Is it safe to take payments over the phone?

This article explains the risks involved when taking payments when the customer or card is not present and the ways you can minimise fraud and risk.

When running a business, a reliable, safe, and secure method of taking payments from your customers is crucial. If your business takes payments over the phone when the customer is not present or the card is not present, there is a legitimate concern for both the business and the customer with regards to the safety of their payment details and how they are used and stored.

Customers want to make sure that when they relay their payment details over the phone their details are safe with your business. Taking payments over the phone requires a human element, the customer has to pass on their payment details to a person on the other end of the phone. Customers can feel cautious and wary about doing this unless they are reassured that your business is legitimate and has the necessary payment security measures in place. To minimise the risk to your business and customers you must first understand what the risks are and what products are available to enable your business to process card-not-present transactions safely and securely.

What are the associated risks with taking payments over the phone?

Fraud: The biggest risk for businesses taking money over the phone is the risk of fraud. Fraudsters can use stolen credit card information or other false identities to make unauthorized purchases.

Data breaches: When taking payment information over the phone, businesses store sensitive information such as credit card numbers, expiration dates, and billing addresses. If this information is not properly secured, it can be vulnerable to data breaches and cyber attacks.

Compliance issues: Businesses must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Failure to comply with these regulations can result in hefty fines and damage to a company’s reputation.

Human error: Taking payments over the phone also involves a human component, and mistakes can be made. For example, a customer’s information may be entered incorrectly, or a payment may be processed for the wrong amount.

Technical issues: Technical issues, such as dropped calls or system outages, can also disrupt phone payments and result in lost revenue for the business.

What are the associated risks with taking payments over the phone

How can businesses minimise risk when taking card payments over the phone?

There are many ways you can reduce risk for your business and your customers, a secure payment processing system such as a Virtual Terminal is a great place to start.

Use a PCI-DSS compliant payment processing system to ensure payment information is encrypted and protected, such as a Virtual Terminal to safely and securely accept payments online or over the phone.

Don’t record sensitive information such as credit card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes. Don’t write them down, and if you do, destroy the information securely.

Use two-factor authentication to verify the identity of customers who are making payments over the phone. This can involve asking for a customer’s name, address, and credit card information, as well as a unique code or password that is sent to the customer’s phone or email.

Train your staff on security best practices for taking payments over the phone. Making sure your staff are well informed about security measures such as using secure passwords, avoiding public Wi-Fi and ensuring no payment information is left visible on computer screens.

Monitor transactions regularly for signs of fraud or suspicious activity, such as multiple transactions from the same IP address or unusual purchase patterns.

By implementing these measures, businesses can help ensure that taking payments over the phone is safe and secure for both customers and the business.

take payments safely over the phone

What is a Virtual Terminal?

A Virtual Terminal is an online, PCI-compliant platform that allows businesses to process card payments when the customer or card is not present (CNP Transactions). Virtual terminals are great for businesses who do not have a physical point-of-sale system, but still need to process transactions through a payment gateway.

You access your virtual terminal through a web browser and allows you to enter payment details such as credit or debit card number, expiration date, and CVV code. The virtual terminal then communicates with the payment gateway to process the transaction, which is typically either approved or declined within a matter of seconds.

Virtual terminals are an efficient and cost-effective way for businesses to process card-not-present transactions. No need for special hardware or software, and can be integrated with many other payment systems and tools such as accountancy software. A virtual terminal provides a comprehensive payment solution for merchants who regularly accept CNP transactions.

Take payments when customer not present

Get in touch

If your business regularly takes payments over the phone, online and when the customer or card is not present, a virtual terminal could be for you. See more information about our virtual terminal here. Get in touch to find out more and book a demo.

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