Should lawyers charge credit card processing fees?

I think lawyers ask for trouble if they charge clients for credit card processing fees.

The processing charge is overhead, just like lights and rent. Unfortunately, from my perspective, too many lawyers think of expense items as profit centers … items such as small photocopy jobs and the like get billed to the client.

In no other business do clients permit or accept such charges. The client would complain less if you increased your hourly rate across the board by $5 (or more) than if you charge a penny or two more for photocopies or if you charge for credit card processing fees.

Credit cards are for your convenience. Yes, the clients today live on plastic and therefore credit cards are easier for clients … they don’t carry that much cash and few carry check books. But, think of it … if you have the credit card information of the client and you have permission from the client to charge his/her account, you get paid more readily and certainly more quickly! That’s for your convenience, that’s for your improved cash flow … and the few dollars (2% to 4%, depending on your volume, the card and your ability to negotiate with your bank and processing agent) it cost you to get the money faster is off-set by the ease of payment, the assurance of payment and the speed of collection (time is money)!


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