What is a MOTO payment?

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What is a MOTO payment?

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Let’s not sugar coat it, we’re living through some crazy times at the moment. The COVID pandemic of 2020 has impacted every level of life as we knew it, including the payments landscape.

With a lot of UK consumers afraid to hit the high street and mingle with others, small businesses are having to adapt and change their strategies in order to stay afloat.

Even before the C-word hit our shores, the way Brits were paying for goods and services was changing, and consumers have become accustomed to expecting a convenient way to pay meaning businesses need to broaden their payment horizons to stay competitive. 

One clever way of doing just that is by introducing MOTO payments, so here we’ll take a look at exactly what they are, the benefits they offer, and how you can get set up pronto. Let’s get stuck in.

What are MOTO payments?

MOTO payments stands for Mail Order / Telephone Order payments - so a MOTO payment is a credit or debit card payment taken:

  • Over the phone
  • By email,
  • Fax, or
  • Post

In other words, it’s a payment made without the customer being present and instead, the merchant, AKA you, takes their card details and processes the payment on a virtual terminal, payment gateway, or using your card machine. 

How does it work? 

#1: Virtual terminal

A virtual terminal is a secure web page you log into and input your customer’s card details to process a payment.

You don’t need a website to do this, just an internet-enabled device, e.g. a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. They’re super simple to use, and work like this:

  1. Log in to your virtual terminal.
  2. Input your customer’s details, such as name, address, and card details.
  3. Submit the transaction - it will then be sent to the customer’s bank.
  4. Once approved you’ll get a confirmation message and your customer will receive a digital receipt.
  5. Voila, you get paid!

Virtual terminals are typically used to process card payments over the phone, so your customer can just ring you up to place an order and pay. They can also be used for the likes of postal, email, and fax orders, although these are becoming less and less common today, because of the obvious security concerns.

#2: Payment gateway

Payment gateways allow you to process card payments through your business website. 

With a payment gateway, the customer shops online, pops what they want in their shopping basket, and then checks out and pays using the payment gateway you’ve installed on your website.

#3: Card machine

Last but not least it’s also possible to process transactions remotely using your card machine. It’s a simple process and works like this:

  1. Key the transaction amount into your machine.
  2. Enter your customer’s long card number, 3-digit CVV2 code, and 4-digit expiry date.
  3. Select the ‘customer not present’ option.
  4. The payment will be sent to the card issuer and issuing bank for authorisation, just like a regular face-to-face card payment.
  5. Once approved you’ll see your regular ‘transaction approved’ message flash up.
  6. Bob’s your uncle, you get paid.

The benefits of MOTO payments

  • Firstly, your business will have an larger reach and access to a much wider customer base, and thanks to that you could…
  • Help boost your sales and benefit your business’ bottom lines.
  • Remove barriers and provide an alternative to consumers who’d prefer not to, or can’t, visit your business in person - perfect during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also useful under regular circumstances for people with mobility constraints.
  • They’re super simple to set up.
  • You can access them from anywhere you’ve got an internet connection.
  • You can accept all the leading debit and credit cards with a MOTO payment - including Mastercard, Visa, American Express, etc.
  • By broadening your payment options you could meet consumers’ demand for convenience and save yourself potentially lost sales.
  • They’re fast, safe, and secure. 

MOTO payments: good to know

There are a few things you’ll need to bear in mind before you start accepting MOTO payments.

Merchant account

If you haven’t got one already, you’ll need a merchant account set up before you can begin accepting card payments remotely. 

Merchant accounts act as holding pens while card transactions are processed - they’re not an optional extra, any business who takes payments on plastic must have one.

Good to know: At takepayments we can get you set up with a merchant account for free as part of our service. To find out more about merchant accounts head here.

PCI compliance

Another mandatory element you’ll need to have in place before accepting MOTO payments, or any card payments, is PCI compliance.

It’s a set of regulations you must comply with, and they exist to protect both you and your customer’s data during the transaction process. 

Good to know: We offer a dedicated PCI compliance team who can guide you through the entire process, find out more here.

CNP fees

As with all card transactions, there are fees you’ll need to factor in. For MOTO payments these are called Card Not Present (CNP) fees.

The exact cost of these will vary depending on who your payment service provider is, so our advice is to do your homework and find yourself a reputable provider to avoid unnecessarily high costs. 

How to start accepting MOTO payments

Here at takepayments we offer market-leading virtual terminals, payment gateways, and card machines.

  • Virtual terminals - our virtual terminals are quick and easy to set up, it costs you nothing to get started, they’ll provide real-time reports, and you don’t need to be a tech whizz to take the plunge.
  • Payment gateways - our payment gateways hook up with the majority of leading shopping carts and allow you to manage your transactions with real-time reports. 
  • Card machines - we offer three top-spec card machines: countertop, mobile, and portable, so you’ve got options to suit the needs of your business. 

All our payment systems are jam-packed full of the latest tech and security features, and you’ll have access to a friendly team who’ll hold your hand through every step of the setup process. 

On top of that, we won’t charge you sign up fees, plus, we provide tailored pricing packages because we believe no two businesses are the same. 

Sold? Get in touch and get the ball rolling today!

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce


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