All You Need Is a Smartphone

As the saying goes, the customer is always right, and naturally, this also extends to the method of payment they wish to use. The more comfortable you make it for your customers to pay by credit card the better it is for your business.

These days there are many payment processing services available which allow a small business to take phone orders using mobile phones. This guide will take you through the necessary steps to help you pick the right method and service to keep your business secure.

The Advantages of Accepting Credit Card Payments Over the Phone

Chiefly, when you allow phone payments, you capitalise on impulse purchases and close down on sales quickly before the customer changes their mind. However, there are many more benefits that make it a worthwhile process to master, including:

• Instant deposit of money into your account.
• A safer business environment with less cash on hand.
• Consequently, your stock keeps moving and your profit rising.

The Tools You Need To Accept Credit Card Payments Over the Phone

• An Online Merchant Gateway
• Merchant account with a bank
• Payment processing company
• A mobile, tablet or computer card reader to accept credit cards on your phone.

Step By Step Guide

You can accept credit cards by phone with a traditional credit card terminal or an online credit card payment gateway.

Credit Card Terminal
To do this, you need your customer’s credit card number, credit card expiration date, billing address, security code number from the back of the card and the amount of purchase. Make sure you ask the customer if they would like their receipt mailed or emailed. And don’t forget to get the customer’s phone number in case any issues arise and you need to give them a call-back.

1. Enter the information into your credit card terminal by following the prompts and filling in the customer information and sale amount.
2. Complete the transaction by following the prompts and making sure your terminal displays a complete transaction notification.
3. Print the receipt and make sure you have a merchant copy and a customer copy. Write ‘phone order’ on the customer’s receipt if it does not already say so.
4. Mail the clients receipt. Scan and email the phone payment receive or send it through the post to your customer.

When using an online payment gateway, you still need to gather all your customer’s information and check whether they would like their receipt mailed or emailed to them. Sending a receipt is good practice for business as it creates a sense of trust between you and your clients.

1. Go to your credit card transaction screen, in your online merchant services payment gateway, fill in the information and submit it to complete the transaction.
2. Again, print two receipts, keeping one for your records and email or post the other one to the client depending on the method they prefer.

Be Aware When Taking Payments

Choose the Right Credit Card Payment Service

Today, the options for credit card payment services are innumerable, with new services appearing every day. It’s essential to research and compare costs, fees, and features. Know the right questions to ask, like what are their chargeback policies for phone orders? And ask them to clarify the process they use for accepting payments by phone. Make sure there is excellent customer support as there are sure to be questions that arise as you continue with this process.

Understanding the Authorisation Process

To ensure the smooth transition of over the phone credit card payments, all your employees must fully understand the authorisation process. Train your staff coherently and let them know the warning signs to watch out for when accepting these payments. For example, if the mailing address and billing address are different this could be a potential sign that something is not quite right. Although it may seem obvious to you, all staff should be made aware of the basics of how to spot an unauthorised user.

Make sure you save all records and information from each transaction for 12 to 24 months. Keeping clear records help you demonstrate due diligence in the event of a fraudulent purchase, and it will help resolve any disputes with customers.
Know what Information to Collect

Your payment service will usually require you obtain the full credit card number, expiration date, and the customer’s name as it appears on the card. You might also need the CVV, which is a security code printed on the back of the card. However, a good rule of thumb is to collect as much information from the customer as possible. Ask your customer to provide the billing address, phone number, and email address. You can also ask for your customer’s date of birth and driver’s license number especially if you feel unsure about anything.
Send a copy of the sales receipt to the customer via postal mail, email or both. A good tip is to, save this information in a readily accessible way to speed things up the next time the customer makes a purchase.

Keep It Safe

Security should be your primary concern when accepting credit card payments over the phone. There are risks, as there are with any payment which you can reduce with a few simple precautions.

• Invest in an excellent point-of-sale system, and have it professionally installed. The payment processing service you use wants to safeguard transactions as much as you do. Take advantage of its security procedures and advice.
• Follow the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council issued updated requirements in 2015. Known as PCI 3.0.
• Comply with Standard security measures: almost all virtual terminal will request the same standard security measures.
• PCI compliance. PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, a worldwide standard that was established to help businesses process card payments securely and reduce fraud.

Accepting credit card payments over the phone can seem like an unnecessary process. However, it is an important one. It’s been proven that by providing your customers with every possible method of payment you’re ensuring you never miss out on a sale. Consumers want to choose the method of payment that’s most convenient for them, and it’s vital that you provide this.

Fahad Raza is a founder of SEO Sydney Services and Web Design Agency in Sydney Started his digital marketing career in 2002 and since then had helped numerous small businesses establish and grow their online presence.

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