A small percentage of a gigantic pie.

Taking card payments over the phone is becoming increasingly important for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). If you offer delivery on products, you are a merchant that is mobile, or if you sell services that require a deposit to secure goods or services, then the ability to take payments over the phone allows you to capitalise on sales.

Whilst only around 9% of sales involve payments over the phone (according to the UK Cards Association), this still represents a spending total of £48 billion.

Before you can take card payments over the phone, you first need to have a virtual terminal set up. Choosing a virtual terminal provider can be a daunting task, but there are many available in the UK such as Valitor, who can provide payment acceptance solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.

Virtual terminal set up.

Once your virtual terminal is set up, the steps to taking card payments over the phone are simple.

First, log in to your payment provider account and select the option that is correct for this type of transaction. In many cases, the option is called ‘virtual terminal‘.

The screen then gives you prompts as to what information is required from the customer. This may include things such as the 16-digit card number, the card security code and the expiry date of the card.

As the cardholder is not physically present during the transaction, they will be unable to enter a PIN number. Therefore, additional security questions may be asked to confirm their identity and reduce fraud. These questions may include things such as the postcode or door number of the billing address, or the cardholder’s name as it appears on the front of the card.

The transaction is completed by selecting ‘submit’ or ‘complete transaction’. You must keep the customer on the phone until the payment is confirmed. You will then be able to offer them the option of how to receive their receipt. In many cases, they opt to have the receipt emailed to them.

Alternatively, if you are shipping a product to the customer, you can include the receipt with the package.