As a business, giving customers the option to make payments over the phone is crucial, but how can you do so securely?
Although technology has come a long way, allowing customers to make payments online at the click of a button or a touch of their credit or debit card, the decades-old process of taking card payments over the phone continues to be prevalent. Whether you’re requesting a deposit, allowing a customer or client to make a full payment at the point of sale or chasing a long-overdue invoice, the ability to take payments over the phone — or lack thereof — can significantly impact a business’s bottom line.
Why Would You Want to Take Card Payments over the Phone?
Accepting phone payments has long been a part of business processes for the simple reason that it streamlines the transaction process. Phone communication continues to be a key driver of sales – if a potential customer has a query or concern, they will often opt to pick up the phone over sending an email or filling in a contact form, which can be time-consuming and drawn-out processes. As human beings, and despite — and, perhaps, in spite of — the lack of personality and human interaction typically seen during the online sales process, we are often drawn to the prospect of having a real conversation. By taking card payments over the phone, you can satisfy that need, reassure customers of their decision to part with their cash and accept payments in one go.
Whether you require payment prior to delivering products or services, need to request a deposit or you don’t want to store cash on your premises, accepting phone payments is the ideal solution. It’s a payment method that’s been used for so long because it works, and it continues to be a highly relevant method even in today’s age — payment is immediate, removing the need to wait long processing times for a cheque to cash or a or bank transfer to go through.
It’s also perfect for existing customers. We lead increasingly busy lives, with our attention constantly pulled in multiple directions. Sometimes, we might forget to make payments or have an issue with making a payment online or via post. A quick phone call to your customer, or from them to you, and you can easily facilitate the processing of secure phone payments, but only if you have a PCI DSS and GDPR-compliant system in place.
Is It Safe to Make Card Payments over the Phone?
It’s easy to lose count of the number of times we’ve called a company to speak to a representative to be met with the message, “we are recording this call for training purposes.” Even if we are confident that a business is upholding a certain standard of security measures, it can still be an uneasy job handing over your credit card details over the phone.
Add this to the recent stories of customer data being hacked and leaked, and we can see why individuals may be questioning the safety of phone transactions.
Fortunately, it’s safe to take payments over the phone, providing that security measures are in place and the payer has verified the legitimacy of the company.
PCI DSS Compliance
PCI DSS — or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard — is vital for businesses that accept payments. This global security standard was introduced to process credit and debit card payments securely and effectively while also reducing fraud. This is an important point — although it’s crucial that customers can trust your business to accept card payments, it’s equally important that you as a business are taking payments legitimately to avoid liability and expensive fees.
Being PCI compliant communicates to customers that your business is safe for them to use, as it works by setting comprehensive requirements for the storage, transmission and processing of a cardholder’s information. As a leading PCI DSS solutions provider, Callstream can ensure your compliance and, by extension, enable trust from your customers and secure payments whenever you accept card payments over the phone.
How to Take Card Payments over the Phone
Taking card payments over the phone with the necessary compliance and security measures in place makes it easier for customers and prospects to trust you with their data, but Callstream takes this a step further.
In a typical scenario, a caller prompted to make a payment will be asked their credit or debit card number, their expiry date and their three or four-digit card security code (sometimes called a CVV or CVC number). There may also be an additional layer of security in the form of an address verification system, which matches the address provided by the caller with the address issued to the card and verifies the caller’s identity.
However, this still doesn’t negate the objection a caller might have about reading out their confidential details over the phone to an agent or company rep.
Callstream Vault makes taking card payments over the phone both easy and safe. But how does it work?
Callstream Vault allows customers to input their details via their phone without the information being heard, shared or stored by the individual at the other end of the line or any call recording software in place. Customers wishing to make a payment simply enter the digits when prompted by tapping or pressing the numbers on their telephone keypad — these are muted to prevent potentially recognisable beeps from being recorded. This adds a further security layer and crucial peace of mind.
This information is then sent directly to the merchant’s payment processing platform in a secure format — typically over HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure); the same secure protocol used to protect payments and other data sent via a website.
Callstream Vault can also be used to secure automated payments; customers simply call the payment line and are directed to the Vault platform to input their payment details as they would on a call with a call centre agent.
The case is simple: it’s easy and safe to take payments over a phone call with PCI-compliant measures in place. By moving to this platform, you can reduce data security breaches, safeguard your reputation and offer an improved customer experience by being on hand to take payments in a way that suits your customers and reassures them that their data is safe.
Are you ready to offer your customers a new way to make telephone payments? Callstream is an award-winning PCI-compliant payment processing platform. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you take payments over the phone conveniently and securely.