Credit Card Collection Network
|Any law firm, legal agency, or company can arrange to use a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express card when making payment to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Office of the Clerk of Court, for filing fees and other district-court-related expenses. Credit card payment provides for an alternative to cash/checks that easily accommodates any internal accounting procedure. The network supports in-person, telephone and mail requests.
In September of 1987, the Department of Treasury through its Financial Management Service (FMS), established a government credit card collection network to enable federal agencies to accept credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) for the collection of receipts due the government. Effective August 30, 1999, Discover and American Express in addition to Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted for financial transactions by the Office of the Clerk of Court.
As a follow-up to the request of the Clerk of Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in August of 1986, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts approved it as the pilot district for implementation of the credit card network within the Judiciary. Subsequently, the Administrative Office, on behalf of the United States Courts, entered into a contract with a bank which provides clerks' offices with processing services for Visa and MasterCard transactions.
To implement the program in the Clerk's Office, we identified potential transactions (see Notice below) which we felt were conducive to the use of credit cards. Next, we selected 25 law firms and 10 sole practitioners in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas to participate in the pilot program, prior to announcing the service to the bar and general public. We conducted a one-day seminar for members of those law firms and outlined the program to them with a series of presentations from members of the Clerk's Office staff and bank representatives.
We believe the use of credit cards by members of the bar and the public facilitates the processing of financial transactions at the district court. From the government's perspective, the use of credit cards provides next-day availability of funds, reduces the amount of cash handled each day by cashiers, thereby minimizing the possibility of error, and facilitates the bookkeeping process for both the Clerk's Office and participating customers. Conservative estimates place the volume of charges of government transactions at $3 to $10 billion annually. By providing next-day availability of funds to the government, savings of at least $2 million a year will be realized.
From the law firms' perspective, the benefits are even greater. Using a credit card for payment of transactions in the Clerk's Office means that legal couriers no longer are required to carry cash to pay filing or copy fees; blank checks are no longer drawn because amounts are unknown; and the billing procedures fit easily into any internal accounting method used.
For those firms which are concerned with the safekeeping of the actual credit card, the Clerk's Office will maintain the firm's credit card number, expiration date and the signature of one of the firm's partners, after completion of an Authorization Application which can also be found here.
Please view this Notice concerning the Credit Card Collection Network. For additional information, please contact Lucy Chin at (267) 299-7112 or Joseph Hall at (267) 299-7107.