If you’re a small business owner, then there’s a good chance that you’ll need to take credit card payments and debit card payments over the phone at some point. There are a few different ways to manage card transactions by phone and we’ll outline three of the most common methods: merchant accounts, third-party processors, and over-the-counter (OTC) terminals.
Read on for the pros and cons of each method, what you need to get started and tips for getting the most out of your phone payment processes.
Accepting Card Payments By Phone
To use this straightforward way to process payments without the cardholder needing to be physically present, you’ll need to invest in a good-quality card reader that can be connected to your phone line. This will allow you to process payment details quickly and securely. You will then need to set up a dedicated payment line so that customers can make their payments.
Once the equipment is in place, you’ll need to train your staff on how to take card payments over the phone. They should know how to ask for the customer’s card details, as well as how to process the payment securely.
Payments Step By Step:
Get the cardholder’s permission to charge their card. This is important both for security and for avoiding fraud charges.
Ask for the card number, expiration date, and CVV code. You’ll need all of this information to process the payment.
Use a secure payment processing system to charge the card. There are many options available, so choose one that meets your needs.
Obtain a receipt from the cardholder. This serves as proof of the transaction and can be helpful if there are any issues later on.
Processing Options For Card Transactions By Phone
Card payments over the phone can be processed in a few different ways, each with its own set of pros and cons. Here are three of the most common methods:
If you want to keep things in-house and have more control over your payment processing, then a merchant account could be the best solution for you. With a merchant account, you’ll be able to process card payments through your own website or directly through a phone line.
You’ll have more control over the payment processing
Can be used to process payments on your website as well as over the phone
Typically comes with lower fees than other methods
Takes more time to set up
Requires a bit more technical know-how
If you’re looking for a simpler solution that doesn’t require setting up your merchant account, then you can use a third-party processor. With this method, you’ll simply need to sign up for an account with a third-party provider and then start processing payments.
Easy to set up
No need to worry about setting up your own merchant account
Typically more expensive than other methods
Less control over the payment processing
Over The Counter (OTC) Terminals
If you’re looking for a solution that’s somewhere in between a merchant account and a third-party processor, then an OTC terminal could be the right choice. With this method, you’ll need to set up your merchant account, but you’ll also be able to use an OTC terminal or card machine as it’s more commonly called to process payments.
Easy to set up
Can be used to process payments on your website as well as over the phone
Gives you more control over the payment processing than a third-party processor
More expensive than other methods
Requires a bit more technical know-how
What You Need To Get Started
Whichever method of taking card payments by phone you choose, there are a few things you’ll need to get started:
A phone line: You’ll need a dedicated phone line for processing card payments. This can be a landline or a VoIP line.
A payment gateway: This is what will allow you to process card payments. You can use a third-party gateway or set up your own.
A merchant account: This is only necessary if you’re using a merchant account or an OTC terminal. You can set this up with your bank or a third-party provider.
Any terminal or payment provider you use should be PCI DSS compliant. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards and is a set of strict guidelines to ensure sensitive customer information is protected during card transactions.
Setting Up Your Account And Merchant Terminal
To take card payments over the phone, you’ll need to set up your account and merchant terminal. The first step is to create an account with a card payment processor. You’ll need to provide some basic information, such as your name, business name, address, and contact information.
Once you’ve created your account, you’ll be able to log in and access your merchant terminal. This is where you’ll enter the card details for each transaction and you’ll also be able to set up recurring payments and track your transactions.
Whilst each provider’s account will vary slightly in look, the basic steps will always be to:
Log in to the Business Manager portal to manage your payments
Enter your customer’s details into the secure payments page — including card data, address, order description
Click Submit Transaction and the payment is processed
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Phone Payments
Use A Dedicated Phone Line
Using a dedicated phone line for your card payments will ensure that the line is always available and that your calls are never dropped. This is especially important if you’re taking payments over the phone regularly.
Offer Multiple Payment Options
Giving your customers multiple payment options will make it easier for them to pay and will increase the likelihood that they’ll complete a purchase. In addition to taking card payments over the phone, you should also offer other options like online payments, mobile payments, and in-person payments.
Keep Your Payment Processes Simple
The simpler your payment processes are, the easier it will be for your customers to pay. Make sure that your payment forms are short and easy to understand, and that your phone payment process is quick and straightforward.
Use A Reputable Payment Processor
Using a reputable payment processor is important for ensuring the security of your transactions and protecting your business from fraud. When choosing a payment processor, be sure to do your research and read reviews to find a reliable and trustworthy provider.
Train Your Employees
If you have employees who will be taking payments over the phone, they must be properly trained. Be sure to give them a thorough understanding of your payment processes and procedures so that they can take payments efficiently and accurately. Having a crib sheet showing the process to follow and who they can ask for help by the card terminal is useful.
