Published On: July 22, 2020

You’ve noticed your small business is getting more and more phone orders, and a lot of them are being paid via bank transfers. Is that the case? Perhaps your brick and mortar establishment is ready to reach out to more customers outside of your locality and add that new revenue stream? Maybe you are just about to launch your exciting new startup, and you are looking for an affordable way of accepting card payments remotely? Could it be that you got sick and tired of waiting for customers’ cheques to clear, or to go through the same work of invoicing over and over again for scheduled, recurring services? Boost your sales and your productivity, start taking payments over the phone while processing them virtually. So how exactly can your small business accept credit cards over the phone? Particularly in the time of crisis caused by the coronavirus COVID-19, when an order of keeping a physical distance has changed how we go about our lives, many are looking into learning about this option to set their businesses to succeed during emergencies.

In this read, we will take you through a few descriptive examples of small business operations, and explain the benefits of signing up for a MOTO payment gateway (Mail Order Telephone Order), which essentially means payment processing via Virtual Terminal. It is secure, straightforward and just so easy to use. Easy as opening a web browser! Even if you have an online business, this kind of a gateway can speed up the processing of your non-online orders. It’s a great addition to get to those customers who are not that comfortable with e-commerce, and who value personal contact a lot more.

Why MOTO Payment Gateway?

In today’s world, driven by technology and consumer hunger for convenience and always more choice, there is empowerment all around for any idea to be transformed into a business, and for any business to run an efficient and profitable operation. Including those of the most modest size! For the folks with an entrepreneurial spirit, it seems to be the best time than ever before to be exploring, testing and growing the new ventures given an array of great tools out there readily accessible to any small business owner. Getting paid and getting paid with credit and debit cards would be the number one task on everyone’s list, so investing the time to get educated on reliable cashless payment systems and the benefits they come with is an important step.

What used to be out of reach for many, Mail Order Telephone Order (MOTO) payment gateway became one of the most affordable options for credit card processing today. Any business can utilize it due to its high degree of applicability and ease of use. By taking payments over the phone (or by mail), the seller can securely and easily process transactions through a web-based online payment processing platform. Think of it as an online credit card machine that a business can use when not facing the customer – meaning operating remotely. However, it comes handy in a variety of situations, even when the customer is standing right in front of you. We’ll get to all that shortly; let’s see first how it actually works.

Over the phone payment 101

As we mentioned, it is happening virtually, so should a small business accept credit cards over the phone, all that’s needed is internet access. Also, that can be done either through a laptop, or a tablet, or even a mobile phone. Once the customer calls-in with the credit card information, a trusted employee or an owner will log into a platform and key in that data along with the customer’s contacts. After a simple form has been filled and submitted, the Virtual Terminal automatically seeks authorization from the customer’s bank. Upon approval, a confirmation is being sent, an email receipt issued to a customer, and a deposit to a seller. What’s left are the delivery arrangements and hopefully, a satisfying customer review.

As witnessed here, the process is straightforward. In the back-end though, a lot more is going on as the system deploys e-Fraud tools and advanced security measures (Tokenization) with every transaction. An opportunity to have that peace of mind is valued by both; the customer and the business owner.

Signing up for a Merchant Account – Recommended Step

To get access to a Virtual Terminal and open over the phone payment channel, we recommend that a business sets up a merchant account with a reputable payment processor. Setting up the virtual payment processing via merchant account has considerable advantages, one of them being 24 – 48 hours deposits as opposed to several days of delay offered by all-in-one providers with similar products. Also, processing fees with a merchant account for card-not-present terminal would typically be lower than the alternative routes just mentioned. The fact that every transaction will be considered “non-qualified” with this terminal, which means all of them will be keyed-in by a merchant, the payment processor can customize your quote based on certain factors. Often times, they would offer more competitive non-qualified fees than what it would be for a traditional terminal. They will look at your business volume, the industry you are in, the current or estimated non-qualified processing habits if you are just starting, and work with you to customize the fee plan that would suit your business the most, because, one size certainly doesn’t fit all!

Do Your Research, Learn From Others

It is essential to drill down the fee part, so if you feel that you need more information on getting the offer specifically tailored to your business, our highly-experienced team can walk you through the details step by step –  here is how to get in touch. Other than that, it’s worth mentioning that you should always look for a provider that offers proven 24/7 customer support. Do a little research, read the online reviews. That alone will give you more sense about their approachability and care for their merchants because when you have a problem, you need that reassurance that you can always easily contact them and that they will answer. After all the hard work you’ve put into your brand, the last thing you need is to run into payment processing hiccup and can’t get help promptly. You want to put those fears to bed and partner with a trusted company.

