Accepting credit card payments over the phone is a great way to increase sales.
But how do you do it?
In this article, we’ll address and clarify some of the most common questions business owners have about this type of credit card payment.
We’ll then explain how to accept credit card payments over the phone and introduce you to several card payment software solutions that can be used throughout the UK.
What Kinds of Businesses Can Benefit From Phone Card Payments?
Any business that wants to grow and offer a variety of payment methods to their customers will undoubtedly benefit from credit card payments over the phone.
Businesses in the following industries are most likely to benefit from phone card payments:
- Remote companies
- Hotels, hostels, and BnBs
- Travel agencies
- Pharmacies and businesses that provide medical services
- eCommerce businesses, such as online shops that sell food, drinks, or retail
- Businesses that offer delivery services (restaurants, fast food kiosks, etc.)
- Businesses that operate on the move
- Pop-up kiosks
- Businesses that collect deposits from customers in advance
The easiest and quickest way to process transactions over the phone is with the help of a user-friendly virtual terminal. This digital tool lets businesses handle both credit and debit card transactions seamlessly and offers the flexibility to process payments from any location at any time.
Businesses can use virtual terminals by logging in to their POS software accounts, but we’ll delve into that later.
The Benefits of Mobile Credit Card Payments
- Accessibility and efficacy: Making payments over the phone is an easy and fast payment method that’s especially beneficial for customers who are either unable to pay in person or find online payment systems challenging to navigate.
- Enhanced and regular revenue flow: The accuracy and speed of these types of payments enable businesses to confirm bookings, orders, or services as promptly as possible, thereby receiving regular revenue flow.
- Improved customer experience: Conducting transactions over the phone provides an opportunity for businesses to interact directly with customers. This interaction can be used to address specific questions customers may have and lets companies offer additional information or recommend other products or services, enhancing the overall customer experience.
- Market reach expansion: The option to process payments over the phone helps businesses improve their market reach expansion and diversify their customer base. This includes those who favour phone transactions or those less inclined to make online purchases.
How Safe Are Credit Card Payments Over The Phone?
Phone credit card payments are considered a regular and safe procedure nowadays.
However, although it is a completely safe payment method in most cases, there are some exceptions. For example, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that businesses might encounter risks when the transaction is processed by software that doesn’t comply with the regulations enforced by the PCI Security Standards Council.
In order to be completely safe from harm, businesses should purchase software that can safely transmit, process, and verify the data from each customer and confirm the cardholder’s personal data. If the software is not compliant with PCI Security Standards, then subscribing or buying it is simply not worth the risk.
Phone Credit Card Payments Risks
Although credit card transactions are a standard and safe payment method, they still carry a slight risk of fraud.
These types of transactions cannot be 100% safe and secure due to the unique nature of the customer-business interaction. The cardholder and the business can only partially ascertain and guarantee that the cardholder’s identity on the other end of the call is the same as the card used for the transaction.
It’s undoubtedly much easier to make sure someone is not abusing a stolen credit card during in-person or online transactions, where verification measures can be taken in a more straightforward manner, and the cardholder’s data can be checked manually by the business.
During a phone transaction, customers are often asked to share their personal data since their card isn’t physically swiped by the business. This process requires a higher level of trust and caution due to the inability to verify the card and cardholder information visually. That’s why some vendors choose to ask the payer to verify the following details:
- Name used on the credit card
- The date of expiration of the credit card
- The ZIP code of the invoice
- CVV number (card verification code/value)
How Can Customers Stay Safe During Phone Credit Card Payments?
Although there will always be a chance for fraudulent behaviour, there are some ways for customers to reduce or even eliminate the possibility of fraud while paying over the phone using their credit card.
Here’s what customers can do to avoid encountering a fraudulent merchant:
Initiate the call yourself: The easiest way to avoid fraud is by initiating the call yourself, which eliminates the risk of giving out credit card details to unsolicited callers. People who abuse phone credit card payments often pose as bank or credit card company representatives to extract personal information. Always ensure you’re calling the merchant directly, and double-check that you have the correct phone number before sharing any card details.
Verify the transaction details: Before the call ends, you can simply ask the merchant to verify the transaction details. Since you won’t be able to physically see the items you paid for over the phone before they arrive at your location, it can be helpful to confirm your order with the merchant. For example, you can ask them to repeat the specific products you’ve just paid for and the total cost of your order. You can also request an order confirmation number for your records or a digital invoice they can send to your email.
Regularly check your account: Keep an eye on your credit card statements to spot any unauthorised or suspicious charges and to verify that your purchases are billed correctly. If you notice an unexpected charge, you should contact your bank immediately so they can check the charge and, if necessary, block your account. Don’t forget to check your account right after making a phone order to see if the correct amount is listed as pending.
