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How safe is it to take card payments over the phone?

The payment card industry has strict regulations for dealing with payment security, making it a key consideration for every business that deals with card payments. Security is especially important when taking payment over the phone. While many customers prefer the human interaction that goes along with paying over the phone with a credit card, others are wary of the security implications. Find out how to make it safe for your customers to pay over the phone.

Is allowing your customers to pay over the phone safe?

Yes, it is safe to accept credit cards over the phone, assuming you implement robust security measures. However, if you allow your security to lapse or you aren’t following standard security procedures, then issues could arise.

In addition, it’s important to take extra steps to ensure that you’re dealing with a legitimate customer. Otherwise, you could end up being liable for an expensive chargeback fee from a fraudulent customer.

4 ways to make paying by credit card over the phone safe

If you’re a small business that accepts credit cards over the phone, there are a number of security measures that you should put into place to maximise the security of the transaction:

  1. Think about using a virtual terminal provider – When taking payments over the phone, using a virtual terminal provider can help to protect your business against fraud. In essence, virtual terminals are secure web pages enabling you to process card payments online. They’ll automatically check whether the inputted security code is a match for the one that’s held on file by the card issuer and may also use address verification as a further form of approval.

  2. Ensure you are PCI DSS compliant – Adhering to PCI DSS requirements is easily the most impactful thing you can do to ensure paying by credit card over the phone is safe for your customers and your business. In short, PCI DSS is a set of requirements regarding the storage, transmission, and processing of cardholder data. There are 12 steps (broken down into six categories) as well as four different levels, depending on the number of transactions your business deals with per year. Whether you want to handle it in-house or hire an external assessor to help you meet the requirements, achieving PCI DSS compliance will help your business reduce fraud and secure your card payments process.  

  3. Enforce a culture of security among employees – Your staff are likely to be one of the weakest links in your company when it comes to payment security. Ensure that all staff members who are involved with taking card payments over the phone have a thorough understanding of your security procedures, and run regular training sessions to make sure that everyone is on the same page. It may also be a good idea to run background checks on all employees.

  4. Review your payment security practices – It’s easy for errors to creep into your payments process, so it’s always a good idea to run regular reviews of your security standards. After your customer has finished paying by card over the phone, be sure not to store their card numbers or security codes. You should also run regular malware checks and encourage your staff to be extra vigilant when they accept credit cards over the phone.

Consider using GoCardless

To ensure your customer’s payment security, taking payment through a trusted provider like GoCardless may be the best option. While UK consumers place a high value on security when paying for something online, convenience isn’t too far behind. Offering quick, simple, and low-risk payments via Direct Debit is a great way of providing your customers with the balance of security and convenience they’re looking for.

GoCardless uses strong encryption to take card payments more securely. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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GoCardless Ltd., Sutton Yard, 65 Goswell Road, London, EC1V 7EN, United Kingdom

GoCardless (company registration number 07495895) is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, registration number 597190, for the provision of payment services.