It's a really tough time for small businesses at the moment, with a second lockdown being announced in England, a 5 tier system in Scotland and a firebreaker in Wales, and we understand that a lot of our customers will be impacted.
The Government have granted permission for pubs, cafes and restaurants to operate as takeaways as part of the coronavirus response. And taking payments over the phone could be your first step to looking at things differently, like starting a pick up or delivery service.
But it doesn't just apply to the hospitality industry. We're seeing many of our other customers thinking differently - from offering delivery of meat and veg boxes, to delivering milk and other supplies.
Taking card payments over the phone lets you reach customers who can't come to your business in person, opens doors that would be closed otherwise during this period and could help you keep trading until everything returns to normal.
Wondering how you go about actually doing it? Don’t worry, it’s super simple and you’ve got a couple of options:
Option #1: virtual terminal
Option #2: physical card machine
We’ll dig into what each is shortly, but first, let’s take a quick look at when they might come in handy.
It might sound a bit technical but don’t be put off, virtual terminals are basically the online equivalent of a physical card machine (the ones you’d use to pay your bill at a restaurant).
As the name suggests though, and because you don’t have your customer in sight, it’s all online so you don’t actually have any of the physical parts. Instead, you just need access to the internet, a computer, tablet or phone to hand and then the process goes like this:
It really is as easy as that.
Absolutely. When you’re getting your customer’s card information you’ll be asked to input their card verification code (or CVC, i.e. the final three numbers on the signature strip) as well as the digits from their postcode.
These then makeup what’s called an AVS and CV2 security check and ensures the transaction isn’t fraudulent.
The same way as Chip and PIN - through a merchant account. In Layman’s terms, this just means the money sits in a merchant account while it’s being checked and processed and then once it’s passed those clearances, it’s transferred to your account for you to access.
What’s a merchant account? It’s a special type of bank account that lets you accept credit or debit card payments.
As many as you want. Whether you’re a one-man-band or a team of 20, additional users can be added to your virtual terminal at zero expense, and, better yet, you can grant different authority levels to dictate how much people can and can’t see.
You can’t just use any old card machine to take card payments over the phone; you need one that’s got the function built-in (spoiler: all our card readers come with this as standard).
It's also worth noting that it will usually be more expensive to take phone payments through a physical card machine, rather than a virtual terminal.
Instead of going through a normal face to face transaction, you'll need to take the customers' details over the phone, and type them in, including their 16 digit card number, card expiry date and security code from the back of the card. You'll also be asked for a house number and the numeric digits of the postcodr that the card is registered to.
Very. They come with all the same security checks (AVS and CV2) as virtual terminals and mirror the merchant account process too.
Over-the-phone payments: the benefits
1. It gives your customers a way to pay when you’re not face-to-face
As a business owner there’s nothing worse than having to delay or even turn away customers, is there? By taking payments over the phone though, you can open your door to people near and far.
2. It’s quick and easy to set-up and use
Either option’s hassle-free. With a virtual terminal, all you have to do is log-in to the URL you’re sent and then you’re ready to start running your business from anywhere in the world (as long as you have access to the internet).
3. Say goodbye to waiting around for invoices
Gone are the days of waiting up to 30 days for an invoice or trying to schedule the time to meet a customer and make a sale; you can do it in the here and now instead.
4. You can scale with your solution
With the option to add as many new users as you like (for free!) virtual terminals make it super easy to scale with your set-up. And if you opt for a card machine, all you need to do is invest in a few more terminals.