How do I take card payments over the phone?

Published: 11/01/2019

Taking payments over the phone means you can offer your customers a way to pay when they’re not there with you in person.

It’s great if you work from home, manage a delivery service (like a takeaway or food outlet), take catalogue orders (like a clothing shop), or run a taxi service, for example.

So, if you’re ready to get started, there’s a couple of ways you can do it. You can either use a virtual terminal or a physical card machine, both of which we can help you with!

Let’s take a look at how each of these work.

Virtual terminal

A virtual terminal is basically an online version of a physical card machine – the type you see in shops and restaurants.

However, as your customer isn’t there to put their card into a machine and enter a PIN, you can access an easy to use online system instead (called a virtual terminal). This lets you process a card payment for them from any device that has internet access, like a computer, tablet or a phone.

We’ll send you login details and a URL, then, you simply need to:

  • Log on
  • Take your customers’ details over the phone and complete a secure payment form
  • Submit the transaction and get paid.

It’s that easy!

For security reasons, you’ll need to enter your customers’ card verification code (known as a CVC) and the digits from their postcode. This is called an AVS and CV2 security check and helps prevent card payment fraud. You can find out more about these checks in our card payment security blog.

The transaction will be submitted the same way as a Chip and PIN transaction, through a merchant account. The funds will sit in the merchant account whilst being checked and processed, before being transferred to your business bank account, where you’ll be able to access them.

Plus, if you want your staff to be able to take phone payments, you can add additional users to the system at no extra cost. You can also set them up with different authority levels, perfect if you want to limit who can see what.

Read everything you need to know about virtual terminals here.

Card machines

If you want to take phone payments with a card machine, you’ll need one that’s set-up to do this (all of our card readers come equipped to handle over the phone payments as standard).

As previously mentioned, in a standard card payment transaction, your customer would need to pop their card into the machine and then provide their 4-digit PIN code. However, if they’re on the phone and not with you, they can’t do this.

So instead, you can take your customers’ payment details from them and manually enter these into the card machine using the keypad.

This also uses AVS and CV2 security checks to help prevent card payment fraud, as mentioned earlier and the funds will be deposited into your merchant account before being transferred to your business account once approved.

This method is ok if you only take the odd phone payment, but if it’s a regular thing, a virtual terminal would be more beneficial to you.

What are the benefits of taking payments over the phone?

It’s quick and easy to set-up. To get started with a virtual terminal, you only need to be given a login and a URL and then you’re ready to go!

It’s really quick and easy to process a card payment too, so your customers will be happy, plus you can email them a receipt straight to their inbox once the transaction is complete. This will also save on paper so you’ll be doing your bit for the environment too!

You can also do business from anywhere you have the internet  - whether that’s on the weekend or late at night, giving your customers more flexibility.

How to get started

If you want to start taking phone payments, you’ve come to the right place.

We’re experts on all types of card payment processing, including phone payments.

With a team of over 90 card payment specialists available across the UK, a local specialist will come to meet you face to face and discuss the best solution for your business.

They work within your area and have a wealth of local business knowledge so that you can stay ahead of your competitors. They’ll create a personalised pricing package, designed to suit your business.

There are no set-up fees when you join, plus you won’t be charged an exit fee if you choose to leave at the end of your contract. We also have a 12-month contract available – currently one of the shortest available on the market.

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