Methods of Receiving Trust Money

Electronic Deposits

Electronic deposits must comply with the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta, Rule 119.23. Refer to the Law Society’s website for Electronic Banking Best Practice (resource not yet available). 

A law firm may receive money into their trust account through electronic means, subject to the following conditions:

    • the law firm must obtain a confirmation from the bank or remitter of the trust money within two banking days of receiving the money;
    • if practicable, the law firm must request that the confirmation include the name of the client, the file number, or both; and
    • the law firm must retain the confirmation. 

Deposit of Credit/Debit Card Receipts

Credit card slips are considered trust money in the Rules and must be deposited directly into your trust account. 

The Rules require that trust receipts must be deposited within two banking days directly into a trust account (Rule 119.25(a)). Law firms have several options to comply when receiving trust and general receipts by credit/debit cards: 

    • If you have one payment terminal, it should be connected to the trust account. If general funds are received into trust, transfer them expeditiously to the general account.
    • If you have two payment terminals, one should be connected to the trust account for trust receipts and one should be connected to the general account for general receipts. 
    • If you have one credit/debit card terminal that allows two separate merchant numbers (one for trust and one for general), care must be taken to ensure that trust money is deposited to the trust account. 
    • If you are receiving credit card payments online, you must ensure that they are deposited to your trust account for trust receipts. 

To preserve confidentiality, use file numbers, not client names or transaction references on deposit slips. 

Trust Safety’s recommendation with regards to refunds is to return funds in the same manner as they were accepted to reduce the potential of fraud. Meaning:

    • if they pay by credit card, they get a credit to their credit card; or
    • if they pay by debit card, they get a credit to their debit card. 

Best practice, if possible, if to obtain authorization to refund to the same method of payment and send an email notifying the client of the refund in case the card is dormant, inactive or closed. 

Last modified: Monday, 21 August 2023, 10:41 AM