Is It Safe To Take Payments Over The Phone?

Security is a major concern for all of our businesses, but we don’t have to let that slow our sales process down. With the right process in place, taking payments over the phone is very safe for you and your customers. Offering multiple ways for our customers to pay us has been shown to increase conversion, and build trust throughout the checkout process.

Are phone payments safe?

Yes, payments over the phone are very safe provided that the seller is following security best practices, and the buyer knows and trusts the seller.

While processing a payment over the phone is a classic sales method, there is still a lot of confusion about the legalities involved, and potential pitfalls of using the phone to process sales. The main concern when taking payments over the phone is security compliance. Specifically, PCI Compliance is the major one.

Encrypted Data

What is PCI Compliance?

In a nutshell, PCI Compliance is a set of guidelines that is more or less strict based on how much revenue your business processes. The good news, if you’re using a payment processor like Stripe, they take care of your PCI Compliance completely.

PCI Compliance guidelines revolve around:

  • Protecting customer payment data from being accessed internally and externally
  • No physical access to card data
  • Encrypting stored data - This makes retrieving the information impossible without the key.
  • Expensive annual security testing - Compliance and testing involve very pricey audits and submission to an oversight board.

PCI Compliance rules apply to:

  • Credit card readers
  • POS (Point of Sale) systems
  • Payment and transaction data storage
  • Online apps and shopping carts

Learn more about PCI Compliance by exploring this great post from Otava.

While it is great that our payment processors take care of this part for us (thanks Stripe!), this doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. Here’s a couple common sense rules that will help you successfully navigate the security issues involved in payments.

Never write down your customer’s credit card information It’s better to have your customer enter their information if possible. Chargebacks/disputes will favor you more highly if the customer enters their information

Payment by phone

Is it possible to take payments over the phone?

Taking payments over the phone is more popular than ever. Although there is a ton of new technology that changes exactly how processing payments can happen. We’re going to discuss three ways that you implement payments via phone in your business today.

You’ll benefit most from taking payments over the phone if:

  • You work in the field and don’t have time to process payments directly at the job site. Someone from your admin or billing department can facilitate payments instead.
  • You and the customer are not in the same place at the time of sale and would prefer quick payment processing.
  • You don’t want to keep cash or checks at the location of your business.
  • You want a quick way to close a deal without getting off the call

The good news is businesses have more flexibility than ever when offering their customers ways to pay.

Apple pay now has close to 383+ million users, including 43% of all iPhone users (via Statista.

Google pay now has to close to 67+ million monthly active users (via Forbes.

If you’re like me, this makes you excited about all the possibilities.

Now, instead of worrying about whether or not your customer gave you the right cvv or expiration date, your clients can one-click checkout in seconds by scanning their face, fingerprint, or entering their passcode.

This is amazing progress!

Payment form abandonment is a problem that millions of online businesses have to deal with and one-click payments are a great step towards solving it.

Let’s learn how we can offer flexible options to our customers when processing orders or sales on the phone.

Fingerprint of Customer Data

What are my options when taking payments over the phone?

The options below assume you have some sort of credit card processing terminal, or POS system. SecuraCart offers free cloud-hosted payment pages that you can easily create for your products or services for this very purpose. You have a few options to choose from:

  • Entering information manually
  • Sending via Text message
  • Emailing a link

Taking payments manually on a desktop computer

If you are in telecommunications or have a sales process that heavily relies on phone sales, a desktop oriented solution makes the most sense.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create a secure payment page
  • When ready to make a sale, visit your page
  • Enter customer information into the payment form
  • Done - Your customer should automatically receive a receipt

Sending payment link via Text Message

This is another great method of quickly capturing payment while on the phone. You can notify your customer that you’re going to be sending them a link to a secure checkout portal. This allows them to securely and privately enter their information, with less risk to your business as no card information is ever exchanged.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create a secure payment page
  • When you’re ready to finalize your sale, let your customer know you’re sending a secure checkout link
  • Monitor your account for the sale to process while you assist your customer with any last minute questions
  • Done - You customer will automatically receive a receipt

Sending payment link via Email

Let’s face it, text messages can be very fast and convenient, but sometimes all our customers want is good ol’ fashioned emails. Even though it may not be our favorite way to process payments, we can still offer these clients a flexible way to pay.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create your secure payment page
  • When you’re ready to complete the sale, let your customer know that you’re going to be sending them a secure link to checkout via email.
  • Monitor your account for the sales to be final, and

Pros and Cons

Email is known for being put off until the “right time”. This can cause friction when trying to complete the sale. I’m sure you’ve been there - your sale is so close to being done, and all they have to do is read their email to get it finished - and it never gets done. This is why text message to Apple Pay or similar is my favorite route. It can be accomplished while on the phone carrying a conversation - can't beat that!

When you send a secure payments link to your customers, it might feel a little slower than just taking the number over the phone. While you never have to leave the call to complete the process, your customer might even be able to checkout faster than you imagined.

With the rise of instant payment technologies like Apple Pay, and Google Pay, you can offer you clients the benefits of one-click payments during your calls. This can be more than 60% faster than finding their card, entering their credit card number, adding expiration date and cvv etc.

How much does it cost to take payments over the phone?

The cost to process payments over the phone will vary depending on who your payment processor is and what country you’re processing payments. Let’s compare the pricing of three of the top payment processors: Stripe, Square, and Authorize.net.

  • Stripe: 2.9% + 30¢ per successful card charge
  • Square: 3.5% + 15¢ per typed-in transaction
  • Square 2.6% +10¢ per swipe
  • Authorize.net: 2.9% plus 30¢ per transaction + monthly terminal fees

As you can easily see above, the rates and charges of each processor can vary depending on your use case. Square and Authorize.net tend to be best for sellers who are looking to have a POS run storefront (cash registers, terminals), while Stripe is the popular choice for website applications and other small businesses not focused on terminal based sales.

SecuraCart runs on Stripe, and was built to help manage subscriptions and one-time fees without any coding or tech skills. We make sure your payments are secure, infallible to data-breach, all while providing a quality experience for your customers.

Conclusion

While you must ensure some common sense security practices when processing payments over the phone, it is extremely safe for both you and your customers when using a quality payment provider.

Taking payments over the phone can have some major benefits for you and your customers, including less time spent on deals, higher conversion rates, and better objection handling. With that being said, it’s important to remember that all payment processors use advanced data tracking measures to assist in fraud detection and prevention, which may be circumvented by manually entering a customer’s payment information. Most of these tools work by using cookies and browser information to verify legitimate activities. When dealing with refunds, disputes, and chargebacks, these details are considered and do make a difference.

SecuraCart was created to take the hassle out of dealing with payments and security. We offer a complete solution that empowers businesses to easily collect payments in a variety of ways, whether that be by phone, text, email, or in person. Sign up for your free account if you need help managing subscriptions, one-time charges, and more.

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