How to Accept Credit Card Payments Over the Phone

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Processing credit cards by phone involves some additional risks since you aren't able to verify the identity of the credit card holder. There are some precautions put in place by credit card companies and banks that process credit card payments. You simply need to follow the proper procedures. Here's how to accept credit card payments over the phone.

Obtain the necessary information from your customer. You will need to obtain the customer's complete billing address, including zip code, the type of credit card, the credit card number, expiration date, security code and the customer's full name. Double-check that the customer has provided the billing address for the credit card, which may be different from the shipping address. Also, confirm the total amount to be charged with the customer. If the customer does not approve the total amount, the charge could be reversed.

Input sale in credit card machine or online processing software. Most credit card companies will require you to have an on-site credit card terminal, even if you are only processing payments over the phone. Begin by pressing the "clear" key to make sure the machine is ready to accept a new transaction. Then press the "sale" key and follow the on-screen prompts. Procedures vary by machine type, but most will ask you to input the credit card number, security code, expiration date, sale amount, the customer's street address and zip code. After entering all the requested information, wait for the charge to process.

Process the receipt. Upon approval, the credit card terminal will print two receipts. One copy is for your records and the other for the customer's records. In a normal credit card transaction, the customer would sign the copy that you keep for your records. Since the customer is not able to sign the receipt, mark "phone order" on the signature line. This way, if the credit card company questions the charge, you will have a record that the receipt is unsigned due to a payment over the phone. Mail or scan and email the duplicate receipt to the customer. If you are shipping items to the customer, it is appropriate to attach the credit card receipt to the invoice.


  • Get a phone number from your customer in case there is a problem with the transaction and you need to call them back.


  • If you are unsure, or suspicious, of a credit card payment over the phone, always call your merchant account hotline. Officials can double-check the credit card number to be sure the card has not been recently reported as stolen.