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How to Take a Card Payment Over the Phone



Why you should be accepting phone payments

At first taking phone payments may seem a bit of a dated practice, when compared with the wide variety of payment methods which are readily available. 

However, there are still a number of circumstances where a phone payment can be preferable to an online order. 

For example, equipping your sales team with the ability to take payments over the phone may help close more sales, as potential customers can make their purchase there and then. 

For customers calling about larger purchases, utilising an ability to take payments over the phone allows your sales team to secure deposits immediately, almost guaranteeing a sale. 

However, accepting telephone payments poses a different set of requirements than accepting card payments online or in store. 

How can your business accept card payments over the phone? And what do you need to do so? All your questions are answered, below. 


How to accept payments over the phone

First and foremost, to accept payments over the phone you will need what is commonly referred to as a “virtual terminal”. Your “Virtual Terminal” will be similar in structure to a typical online payment form, and it will ask for almost identical information from the cardholder. 

However, the key difference is that the telephone operator will be inputting the information into the terminal, as opposed to the cardholder.

You can get a Virtual Terminal from a number of Payment Service Providers in the UK. Some providers offer it as a standalone package for a set price per month, however some providers may only offer it as an add on with a full online payments gateway. 

Consider this when setting up your Telephone payments system. If you’re already accepting payments online or in-store, it may be more cost effective to add on telephone payments as an extra. However, if you only want to accept payments through the telephone, then the prices are typically very affordable on a month to month basis.

Secondly, once you have chosen the Virtual Terminal which is right for you, you’ll need to ensure that you are PCI-DSS compliant. All businesses that accept card payments of any form need to be compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). This is especially true for telephone payments, as there is less automation and security as the payment information is being manually transferred over the phone. 

The payment service provider you have chosen for your Virtual Terminal will be able to advise you how to best carry this out, but Telephone payments usually carry the least stringent requirements for PCI - DSS Compliance.


Why should you accept telephone card payments?

The retail landscape is shifting and changing at a rapid pace, and more than ever you will find that the purchasing experience is in the customer’s control. Accepting card payments should be standard practice now across all businesses in the UK, however it’s important that you always verify that there is absolutely nothing between your customer and the way that they want to pay. 

By accepting card payments over the phone, you are opening up your business to a large portion of customers that readily use this method of payment to purchase a number of goods and services. 

However, no two businesses are the same; so it’s crucial that you conduct research into whether or not accepting phone payments is the right move for your business. Taking into consideration elements such as the type of products or services that you sell, the way you sell them, and your target market. 

For example, a boutique clothes store on Carnaby street may not see much call for telephone payments, whereas an antiques merchant who deals with items of higher value and has customers in various locations will likely see a huge benefit from accepting telephone payments. 



Conclusion on accepting card payments over the phone

In the world of modern commerce, businesses need to keep up. Utilising financial technology in any capactiy can greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a business. However, implementing new methods and ways for your customers to pay allows you to open up your business to a whole new world of trading, and telephone payments play a crucial part in this.