Virtual Terminal Solutions for Attorney’s

This article on Virtual Terminal Solutions addresses credit card processing in a law firm or individual attorney practice. How can improve security, prevent fraud, improve PCI Compliance, and reduce time to collect payments from repeat clients?

Virtual terminals are accessed via a secure web page enabling merchants to key enter credit card or other payment information. I recently helped someone hire a specialized attorney. There was no need to meet the attorney in person, and as it turns out, the specialist wasn’t local anyway. Read this article and see if you find any similarities with your own legal practice.

SCENARIO:  Collecting payment with customer not present.
A prospective client contacts an attorney regarding a legal matter for a third party. The individual desires to pay the legal bills for the party needing the services. After a brief discussion, the attorney sends a questionnaire to be filled out. After reviewing the information, a conference call is to be scheduled. There is an initial consultation fee for research, review and conference call. If the client desires to move forward, additional payment(s) will apply.

The party paying the bill requested to supply credit card information immediately to avoid any future delays as the process moved forward.  The ‘regular staff’ wasn’t in due to the holidays and an assistant took the credit card information over the phone, including CVV security code, writing it down on paper.  The firm will charge the card on the conference call date. I know the assistant doesn’t normally handle this function, but how often does this scenario happen in your law firm?


Collecting and writing down CVV information is a risky practice, and is generally not acceptable for most PCI Compliance situations. Creating a policy for Storage of Credit Card Details both on and off your premises is an essential element of PCI Compliance. Your company should have a clear written policy and all employees with access to sensitive information should have at least an abbreviated version of the written policy and have had training.

See related article, “Should you require CVV or AVS for phone orders?”.

How can a virtual terminal improve data security?

The key to selecting the best virtual terminal for a law firm is understanding the entire process for how payments are made, knowing the differences in virtual terminals available, and understanding the steps to PCI Compliance.


  1. Must enable multiple users, each with their own login. This is so you can track who makes every transaction. (Risk Management)
  2. Uniquely control user privileges- who can enter “sale”, “void”, “refund”. Each of these should be uniquely configurable. Most systems provide ALL privileges to all users, but to reduce risk, you shouldn’t provide refund capabilities to someone who is not normally involved in the billing process, as in the scenario above.
  3. Token billing for variable amounts- if you want to re-bill a customer over and over again, require tokenization. There are two unique types of token billing. One is to charge a variable amount on demand; the other is to charge multiple payments of the same amount at specific intervals, also known as installment payments. The card data is key entered via a secure web page one time only. Most solutions have an installment option, but very few have a solution for variable amount, on-demand payments.

BONUS CRITERIA- these features are not required, but there are strong reasons to put them on your list.

  1. Client/contract management. With this solution, the merchant can set up multiple contracts for the same client ID, and assign different billing periods, amounts etc.; enter the card data one time only. Each contract is given a unique token.
  2. Least cost routing. This technology will automatically require AND pass all data elements needed to qualify for the lowest cost interchange for any given card type, on to your processor. Human error and specific technical knowledge are eliminated from the process. This feature can reduce costly downgrades; for example up to .70% extra on corporate credit cards. What’s unique about this?
  • Not all virtual terminals collect the information needed.
  • Not all virtual terminals REQUIRE the information needed so it’s easy to bypass.
  • Not all virtual terminals pass on the data to the processor even if it’s collected; the merchant has no way of knowing what’s needed or what is passed on.
  • Users are typically in control, rather than intelligent software.
  • Most virtual terminals are simply gateways. There are input fields and data is passed forward. Our professional services virtual terminal solution is not just a gateway. It’s an intelligent switch that recognizes the card type and determines what is the least costly way to submit the transaction for processing. Then it collects and passes the necessary data.

3D MERCHANT SOLUTION- All of the above plus, these additional law firm friendly features:

Would you like data interaction between your credit card processing and your legal software? Via API or CSV Export, you can update your legal software application. You CANNOT export or see card data ever, but you can use last 4 digits, name, card type and other fields.

Executive Reporting: Who’s billing the most?  Eliminate wasted time creating reports and totaling data. Via the executive dashboard, you can see billing in real time, with up to 7 years data to pull from. Organize your reporting preferences by division, region, and or attorney.

See related article best virtual terminal for card not present for comparison.

FAQ for 3D Merchant recommended virtual terminal

How much does the virtual terminal cost?

The virtual terminal is very affordable. Pricing is based on volume, either dollars or transactions. Depending on your credit card processing fees now, it may even be net neutral. For a firm proposal, please submit at least 2 months merchant statements for review. (You can keep your processor or change, no difference in price.)

Are there computer requirements? High speed internet and updated browser with flash plugin. PC or MAC compatible.

How easy is it to use? After logging in and changing the temporary password, most users will figure out everything they need to know in about 5-10 minutes. There are dozens of short 15-30 second HELP video clips for instant answers.

What is the implementation time? Contract approval to account set up is usually 2-5 business days. If you’re switching processors, we’ll have everything ready for you to start accepting payments immediately. Just add users in a matter of minutes and you’re ready to go. You can even batch upload existing client data.

If you’re not switching processors, we’ll provide you with a form for your processor to complete so we can link to your existing merchant account.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.