How to Take Card Payments Over the Phone

Written by kristie lorette
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How to Take Card Payments Over the Phone
Credit card payments over the phone pose unique difficulties (credit card terminal image by Igor Zhorov from

If you're involved in a business where customers place orders by phone, you will need to have a system in place to accept credit card payments over the phone. Running credit card payments over the phone can help to increase your sales by making it easier for customers to pay for your products. Credit card phone payments can also ensure that the customer payment is approved by the card issuer before completing the order.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Credit card processing machine/software/online account
  • Merchant account
  • Telephone

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  1. 1

    Collect customer information. Make sure that you collect all of the information from the customer including the name as it appears on the card, the card billing address, the credit card name, expiration date and the three- or four-digit security code on the card. Depending on the credit card processing system you use, you will need some or all of this information in order to process the payment and receive approval or denial of the charge.

  2. 2

    Input the information into the processing system. If you're using a credit card processing machine, input the charge amount and credit card number. Some machines require the expiration date and three- or four-digit security code. If using software on your computer or an online processing system, you typically have to complete each field, which includes all of the information mentioned in Step 1.

  3. 3

    Submit the transaction for approval. Once you have entered all of the required information, wait for the system to respond with a confirmation code or denial code. Once the approval is made, the money for the charge will be deposited into your merchant account, usually within two or three days after the transaction, but often much more quickly. However, you must not apply for payment until the goods have been shipped to the customer. The bank will reserve the funds until you can ship your customer's order or in other ways deliver the goods or services.

Tips and warnings

  • When collecting customer information, ask the customer for a phone number to reach them. While most credit card processing systems do not require a phone number to run the credit card, you may need it to contact the customer if there is a problem with their order or in completing the transaction after you ship her order.
  • In the case of disputes, you will need to have as much information about the client as possible. For example, if a customer disputes a charge made to their credit card, you will have to provide the credit card company with as much proof as possible that the charge is legitimate. This may include providing the billing address and the shipping address. If the addresses match, that may be enough to prove that the order was legitimately placed by the cardholder.

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