How to Start Taking Credit Card Payments Over the Phone

For most businesses, accepting credit cards is essential to success. However, what if a customer can’t make it to your store or simply wants to use their card outside the point of sale? In these situations, your best option may be to take their order by phone. Here’s all you need to know about accepting credit card payments over the phone.


The Benefits


Many people like the human interaction that over-the-phone payments provide. Plus, if they’ve already called you to ask about your products, it’s probably easier for them to pay right away. If this approach leads to them getting their products faster, that’s a nice bonus.


Over-the-phone payments are perfect for delivery-based businesses, as the customers don’t actually visit your store. These payments are also great if you don’t want to keep cash on your premises or want to protect your company by taking deposits from your customers.


The Costs


The cost of accepting credit cards via phone will depend on your pricing model and the credit card processor you choose. As a rule of thumb, though, over-the-phone payments will set you back slightly more than accepting physical credit cards.


How big of a cost are we talking about? Well, most processors will charge you 2-4 percent for any given transaction. That number is likely to be on the higher end, as card-not-present transactions are inherently riskier than transactions involving a physical card.


Safety Measures


There are a couple of things you can do to protect yourself from the aforementioned risks. First, always ask for complete information before accepting a credit card transaction over the phone. This includes asking for the card number, CSV code, expiration date, the customer’s name as it appears on the card, their phone number, and billing address.


You should also use a secure POS system. These reduce the chance of fraud, as they have the technology necessary for verifying a customer’s account.


What You Need


Once you decide to start taking credit card payments via phone, all you’ll need to do is choose your provider and get the right equipment. Here’s a list of things you’ll need:


• Virtual terminal: This refers to software that allows you to process card-not-present transactions by using an online sales app. Most internet-ready devices can serve as virtual terminals.


• Credit card reader: You should get your credit card reader from your provider. Some of these machines contain a built-in mobile card reader, whereas others will require you to plug the reader into your phone’s headphone jack.


• POS app: Many merchant service providers will require you to download their proprietary app. Send the app to your Android or iOS platform, install it, and start processing sales.

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