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How to Accept Credit Cards Over the Phone

In many instances, customers will make purchases in person or online. They may walk into your retail store, restaurant or other venue, and they may physically hand you a credit card to swipe through your merchant account machine. With online transactions, they may enter their credit card number and other relevant information into a portal that your website designer has created and that is linked to your merchant services account. However, there may also be instances when you need to accept credit cards over the phone, and you may be wondering what is involved in this process.

Find the Right Merchant Services Provider

Before you can accept credit card payments at all, you need to be signed up to work with a merchant services provider. There are numerous options available, and most will provide you with the capability to accept credit cards over the phone. However, if you believe that you will require this service in your course of business, it is important that you ensure that your provider offers this service. You may also check on additional fees that may be posted to your account if you do accept credit cards over the phone. In many cases, these will be processed in a similar fashion as other credit card payments, but some providers vary slightly in this area.

Use a Merchant Account Machine

When you accept a credit card payment over the phone, the individual will need to provide you with his or her full name on the credit card and the credit card number. You or your staff member will manually punch this credit card number into a merchant account machine. The merchant account provider will prompt you to enter verification information about the customer to ensure that the transaction is not fraudulent in nature. This information may vary from provider to provider, but it generally will be the customer’s mailing zip code, the security code on the back of the card or other similar details. In some cases, the provider will ask you to input more than one piece of verification data. Typically, the transaction will be approved in a matter of seconds, and this is similar to the amount of time it will take for a customer’s card to be approved if he or she was in your store making a payment.

Accepting credit cards over the phone may be an everyday activity for your staff, or it may be something that is relatively new to your company. By following these tips, you can easily accept credit card payments over the phone.


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