How To Take Card Payments Over The Phone With Virtual Terminals

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Want to make it as easy as possible for customers to pay you? Of course you do! Even if your business offers card payments in person, it’s worth adding the option to pay over the phone. The more freedom you can provide for your customers, the more sales you can close on.

So, have you considered how to take card payments over the phone? It’s simple – you only need an internet connection, telephone, virtual terminal, and a merchant account.

Here’s what you need to know about setting up card payments for your business.

What is a virtual terminal?

You must have a virtual terminal in order to take card payments over the phone. A virtual terminal is a secure web or software application that enables a merchant (in this case, your business) to process card payments when a credit or debit card isn’t physically present.

It allows you to enter your customer’s card details into an online payment form, which is then securely processed. The virtual terminal sends data to the payment provider, and the funds come through to your business account (minus fees taken by the provider).

How to take a card payment over the phone

  1. Ensure your customer is available on the phone and they have their card details ready to share with you.
  2. Open the virtual terminal and enter your login details.
  3. Select ‘take a payment’.
  4. Ask the customer to read out their card details and enter them into the corresponding payment fields on the form.
  5. Enter the billing address for the payment card.
  6. Confirm with the customer that all details are correct.

Press ‘confirm’ to process the payment.

How much does it cost to take card payments over the phone?

Taking card payments comes with a cost. Providers charge fees to process all card payments, but virtual payments also incur a Card-Not-Present (CNP) fee. The CNP fee covers the slightly higher risk of fraud from taking virtual payments compared with a physical card payment machine.

The exact fee you’ll pay will depend on your chosen supplier. Some charge a fee based on a percentage of each transaction, while others will provide a monthly subscription fee plus a flat rate per additional transaction. Some monthly subscriptions are tiered into fee ‘brackets’ depending on how many sales you expect to process each month.

Every business has unique requirements, and the best option for you depends on how predictable your monthly sales volume is. A monthly subscription is likely to be good value if you consistently process the same number and value of transactions throughout the year. A percentage-based fee might suit your business better if you have vastly different volumes from month to month.

What are the UK regulations for taking card payments over the phone?

You want to ensure your customers’ details are safe and that your business is protected. Here’s what you need to know about the current rules for phone credit card payments in the UK.

PCI DSS Compliance

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. These are a strict set of guidelines to ensure that sensitive data remains safe during card transactions.

As these guidelines are crucial, every popular virtual terminal provider will make it clear on their website that they’re PCI DSS compliant. It should be easy to find one that fits the bill.

Find out more on the PCI Security Standards Council website.

GDPR rules

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation: a set of strict rules that apply to all businesses that process or store personal information. These rules ensure that companies use information fairly, lawfully, and transparently.

You handle, process, and store information by taking card payments over the phone. According to the EDPB (European Data Protection Board), you should seek the customer’s consent to store their information for future purchases. Consent needs to be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous.

Find out more about GDPR and The Data Protection Act on the UK Government’s website.

What are the benefits of taking card payments over the phone?

There are many benefits that virtual card payments can bring to your business. Here are a few of them.


As we’ve seen over the last few years of the pandemic, it’s increasingly important for businesses to have virtual solutions for those times when it’s not possible for customers to be physically present. All you need to take card payments by phone is a device with an internet connection and a phone to speak to the customer – so you can accept payments from anywhere, without the need to be in a particular office.


Virtual card payments are quick and convenient for your customers. Many customers (and businesses) no longer use cheques, and some older customers aren’t comfortable paying online or through banking apps. Phone card payments are an accessible alternative.


Using a PCI DSS-compliant virtual terminal protects both the customer and your business against fraud. Advanced security features protect payment information and customer details, so you don’t have to worry.

Can I use WhatsApp Business to take card payments?

WhatsApp Business is a great choice for taking card payments. You have two options for sharing payment details with your customers – chat or call.

WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted, which means that the two participants are the only ones who can access the chat. Not even WhatsApp staff are able to access your messages. It’s completely safe to send text messages, photos, videos, voice messages, and documents. You could choose to send your bank details to a customer and ask them to make a bank transfer.

With a virtual WhatsApp number generated by YourBusinessNumber, you can also receive WhatsApp calls from any verified WhatsApp user. This is an ideal solution for taking credit card payments over the phone – all you need to do is set up your virtual terminal, then follow the steps listed above. Easy!

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Picture of George Lineker

George Lineker

The co-founder of YourBusinessNumber, George has a lasting interest in modern communications technology, and is an advocate of simple and easy to use tools for businesses of all sizes. He has a background in mobile telecom solutions along with qualifications in business and management support services.
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