Credit card processing by phone is an important element of any mail order or telephone order business.
There are many new credit card processing options available to help you process credit cards by phone, but essentially you have to make one big decision-whether to use a computer or a credit card terminal.
If you are comfortable with the use of a computer, this is generally the most useful and efficient way to access your merchant account and accept credit cards. Various credit card software programs let you process, store, access and retrieve information in many different ways.
However, using a credit card terminal to process credit cards by phone has advantages as well. For one thing, terminals are more stable and they rarely crash.
Also, in the case of a very small business or a home-based business, the computer might not be on or it might not be available when you need to process a credit card transaction. Unless you have a PC that’s devoted solely to your merchant account and processing credit cards, a credit card terminal can sometimes give you added convenience.
How to process credit cards by phone:
Accepting credit cards by phone is one of the best ways a business can process payments when the buyer isn’t present. That’s why Ensight Merchant Services offers you so many options for accepting credit cards by phone.
Here’s a rough breakdown of how the process works:
1. You get the order from a customer, either by mail or phone, and request the customer’s credit card information. Using either a credit card terminal or a computer with credit card processing software, you enter the credit card information and the amount of the purchase.
2. The computer or the terminal connects with your merchant account provider, where the payment is authorized.
3. Your merchant account will then connect with the bank that issued your customer’s credit card. The bank will verify that the amount of the purchase is available on the card, and that the card is valid. Then the bank will earmark the purchase amount.
4. If there’s any kind of problem, the bank will send back a “decline” message to your merchant account. But normally an approval number will be sent, indicating that everything is functioning normally.
5. Your merchant account will pass the info back to your credit card terminal or software. You’ll receive the approval number and you can then print out a receipt for your records.
This entire process usually takes less than fifteen seconds.
The final step is the “settlement.” The bank that issued the credit card will transfer funds to your merchant account. This process usually takes 2 business days, depending on your merchant account provider.