Test Your Payment Processes
Before you start taking live payments, it’s important to test your payment processes to ensure that they’re working correctly. You can do this by setting up test accounts with your payment processor and running through the entire process from start to finish. This will help you catch any errors or issues so that they can be fixed before you start taking live payments.
Secure Your Phone Line
If you’re using a VoIP line for your card payments, it’s important to secure the line to prevent eavesdropping and fraud. You can do this by encrypting your calls with a VoIP security system.
Keep Your Software Up To Date
Keeping your software up to date is important for ensuring the security of your system and the safety of your customers’ data. Be sure to install all security updates and patches as soon as they’re available, and keep an eye out for new versions of your software so that you can update when necessary.
Monitor Your Transactions
Monitoring your transactions is a crucial part of fraud prevention. Be sure to review your transactions regularly so that you can catch any suspicious activity early on. If you see anything that looks suspicious, be sure to investigate further.
Protect Your Customers’ Data
Protecting your customers’ data including customer card details is essential for keeping their information safe and preventing fraud. Be sure to encrypt all of your customers’ data, both in transit and at rest. You should also have a robust security system in place to protect your data from unauthorised access.
Stay Up To Date On Industry Changes & Payment regulations.
The payments industry is constantly changing, and it’s important to stay up to date on the latest developments and regulations. This will help you identify new opportunities and threats, understand your business requirements and make sure that you’re always complying with relevant laws and regulations, whilst keeping your business moving forward.
Have A Backup Plan
Having a backup plan is important for any business, but it’s especially crucial to businesses that rely on remote payments for goods and services. Make sure that you have a contingency plan in place in case your phone payments are out of operation to keep your business running smoothly.
Be Prepared For Fraud
Sadly, fraud is a reality that you need to be prepared for when dealing with card payments over the phone. Make sure that you have a fraud prevention strategy in place so that you can protect your business and its customers from fraudulent activity.
Get Help From A Payment Processor
Working with a trusted payment partner is crucial for ensuring the success of your business. Make sure that you choose a partner that you can trust to provide you with the best possible service. If you’re not sure how to handle a particular situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to your payment processor for help. They’ll be able to give you the guidance and support you need to keep your business running smoothly.
Have A Plan For Growth
As your business grows, so will its payment processing requirements. Make sure that you have a plan in place for how you’ll handle increased volume so that you can keep your business running smoothly.
Recording Payments And Issuing Receipts
It is important to make sure that you are recording the payments accurately and issuing receipts correctly when you transmit cardholder data, so follow these steps to ensure you’re handling card payments correctly. It should also be clear when a transaction occurred as a telephone payment from your records.
When recording a payment, be sure to get all of the information from the customer, including the name on the card, the card number, the expiration date, the CVV code on the back of the card, and the amount being charged. You will also need to get the billing address and phone number for the card. Once you have all of this information, you can process the payment through your chosen method.
When issuing a receipt for a phone payment, be sure to include all of the same information that you would for any other type of transaction. This includes the date, the amount paid, a description of what was purchased, the name and address of the customer, and the customer’s signature. By including all of this information, you can help to prevent any misunderstandings or disputes down the road.
When it comes to payments, accuracy is key. Be sure to double-check your records before you submit them to your payment processor. This will help to ensure that you’re always paid on time and that your customers are happy with the service they’ve received.
Benefits Of Taking Card Payments Over The Phone
Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it allows businesses to accept payments from a wider range of customers.
Card payments over the phone are generally more secure than other methods of payment, such as cash or cheques.
Card payments by phone can be more convenient for you as the business owner as you can process payments from anywhere, at any time. This can be a huge time-saver, especially if you are a busy small business owner.
Card payments are convenient for both businesses and customers. Businesses can process payments quickly and easily, and customers can make a payment anytime, anywhere.
Overall, taking card payments over the phone is a great way to improve your business’s bottom line.
Increase Sales With Phone Card Payments
Phone card payments are a great way to make it easy for customers to pay you, which ultimately improves your chance of making a sale and increasing business sales. In addition, phone card payments are typically processed quickly, so you won’t have to wait long to receive your money.
Remember to make it clear to your customers how you can accept payment. You can display this information on your website, in your shop or showroom if you have a physical presence, on your invoices, or even by using recorded messages on your phone system.
To start accepting phone card payments and increasing your sales, you’ll need to sign up with a merchant account provider or third party payment processor. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to start accepting payments by phone.
If you’re wondering how to take card payments over the phone, we hope the steps outlined in this article will get you started. By investing in the right equipment, recording payments and issuing receipts correctly, you can start taking credit card payments and over-the-phone payments as an alternative to face-to-face payments.