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Taking card payments via phone; the worst advice we’ve ever seen.

When it comes to business advice, there is some truly disturbing information available on the internet. But this advice regarding taking credit card payments over the phone is next level.

It featured in a quite popular article that features prominently in search results for accepting credit card payments over the phone. Here’s a screenshot so you know we aren’t making it up. Note I’ve added the exclamation points.

It should be noted this isn’t an isolated example.  There are quite a few proponents of asking customers to read out their credit card information for manual entry into a payment terminal or CRM.


Here’s why it’s terrible, dangerous advice:

1) It requires 100% trust in the employee on the receiving end. Temptation will always be there for them to steal the credit card details. And this risk increases for businesses with low paid, casual employees.

2) The customer may be in a public place, or their office, when reading out their card details. They may be overheard and have their card details stolen.

3) Collecting personal information doesn’t provide any protection. And there are serious data security concerns for the customer. Do you have the systems to look up a driver’s license number anyway? The vast majority of businesses don’t, so its really just a bluff. And can you guarantee secure storage of that customer’s personal information? If not, you are wide open for liability on subsequent identity theft.


How you should take credit card payments over the phone:

The way to do it is via an IVR (Integrated Voice Response) with automated voice prompts and keypad inputs. It goes like this.

  1. Agent or employee on the phone transfers the call to the payment IVR phone number.
  2. The customer is prompted for the card number, expiry date and security code. They enter the digits into their phone keypad as directed.
  3. The IVR is integrated into a payment gateway to make the transaction.
  4. Customer is given a receipt number with the option to have the receipt emailed.

Happily, the advent of cloud communications has made such payment IVRs cheap and easy to implement.

So be mindful when researching ways to accept credit card payments.  There is some atrocious advice out there that will cause you all manner of problems down the track.


To see how to build a credit card payment IVR in minutes contact us for a free demo.

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