Hopefully, by now, you understand the mechanics of the virtual terminal payment system and that the starting question has been answered. Now that we’ve explained how can your small business accept credit cards over the phone or simply when customer information needs to be keyed-in, let’s review some business examples next and get you really inspired!

Not Having a Credit Card Payment Option is Not an Option!

Catering businesses, take-out restaurants, florists, lawyers, consultants, freelancers, accountants, gyms and fitness facilities, travel and accommodation services, manufacturing companies, online product sellers, farms and small companies located at homes, and the list goes on.  All of these businesses could greatly benefit from taking payments over the phone to accommodate users of popular MasterCard, Visa, and other credit cards as their preferred methods of payment. Of course, at a reasonable cost to the business and in the simplest way possible. For example, if you run Bed & Breakfast, this is not an option; it’s a necessity.

Under the traveller accommodation umbrella in Canada, B&B is competing with hotels, motels, cabins, and of course, properties listed on Airbnb. In this mature industry, defining the uniqueness of your cozy home, expanding your services and upgrading the user experience is everything. Travellers are credit card users by default; this is simply because they usually book flights or other transportation at the same time as lodging. Many of them collect air miles on their credit cards with future travel plans in mind. Certain cards also have travel insurance built in when booking. Undoubtedly, there is an undeniable appeal for this payment method, and it fits the way we live in today’s cashless world.

Become a Smooth Operator

Unfortunately, many Bed & Breakfast operations and some other independent short-term rentals still operate the olden ways, providing not-desirable guest experience and most probably missing out on getting the bookings altogether. Also, some B&B owners may put customer’s information at risk by storing their credit card details physically, which is a serious violation of PCI DSS regulations. Over the phone payment with a virtual terminal is just the right solution, which eliminates all of these problems and could likely get you that “No Vacancy” sign to stay. Become a smooth operator by stating credit card payment options on your website, social media accounts, BBCanada listings and other platforms. Let travellers email you with bookings. Along with a thank-you note, your timely email response can request the customer call you to complete the reservation by providing their credit card details. Once the phone call happens, and you enter everything through a Virtual Terminal, the booking is complete and in compliance with all security regulations.

“Can your Small Business Accept Credit Cards Over the Phone?” – Of Course, Have a Pleasant Stay!

So when your potential visitors ask you: “Can your small business accept credit cards over the phone,” you will be happy to give that answer because you know that your B&B can compete with that option alone. Adding features like smart room keys and flexible check-out times, activities and wellness opportunities in your area would gain interest also, and don’t forget the breakfast, which Airbnb does not offer. You are all set!

Recurring Payments Made Easy

Another great feature that comes with the Virtual Terminal is the possibility to set up the recurring payments on auto-pilot. For subscription business models, or any business working with invoice-based payments, this is a life-saver.  In this scenario, the customer needs to provide their credit card details only once.  From there, the merchant enters the sensitive information in the Virtual Terminal and saves the “card on file.” The business owner or a trusted person on the team can set the payments to be collected in pre-selected frequency (let’s say monthly or bi-weekly), with the amount and the number of payments defined. Alternatively, the system can also be set to trigger to collect payments every time the new invoice has been issued.  This way, a reliable revenue source has been created, helping business operation in a great way with predictable cash flow. The administration work is cut down to the minimum so the merchant can save time for other vital projects. The customer also appreciates the automatic setup of recurring payments for easier budgeting and less hustle. It’s just one less thing to think about.

Be a Trusted Business with Professional Payment Options

An example that can perfectly illustrate the applicability of this payment processing model is the service provided by home renovation contractors. With any renovation project which requires work over some time, a contractor is likely to strike a deal with the homeowner to accept payments in several instalments following the stages of work being completed. As opposed to taking customer’s cheques each time, going through a worry of getting them deposited and then waiting for them to clear, setting up customer’s “card on file” within the Virtual Terminal the first time, simplifies the entire process and makes payments instantaneous.  Upon every new invoice, the totalled dollar amount is automatically charged to the same card, and over the phone payment is limited to only one instance. Many homeowners would welcome this option as home renovations rarely get covered with small budgets, so a bank loan is often how they get financing. A line of credit is what bank usually approves, and along with it, issues a particular credit card which serves just to pay the renovation bills. It’s a win-win.