Utilise your card’s standard security features: Each credit card has standard security tools and features you can use whenever you’re in doubt about the safety of a credit card transaction. This could include using virtual card numbers for online transactions, setting up account alerts for unusual activity, and employing card lock features in case you suspect fraudulent activity.
How To Accept Credit Card Payments Over the Phone?
Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how businesses can accept and process credit card payments received over the phone:
Create a merchant account: The first thing that businesses should do is create a merchant-based account by subscribing to a payment software service. Some of the most popular ones in the UK are Square, Worldpay, PayPal, Stripe, and SumUp, among others. Once they create an account, they’ll need to set it up and add personalised bank data.
Purchase a virtual payment terminal: The second step is purchasing a virtual payment terminal, which differs from the digital terminals that are synced with POS software systems. For example, Stripe allows businesses to use a pre-built terminal they can access through their account’s dashboard.
Collect customer data: Businesses must keep track of their customers’ data. Every time a customer pays over the phone using a credit card, they need to provide the basic details about the card so businesses can process the transaction.
Customers must share information such as the unique number of the card, its date of expiration, CVV, ZIP code, where the billing invoice can be sent, etc. The collection of these details should always be confidential in order to adhere to the safety regulations on personal data security and protection.
Enter customer data: Once the customer (cardholder) data is collected, businesses should enter it in their virtual payment manual so the transaction can be processed. The device will process the payment, after which you’ll be notified if it is approved or denied. If denied, the payment has to be redone.
Create an e-receipt: If the transaction is accepted, the next step is to create a digital e-receipt and send it to your customer’s email account. Businesses can also choose to keep a copy of the e-receipts to have all the payment records available. Most payment software solutions provide digital receipts on their dashboard page.
PCI DSS compliance: Both in-person and phone credit card payments should always be compliant with safety regulations. Therefore, businesses should always handle customer data with care and make sure it’s stored safely after each transaction.
Popular Payment Software
Popular payment software solutions offer a range of tools and features, from seamless third-party integrations to advanced security protocols ensuring safe transactions.
In this section, we’ll go through some of the most widely used payment software platforms in the UK that businesses can use to accept credit card payments over the phone.
Square is one of the leading companies that provide various payment processing services. With Square’s virtual terminal, businesses can easily process credit card payments over the phone.
The virtual terminal is connected to Square’s POS app, which allows businesses to process their payments over the phone, desktop computer, laptop, tablet, etc.
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to accept credit card payments over the phone with Square’s virtual terminal:
- First, sign in and open the terminal by entering the Square Dashboard.
- Click on the option “Take a Payment.”
- Get in touch with your customer to ask for all the necessary bank details.
- Once you have the cardholder’s bank details, you can manually add them via the Square Dashboard.
- Click on the “Charge” button, and that’s it.
Square’s POS app contains the following:
- Fast payment processing takes approximately 24 hours
- Robust fraud protection measures
- Secure, encrypted transaction processing
- Around-the-clock customer support is available by phone, 24/7, 365 days per year
- Efficient dispute resolution services
Companies don’t need to pay monthly rates and fees to use Square’s virtual payment terminal or POS app. The only fees they are obliged to pay are the transaction fees. The cost per keyed-in transaction or payment processed by a virtual payment terminal is 3.5% and an additional 15 cents.
Businesses don’t need to pay statements, authorisation rates, or fees to use Square’s software. Once the transaction is processed, it will be transferred to the business’ bank account in the next 24 hours.
Clover provides intuitive and straightforward virtual terminals that come with pre-integrated POS software at no extra charge. This POS software is highly customisable, allowing it to be finely tuned to meet each business’s specific requirements and preferences. Additionally, the POS can be seamlessly integrated with a range of different hardware devices offered by Clover.
Clover enables businesses to handpick their chosen tools and add-ons by featuring a comprehensive app and third-party integrations. This way, they can customise the POS system to align with their operational needs perfectly.
To use Clover’s virtual terminal, businesses will have to log in and open their Clover account from a desktop computer, tablet, smartphone, or laptop. The next step is taking the customer’s bank details and entering the product price and the cardholder’s details. Once that’s done, they need to click on the “Accept” button. Businesses can send an e-receipt to their customer’s email when the payment is processed successfully.
The virtual terminal costs £11,84 monthly. Businesses will also have to pay a 3.5% and an additional 10 cents for each transaction.
As you can see, accepting credit card payments over the phone is a straightforward process that can significantly boost your business’s growth and sales revenue. Establishing a phone payment system is easy, especially when you’re using a secure and PCI-compliant virtual terminal.
Plus, this payment method allows customers the convenience of making a transaction from anywhere. It’s a simple and effective way to secure upfront payments for services or products while continuously enhancing your cash flow.
Finally, keep in mind that before you make a decision and choose your preferred payment software, you should carefully evaluate all its tools and features in relation to your specific needs and your company’s budget to ensure it’s the most optimal choice for you.