online payment solutions for law firms, we’re not surprised when a competitor tries to unseat us from the top spot. Competition is healthy, and we welcome the opportunity to show why LawPay is the preferred payment processing solution for more than 150,000 legal professionals.

In general, most of our competitors elect to demonstrate their value using straightforward methods, such as showcasing certain popular features of their product. Others, however, occasionally opt to take a less-than-forthright approach and don’t present the complete story.

With this in mind, we wanted to set the record straight and reiterate exactly why LawPay really is the best payment software for legal professionals.

Without further adieu, here are five reasons LawPay competitors (be they generic payment solutions or other attorney-focused payment processors) fall short.

Guaranteed Trust Compliance

For many lawyers, the last time they thought about the details of trust accounting was when they were studying for the MPRE or sitting in the back of their Professional Responsibility class. They memorized the phrase “no commingling of funds” and moved on with their lives.

But the fact is, if you accept advance payment for your fees or receive money on behalf of a client, your state bar likely dictates that you must maintain a trust account (also referred to as an IOLTA).

And without proper trust account management, you can be at serious risk of violating ethics rules, even inadvertently, which could result in losing your license to practice law and, in some circumstances, criminal charges.

This is why it’s critically important to choose a payment processing provider that actually understands the nuances of legal billing and payments.

Some LawPay competitors make the claim that, despite not being developed exclusively for lawyers, their software can still “guarantee trust compliance” because they give users the option to choose the bank account into which funds are deposited and thus prevent the commingling of earned and unearned fees.

Here’s the thing: simply allowing attorneys to connect both an operating and trust account to the software does not ensure trust account compliance. Providers must also be able to guarantee that no fees will ever be debited from the attorney’s IOLTA account and that only the lawyer herself can withdraw funds from that account.

This means that credit card processing fees should never be debited from your trust account, absent exigent circumstances. Instead, to maintain compliance with your state bar, the fees should be deducted from your operating account.

Frankly, not every payment solution provider can make this promise or are even able to make this accommodation.

LawPay, on the other hand, was developed with the input of state bars and their ethics committees and is therefore designed to both prevent commingling of funds and ensure our users’ trust accounts are protected from third-party debiting.

In fact, our commitment to protecting trust accounts starts during the signup process.

When signing up for LawPay, a user must indicate if the bank account she wants to connect to the solution is an operating or trust account. If the first bank account she adds is a trust account, she will be unable to move forward with signup until she also adds an operating account. This security measure guarantees that all applicable processing fees are only withdrawn from her operating account.

Our ability to ensure trust accounting compliance is just one of the reasons our solution is superior to any LawPay competitor.

Now, we do acknowledge there are other legal-specific payment solutions that also meet both of these requirements. Even so, there are several service areas where LawPay is head and shoulders above other payment processors for law firms, particularly in terms of chargeback support.

Advanced Chargeback Protection

A chargeback occurs when a cardholder disputes a transaction with his bank and requests the charge be reversed. Generally, the motivation behind filing a chargeback is straightforward: either the cardholder never authorized the charge or the cardholder alleges that the merchant failed to deliver as promised.

But for lawyers, chargebacks can be a bit more complicated. For example, even if your client signed a credit card authorization form and paid his legal fees, and you fulfilled your contractual obligations to the client, he may decide after the fact that he is dissatisfied with the services he received and initiate a chargeback.

If you find yourself facing a chargeback and you had used an online payment software to charge the card, you may be able to lean on your payment processing partner for help.

Many online legal payment solutions providers do offer at least basic chargeback assistance. This includes proactive communication from the provider’s support team upon notification of the chargeback as well as help collecting the necessary documentation to contest the chargeback.

What sets LawPay apart from other providers is that we don’t stop at just giving you basic assistance.

Once we receive the requested information and determine your reversal request is valid (i.e., the chargeback was not warranted), we will correspond with the card-issuing bank on your behalf and handle all matters related to challenging the chargeback.

Compare this to the providers at the other end of the spectrum whose chargeback support starts and ends with a single FAQ on their website about how to prevent chargebacks from happening in the first place. (Consequently, if you use software from one of these LawPay competitors, be prepared to manage the dispute entirely on your own.)

We understand how frustrating chargebacks can be (especially when you did everything that you were supposed to) and we take the “partner” element of payment processing partner to heart. That’s why members of our chargeback team are unwavering in their mission to resolve chargebacks in favor of our users.

As a result, our success rate for reversing chargebacks is twice the industry standard. On top of that, our pledge to keep your trust account safe and compliant extends to chargebacks, as well.

If a client’s bank initiates a chargeback on funds that were originally deposited into your trust account, rest assured that your trust account will not be debited. Instead, we will take alternate action to retain those funds while the investigation is in progress.

It’s just one more example of our dedication to offering an exceptional user experience. Speaking of...

Surprisingly Great User Experience

The ultimate goal of the LawPay competitors who offer generic payment solutions is to reach as wide an audience as possible by offering a platform that can be used by any individual or entity, regardless of industry.

These businesses typically aren’t interested in creating a product that supports only the unique needs and workflows of certain demographics or market segments (for instance, legal professionals) because that would limit their potential customer base.

In other words, their software is a one-size-fits-all application that may or may not integrate with the other solutions you’re using to run your firm.

Not only that, because these companies have such large and varied user bases, their support experience usually misses the mark and reverts to automated systems, long hold times, and/or vague answers.

LawPay, however, was built specifically to serve the legal industry. Our solution offers the features and functionalities that matter most to legal professionals in particular and is designed to accommodate the distinct financial requirements of law firms.