Unfortunately, it’s known that there are some bad apples among the contractors who prefer “off the books” deals altogether, leaving the homeowners in desperate situations. Therefore, it’s best for reputable, professional contractors to distinct themselves right at the get-go by also offering professional payment options. Homeowners will never say no to added security when dealing with substantial amounts of money and their precious places of living.

Skip Over the Phone Payments with Enhanced Invoicing

Since we are talking about invoicing and billing, we do have to mention that there is also an alternative way to collect your payments other than getting on the phone with your client to obtain their credit card information. As technology keeps evolving, and the way we do business keeps refining and finding easier, more efficient routes, we can now rely on accomplishing a lot through some pretty powerful apps. Built in this fashion, the new generation of virtual terminals can offer enhanced invoicing. As a business owner, you can email your customer an invoice that will contain a live link to the payment form. Accessing the link, your customer can then review their order, input their credit card information, and complete the payment right from their inbox! If you think your business would benefit from this kind of invoicing service, we can certainly help you get the advanced feature.

Modern Farm Businesses

One last business example comes as an “invention” with many faces, where online-powered payment processing, together with digital marketing, creates the opportunity for modern farm businesses. Nowadays, when we speak about farms, one has to ask what kind of a farm because the farm concept expanded way beyond growing plants and raising animals. Today we also have goat-yoga farms, cut-your-own-flowers farms, fitness retreats and farms invested in agro-tourism, and so on. What is happening is also a reflection of a more significant movement driven by health and wellness trends in Canada. As people are getting more aware of the ingredients for a healthier life, their wellbeing concerns have a massive impact on the growing demand for organic and locally produced food, more of a plant-based diet, and active vacations. Even the government of Canada drastically changed iconic Canada’s Food Guide, telling us to eat more plants, barely leaving meat and dairy on the menu. Recommended protein also primarily comes from plants. And it’s not only that we’ve been told what to consume, but how as well. To enjoy meals, to enjoy them with other people is how they underlined the importance of a holistic approach to healthy living.

Reach Out Beyond the Farm Fence

While this movement is becoming more of a mainstream thing, farms are left with traditional boundaries. Farms are inconvenient to buy from, and they are usually removed from a good market, out in the country and away from urban areas. There are obvious limitations to sell locally. It’s a no brainer that farms, like any other small business, must invest in online presence and build a simple website to let people know that they exist. If you run a farm business but not considering full-blown e-commerce because maybe you sell seasonal goods and services or you are looking for something simpler to start with, MOTO payment gateway is the way to go. All you need to do on your website is to be clear about one thing; can your small business accept credit cards over the phone. If you tell your customers that you have a reliable payment processing in place and that they can use their credit cards to buy from you, you are no longer locked inside of your farm fence.

One Virtual Terminal – Multiple Locations Access

The beauty of the virtual terminal is that it can serve your business in more ways than just taking payments over the phone. The next time you plan your boot at the Farmers Market, have your tablet with you, or even a mobile phone, and process credit card purchases right on the spot. It’s an excellent opportunity for your customers to meet you, build trust, and then you can offer them recurring orders. You could arrange the delivery or a pick up from your farm while you keep on charging the ‘card on file.’ Once you acquire the network of loyal customers, it may eventually save you much time of preparations for such sale events because you will no longer need that channel. However, if Farmers Markets are your focus, this virtual payment processing platform allows you to sell at multiple locations at the same time within the same platform account. Each employee gets their own log-in, and it’s easy to monitor purchases per location.

Wait no Longer – Start Taking Payments Over the Phone!

Incredible reach, fast payments. Simple to access and easy to use. No hardware machines involved. Secured and PCI compliant. Automatic recurring payments. Now that we’ve covered it all, we can conclude that it is one of the most affordable payment processing options in the industry, applicable to any business. Log in from any computer and start processing anytime, anywhere. Over the phone payment solution with Virtual Terminals just makes small business owners’ lives easier.

For the very end, we saved one last question; can your small business accept credit cards over the phone? If the answer is no, well, what are you waiting for? You saw the tool in action and the opportunities that come with it. We hope that we got you inspired and nudged that entrepreneur in you so that you can start your next chapter. If you need any further guidance, contact us, we would be happy to help you.

Author: Ozrenka (Olja) Blagojevic, Marketing Communications Specialist at MONEXgroup
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