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Taking Credit Card Payments Over the Phone

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Last editedMay 20232 min read

There are more ways than ever to accept credit card payments for your business, especially when it comes to online payment options. But in certain circumstances you may want to take orders or accept payment more traditionally, by phone. Takeaway restaurants, for example, often need to take payments this way.

Many people still prefer to pay for goods or services over the phone, too, and if someone phones you to ask about your products, it makes sense for your business if they can pay for the items then and there.  

Despite this, payments over the phone are often seen as old-fashioned, with some people wondering if taking credit card payments over the phone is even allowed.  In fact, over-the-phone-payments can still offer significant value for businesses because they're real-time, but read on to find easy alternatives.

In this post we’ll examine the best way to take credit card payments over the phone and outline the taking credit card payments over the phone regulations you’ll need to adhere to.

Best way to take credit card payments over the phone

There are various methods for accepting a customer’s credit card payment over the phone. Here are the three main ways:

  1. Using a merchant account provider: A merchant account provider will give you a dedicated account for your business. Plus, you’ll receive tools including card readers, a virtual terminal, or software to enable you to take credit card payments in your preferred ways. Merchant accounts are not the cheapest way to offer credit card processing, however, they are generally considered the most secure way to do so.

  2. Keying in card numbers on your credit card terminal: This is a straightforward way to collect credit card payments over the phone. You simply ask your customer to read off their card number, expiration date and CSV code and you type this information into your credit card terminal at the POS (point of sale).

  3. Using your mobile credit card processing application to key in card numbers.

Regulations for taking credit card payments over the phone

Many people ask whether taking credit card payments over the phone is safe. The answer is – yes, as long as you follow the right protocols. The biggest risks associated with phone payments comes from failing to follow PCI DSS compliance. This refers to the consent to safely accept, store, process and transmit cardholder data during card transactions.

Not being compliant with the rules can lead to fines, so it’s essential to do things properly. This means it’s wise to choose a secure payment provider (and accompanying virtual terminal) to do the hard work for you. They should ensure that all errors, mistakes, and disputes are resolved in the best way. If your provider cannot handle PCI compliance for you, you’ll need to find a way to ensure that compliance is still part of your payment solution.

Alternatives to taking card payments over the phone

Many customers will have doubts around reading their sensitive card details over the phone to you. It certainly can seem more old fashioned and less secure than the modern payment methods available today. It also simply takes a fair bit of effort to locate the card, reel off the numbers, and check it's all been heard accurately.

An easy solution for confirming payments instantly while you have a customer on the phone is to send them a payment link using a solution like PayTo instant payments. The customer goes through the flow, and the payment is confirmed instantly for you both.

We hope this post has answered the question “how do I take credit card payments over the phone?” and gave you some useful tips on the best ways to do so.

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