What exactly does that mean?

Well, on top of the previously-mentioned trust account protections, it means LawPay deposits the full charge amounts into the designated account (i.e., no fees taken off the top) and also allows lawyers to accept retainers and escrow payments prior to services being rendered. (Some payment processors prohibit users from accepting advance payments for future work, which is obviously anathema to attorneys and the necessity of retainers.)

Further, our platform has direct integrations with more than 50 of the leading practice management, timekeeping and invoicing, and business software solutions—more than any LawPay competitor.

Instead of trying to manage payment data and transaction histories across multiple disparate systems, you can easily incorporate secure online payment processing into your existing workflow and accept client payments within the same solutions you already know and trust.

Most importantly, along with our comprehensive self-service knowledge center, we have an in-house support team of Certified Payments Professionals (CPPs) available via email, phone, and live chat Monday–Friday.

To earn the CPP designation, employees must pass a written exam administered by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) that demonstrates they possess the superior knowledge and expertise necessary to master the complexities of today’s ever-evolving electronic payments industry.

In addition to being accredited payments experts, our support personnel are friendly and attentive. When you reach out to our support team, you won’t be met with robotic voices, unhelpful canned responses, or ludicrous wait times.

Rather, a real person in Austin, Texas with experience assisting legal professionals will promptly greet you and offer personalized advice. In fact, 95% of support phone calls are answered before the second ring.

We know your time is valuable. Time spent on the phone with a payment processor equals less possible billable time for you, and we respect that. We also know that peace of mind comes from working with a payment processing partner that utilizes technology which is reliable and secure.

Sophisticated Technology and Commitment to Security

With more than a decade of experience developing payment technology, we understand how to keep sensitive information safe.

Our platform exceeds standards for internet security and, as a Level 1 PCI compliant entity, we receive quarterly security scans as well as an annual audit from a qualified security assessor. All data is managed on our secure servers, and our end-to-end encryption technology ensures transaction details are safe from interception.

But our dedication to data protection isn’t limited just to our own operations. We also help our users avoid data breaches and cybersecurity incidents by assisting them with obtaining and maintaining PCI compliance.

Becoming PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant requires adhering to a set of standards created by the major card brands (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and AMEX) that dictate how businesses should handle credit card information.

As part of our commitment to security, every LawPay user is automatically enrolled in our PCI compliance program at no additional cost. They receive automatic notifications when their initial assessment is due as well as yearly reminders for renewals.

Similar to chargeback assistance, if you’re working with a LawPay competitor, you may receive no help at all with PCI compliance or you may have to pay an extra fee to enroll in the provider’s PCI program.

But LawPay users can take advantage of expert support from our in-house team of Certified Payments Professionals at every stage of the process—from completing the first PCI compliance questionnaire to assisting with annual renewals.

In addition, since an important aspect of PCI compliance is to try to avoid having physical copies of sensitive payment information (such as client credit card numbers) on site, LawPay users have the option to securely store payment credentials in our proprietary card vault.

Plus, our users also have the ability to securely accept payments from anywhere with our mobile app and Bluetooth card reader/swiper.

Available for both iOS and Android devices, our mobile payment system allows lawyers to accept multiple payment types, including magstripe cards, EMV chip cards, and NFC/contactless payments.

The client’s payment information is never locally stored on the mobile device; it is instead transmitted directly to your financial institution via our secure system. As a result, there’s no danger of payment information being lost or compromised. You can also collect a digital signature from your client to confirm payment authorization in the event of a future chargeback.

Our secure, user-friendly technology is yet another reason we can confidently state we outshine all LawPay competitors.

Industry Partnerships and Impressive Accolades

Anyone can declare that they’re the best at something. To objectively be the best, you need hard data or facts to back up your statements. Lawyers are all too familiar with the phrase “citation needed,” and it is no different in the land of payment processing. Fortunately, LawPay has more than a few distinctions to support our assertion of being the best online payment software for law firms.

Here are just a few:

Not to mention the fact we have been supporting the legal community for over 15 years.

Not a single one of our competitors can even make two of those claims, let alone all of them. What’s more, our Net Promoter Score (which measures how satisfied customers are with a company’s product) is as much as 30 points higher than competing payment companies.

In short, we are the industry leader in legal payment technology.

Even if you choose to ignore our myriad endorsements, there’s one important differentiator between us and nearly every other payment software provider: our commitment to upfront, transparent pricing with no hidden fees and no long-term contracts.

Unfortunately, just as with trust compliance guarantees, some LawPay competitors take creative liberties with the definition of “transparent pricing”. For example, some providers offer lower rates to new users but hide in the fine print a crucial detail: those prices are only introductory and in order to maintain the same level of service after the initial period ends, users have to pay a higher fee.

Other competitors try a different route to make it seem as if they cost less than LawPay.

These companies will boldly display what appear to be lower processing rates on their pricing pages, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find they charge extra fees for things like access to a virtual terminal or impose a higher transaction fee for keyed payments vs. swiped payments. They may also have required monthly minimums and/or processing caps.

Our pricing structure, on the other hand, is made clear to every user from day one. We don’t charge setup fees or cancellation penalties, and we don’t have tiered pricing that restricts access to certain features unless a user pays more. There also aren’t minimums or maximum limits on processing volume. You can cancel at any time, for any reason.

No other online payment solution provider comes close to LawPay. We know our software is the best, and we’d love to prove it to you. Schedule a demo to see what LawPay can offer your firm.