The Texas Law Office

Bank and Payment Processor Litigation

Many small businesses are tasked with not only designing, manufacturing and selling products or services, but also managing the company's website along with its payment processing service. The payment processor is the gateway to every business and it is imperative that such gateway remain open and that cash continuously flow into your bank account. Whether you use Authorize.net, Shopify.com, Paypal.com, or any of the other processors out there you are bound to experience difficulties with them at some point in your business relationship. Many times businesses grow at a rate that is unexpected and their payment processor company ends up holding money for unreasonable amounts of time to "investigate" the charges. Such practices are often abused by these payment processors for their own benefit. The longer these payment processors hold on to your money, the more interest they make on said money. Money is fungible and these payment processors know this all too well. Many other times, the behavior is not so nefarious but meant to protect the payment processing and banking interests. But just because they are protecting their interests doesn't mean they are protecting your interest. Any violation of the law is inexcusable and you may recover damages under Federal Law.
    If you are experiencing problems with your payment processor or bank then give us a call and tell us about it so that we can figure out the best course of action. Whether that be a class action against your payment processor or bank for systemic abuses of their power or just a small claims suit, we are ready to help. See below for a selection of applicable federal statutes that your banks and payment processors must follow:

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12 C.F.R. § 229.10 NEXT-DAY AVAILABILITY

(a) Cash deposits.
(1) A bank shall make funds deposited in an account by cash available for withdrawal not later than the business day after the banking day on which the cash is deposited, if the deposit is made in person to an employee of the depositary bank.
(2) A bank shall make funds deposited in an account by cash available for withdrawal not later than the second business day after the banking day on which the cash is deposited, if the deposit is not made in person to an employee of the depositary bank.

(b) Electronic payments—

(1) In general. A bank shall make funds received for deposit in an account by an electronic payment available for withdrawal not later than the business day after the banking day on which the bank received the electronic payment.
(2) When an electronic payment is received. An electronic payment is received when the bank receiving the payment has received both—
(i) Payment in actually and finally collected funds; and
(ii) Information on the account and amount to be credited. A bank receives an electronic payment only to the extent that the bank has received payment in actually and finally collected funds.

(c) Certain check deposits—
(1) General rule. A depositary bank shall make funds deposited in an account by check available for withdrawal not later than the business day after the banking day on which the funds are deposited

12 CFR § 229.12 - AVAILABILITY SCHEDULE.

(f) Deposits at nonproprietary ATMs. A depositary bank shall make funds deposited in an account at a nonproprietary ATM by cash or check available for withdrawal not later than the fifth business day following the banking day on which the funds are deposited.

12 CFR § 229.13 EXCEPTIONS

(a) New accounts. For purposes of this paragraph, checks subject to § 229.10(c)(1)(v) include traveler's checks.
    (1) A deposit in a new account—
       (i) Is subject to the requirements of § 229.10 (a) and (b) to make funds from deposits by cash and electronic payments available for withdrawal on the business day following the banking day of deposit or receipt;
      (ii) Is subject to the requirements of § 229.10(c)(1) (i) through (v) and § 229.10(c)(2) only with respect to the first $5,000 of funds deposited on any one banking day; but the amount of the deposit in excess of $5,000 shall be available for withdrawal not later than the ninth business day following the banking day on which funds are deposited; and
      (iii) Is not subject to the availability requirements of §§ 229.10(c)(1)(vi) and (vii) and 229.12.

    (2) An account is considered a new account during the first 30 calendar days after the account is established. An account is not considered a new account if each customer on the account has had, within 30 calendar days before the account is established, another account at the depositary bank for at least 30 calendar days.
(b) Large deposits.Sections 229.10 (c) and 229.12 do not apply to the aggregate amount of deposits by one or more checks to the extent that the aggregate amount is in excess of $5,000 on any one banking. day. For customers that have multiple accounts at a depositary bank, the bank may apply this exception to the aggregate deposits to all accounts held by the customer, even if the customer is not the sole holder of the accounts and not all of the holders of the accounts are the same.
(e) Reasonable cause to doubt collectibility—
(1) In general.Sections 229.10(c) and 229.12 do not apply to a check deposited in an account at a depositary bank if the depositary bank has reasonable cause to believe that the check is uncollectible from the paying bank. Reasonable cause to believe a check is uncollectible requires the existence of facts that would cause a well-grounded belief in the mind of a reasonable person. Such belief shall not be based on the fact that the check is of a particular class or is deposited by a particular class of persons. The reason for the bank's belief that the check is uncollectible shall be included in the notice required under paragraph (g) of this section.
(f) Emergency conditions.Sections 229.10(c) and 229.12 do not apply to funds deposited by check in a depositary bank in the case of—
(1) An interruption of communications or computer or other equipment facilities;
(2) A suspension of payments by another bank;
(3) A war; or
(4) An emergency condition beyond the control of the depositary bank, if the depositary bank exercises such diligence as the circumstances require.
(g) Notice of exception—
(1) In general. Subject to paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(3) of this section, when a depositary bank extends the time when funds will be available for withdrawal based on the application of an exception contained in paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section, it must provide the depositor with a written notice.
(i) The notice shall include the following information—
(A) A number or code, which need not exceed four digits, that identifies the customer's account;
(B) The date of the deposit;
(C) The amount of the deposit that is being delayed;
(D) The reason the exception was invoked; and
(E) The time period within which the funds will be available for withdrawal.

