Online Credit Card Payments February 2022

Context

Cashflow and lock up are among the top 5 challenges for small law firms, and getting paid on time is a particularly challenging issue across the industry with 60% of clients paying their invoices late.

Credit card payments have proven to reduce debtor days, and we want to deliver better ways to get paid faster with Smokeball.

Solution

Smokeball is now supporting online credit card payments so your clients can now go to a credit card payment facility straight from the invoice.

Having credit card payments available not only helps your firm project a modern brand image using modern technology, it also helps you get paid faster, reduce the time spent chasing debtors, and improve cashflow for your firm.

We have partnered with Stripe to offer a seamless credit card payment option with a simple "Pay Now" button on your Smokeball invoices.

You will need a Stripe account, and standard Stripe transaction fees apply: 1.75% plus 30c per transaction for Australian credit cards only. 

Learn more about Stripe pricing.

Feature Details

Linking your Stripe Account with Smokeball

  1. Firstly, create a Stripe account. If you already have a Stripe account, please note when connecting your existing Stripe account to Smokeball, a new account will be created for you within Stripe.
    This is normal, and this is how the Stripe Connect integration is designed to work in order to ensure your existing account is not changed.
  2. Once you have a Stripe account set up, login to Smokeball Billing, click the cogwheel icon in the top right to open the Settings menu, then click "Firm Settings"
  3. Click the new “Payment Provider” option and follow the prompts to link your Operating Account for invoice payments and your Trust Account for Trust deposits.
    You will find your new payment accounts will be created automatically without  you having to enter all your details again.
  4. You also have the ability to switch on the option to pass the Stripe fees onto your clients as a surcharge, or switch it off so your law firm will absorb the Stripe fee.
    N.B. This option is unavailable for deposits made into Trust Accounts due to Law Society regulations - the Stripe fee is always added onto your client's payment by default for Trust Account deposits.

Trust Deposits

Within a matter in Smokeball Billing, under the Transactions tab you will now see two new buttons: “Credit Card Deposit” and “Credit Card Deposit Request”

  • Credit Card Deposit: This is the screen you use internally in the law firm if you have a client paying over the phone or in person with credit card
  • Credit Card Deposit Request: This is the screen you use to generate an email to your client with a link built in, allowing the client to click on the link directing them to the Stripe credit card portal where they make the credit card payment.

When making a Trust Deposit, the Amount entered will be the total amount of money the client intends to deposit into Trust.
The Stripe fees will be added on top of this amount, with the total amount to be charged shown clearly to the client.

In the example below, the law firm will receive the full $1000 into their trust account and the client will pay a total of $1,018.12 to cover the Stripe fees.

The law firm does not receive or handle the Stripe fees at all as the fees are debited by Stripe, and the law firm receives the $1000 amount they requested from their client.

When a credit card Trust Deposit is processed either within Smokeball by the law firm or via the payment portal by the client, a Trust Account receipt is automatically generated in Smokeball against the corresponding matter.

Invoice Deposits/Payments

The second type of credit card payment is when a firm’s client pays an invoice directly into their operating account. The credit card payment portal can be accessed from:

  1. A “Pay Now” button which is embedded on PDF invoices
  2. A “Pay Now” button which is on your eInvoice page
  3. A QR code on the PDF invoices (this can be switched on/off in your settings)
  4. A PDF invoice displays both the QR code to allow your client to scan and pay via their phone, as well as the "Pay Now" button which will take your client directly to the payment portal

  1. An eInvoice displays the "Pay Now" button at the top right of the screen which will take your client directly to the payment portal

When your client clicks “Pay Now” from either of these options or when they scan the QR code, they will be taken to a branded payment portal to input their card details

When a credit card invoice payment is processed via the payment portal, a Deposit is created within Smokeball and the payment is applied against the corresponding invoice.

If part payment is made against multiple invoices, the payment will automatically apply against the oldest invoice first in Smokeball.

Security

Smokeball does not save any credit card details, in fact, credit card details do not go through Smokeball at all.

They go directly from your client to Stripe, ensuring that the payments are secure and meet all PCI compliance requirements.

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