(ii) Timing of notice. The notice shall be provided to the depositor at the time of the deposit, unless the deposit is not made in person to an employee of the depositary bank, or, if the facts upon which a determination to invoke one of the exceptions in paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section to delay a deposit only become known to the depositary bank after the time of the deposit. If the notice is not given at the time of the deposit, the depositary bank shall mail or deliver the notice to the customer as soon as practicable, but no later than the first business day following the day the facts become known to the depositary bank, or the deposit is made, whichever is later.
(2) One-time exception notice. In lieu of providing notice pursuant to paragraph (g)(1) of this section, a depositary bank that extends the time when the funds deposited in a nonconsumer account will be available for withdrawal based on an exception contained in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section may provide a single notice to the customer that includes the following information—
(i) The reason(s) the exception may be invoked; and
(ii) The time period within which deposits subject to the exception generally will be available for withdrawal. This one-time notice shall be provided only if each type of exception cited in the notice will be invoked for most check deposits in the account to which the exception could apply. This notice shall be provided at or prior to the time notice must be provided under paragraph (g)(1)(ii) of this section.
(4) Emergency conditions exception notice. When a depositary bank extends the time when funds will be available for withdrawal based on the application of the emergency conditions exception contained in paragraph (f) of this section, it must provide the depositor with notice in a reasonable form and within a reasonable time given the circumstances. The notice shall include the reason the exception was invoked and the time period within which funds shall be made available for withdrawal, unless the depositary bank, in good faith, does not know at the time the notice is given the duration of the emergency and, consequently, when the funds must be made available. The depositary bank is not required to provide a notice if the funds subject to the exception become available before the notice must be sent.
(5) Record retention. A depositary bank shall retain a record, in accordance with § 229.21(g), of each notice provided pursuant to its application of the reasonable cause exception under paragraph (e) of this section, together with a brief statement of the facts giving rise to the bank's reason to doubt the collectibility of the check.
(h) Availability of deposits subject to exceptions. (1) If an exception contained in paragraphs (b) through (f) of this section applies, the depositary bank may extend the time periods established under §§ 229.10(c) and 229.12 by a reasonable period of time.

(2) If a depositary bank invokes an exception contained in paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section with respect to a check described in § 229.10(c)(1) (i) through (v) or § 229.10(c)(2), it shall make the funds available for withdrawal not later than a reasonable period after the day the funds would have been required to be made available had the check been subject to 229.12.

(3) If a depositary bank invokes an exception under paragraph (f) of this section based on an emergency condition, the depositary bank shall make the funds available for withdrawal not later than a reasonable period after the emergency has ceased or the period established in §§ 229.10(c) and 229.12, whichever is later.

(4) For the purposes of this section, a “reasonable period” is an extension of up to one business day for checks described in § 229.10(c)(1)(vi), five business days for checks described in § 229.12(b) (1) through (4), and six business days for checks described in § 229.12(c) (1) and (2) or § 229.12(f). A longer extension may be reasonable, but the bank has the burden of so establishing.

12 CFR § 229.18 ADDITIONAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS.

(d) Upon request. A bank shall provide to any person, upon oral or written request, a notice containing the applicable specific availability policy disclosure described in § 229.l6.

12 CFR § 229.21 CIVIL LIABILITY

(a) Civil liability. A bank that fails to comply with any requirement imposed under subpart B, and in connection therewith, subpart A, of this part or any provision of state law that supersedes any provision of subpart B, and in connection therewith, subpart A, with respect to any person is liable to that person in an amount equal to the sum of—
(1) Any actual damage sustained by that person as a result of the failure;
(2) Such additional amount as the court may allow, except that—
(i) In the case of an individual action, liability under this paragraph shall not be less than $100 nor greater than $1,000; and
(ii) In the case of a class action—
(A) No minimum recovery shall be applicable to each member of the class; and
(B) The total recovery under this paragraph in any class action or series of class actions arising out of the same failure to comply by the same depositary bank shall not be more than the lesser of $500,000 or 1 percent of the net worth of the bank involved; and
(3) In the case of a successful action to enforce the foregoing liability, the costs of the action, together with a reasonable attorney's fee as determined by the court.
(b) Class action awards. In determining the amount of any award in any class action, the court shall consider, among other relevant factors—
(1) The amount of any damages awarded;
(2) The frequency and persistence of failures of compliance;
(3) The resources of the bank;
(4) The number of persons adversely affected; and
(5) The extent to which the failure of compliance was intentional.
(c) Bona fide errors—(1) General rule. A bank is not liable in any action brought under this section for a violation of this subpart if the bank demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error, notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error.
(2) Examples. Examples of a bona fide error include clerical, calculation, computer malfunction and programming, and printing errors, except that an error of legal judgment with respect to the bank's obligation under this subpart is not a bona fide error.
(d) Jurisdiction. Any action under this section may be brought in any United States district court or in any other court of competent jurisdiction, and shall be brought within one year after the date of the occurrence of the violation involved.
(e) Reliance on Board rulings. No provision of this subpart imposing any liability shall apply to any act done or omitted in good faith in conformity with any rule, regulation, or interpretation thereof by the Board, regardless of whether such rule, regulation, or interpretation is amended, rescinded, or determined by judicial or other authority to be invalid for any reason after the act or omission has occurred.
(f) Exclusions. This section does not apply to claims that arise under subpart C of this part or to actions for wrongful dishonor.
(g) Record retention.
(1) A bank shall retain evidence of compliance with the requirements imposed by this subpart for not less than two years. Records may be stored by use of microfiche, microfilm, magnetic tape, or other methods capable of accurately retaining and reproducing information.
(2) If a bank has actual notice that it is being investigated, or is subject to an enforcement proceeding by an agency charged with monitoring that bank's compliance with the EFA Act and this subpart, or has been served with notice of an action filed under this section, it shall retain the records pertaining to the action or proceeding pending final disposition of the matter, unless an earlier time is allowed by order of the agency or court.