Mobile Payments: How to Accept Credit Card Payments on My Phone

Read Time: 8 min

“How to accept credit card payments on my phone?” is an inquiry over 1,100 business owners and entrepreneurs search each and every month. And unsurprisingly, they go to the Internet to help them find a solution. Fortunately, learning how to accept credit card payments over the phone is a simple process. And finding the hardware and software to do so is quicker and more accessible than ever.

Businesses now have a variety of digital payment options to choose from, tailored to their specific needs. When you use a mobile or virtual terminal to accept credit card payments on the phone it’s known as a card-not-present (CNP) transaction. There are many forms of CNP transaction options but the ability to accept credit card payments on the phone has been widely used for decades. As Internet shopping becomes more prevalent, accepting mobile credit card payments is growing in popularity. In addition to CNP transactions using a virtual terminal, merchants can accept credit card payments in one simple swipe, tap, or scan by connecting a mobile card reader to their cell phone. 

So, if you’ve ever asked Google, “How can I accept card payments with my cellphone?” then you’ve come to the right place! We’ll take a closer look at how this process works as well as discuss the security, cost, and convenience associated with virtual terminals and mobile credit card readers. 

Option 1: Accept Credit Card Payments Over the Phone

If you’re not familiar with a virtual terminal, think of it as a webpage to manually type in a customer transaction. Just as a physical credit card terminal processes customer information, a virtual terminal is an online platform that allows companies to manually enter that information. Virtual terminals are perfect for MOTO sales, restaurants, and personalization requests. They’re also beneficial to have on hand for any eCommerce business in general.

With a virtual terminal, your customers won’t have to worry about visiting your store. Instead, they can give you their credit card information on a phone call with a representative from your business. 

There are many benefits for businesses accepting credit card payments via virtual terminal:

  • The customer does not need to be physically present at your retail location to purchase
  • Less cash is held at your business
  • It’s faster and more convenient for both you and the customer
  • You can offer payment options from anywhere that has internet access
  • You don’t have to purchase or update any credit card processing hardware.

Option 2: Accept Credit Card Payments Via Your Phone

how to accept credit card payments over the phone

Similar to utilizing a virtual terminal, using a mobile card reader can offer the same convenience. Whether you’re set up at a flea market, kiosk, hair salon, etc., you need a payment option that satisfies the needs of your business.

There are two main subsets of accepting credit card payments via your mobile phone:

  • A physical, portable card reader that allows you to swipe or tap customer cards to take their payment
  • A completely contactless solution that foregoes the use of physical hardware and credit cards, and instead allows customers to type in their own payment information on their phone

How to use a portable card reader to accept payment

With the right mobile reader, you’ll be able to simply attach the card reader to your mobile device to swipe your customer’s card. Accepting credit card payments via your phone works in the same way a traditional terminal does, except it’s flexible and easy to use.

A simple user interface is one of the major perks of this solution. It is easy for new businesses and their customers to use. Since most of our modern lives is spent on our phone anyway, why not accommodate that trend?

How to use a contactless solution to accept payments

In more recent months, contactless payments are growing in popularity amongst Americans.

This means a surge in the text to pay and another card not present transactions. These contactless solutions are seamless and appeal to the younger clientele. They also give you instant confirmation and allow you to send a digital receipt as well. A few options for these contactless solutions include:

  • Mobile invoicing (most commonly text to pay or email)
  • App-based payment processing
  • Electronic check
  • QR codes

With so many options, it’s easy to accommodate your business’ needs and allow it to grow with you into the digital age.

Is Mobile Payment Processing Safe?

how to accept credit card payments on my phone

Every type of credit card processing transaction comes with risk. However, it is safe to accept credit card payments on the phone via a secure gateway provided by your merchant services provider. Whether you’re using a virtual terminal to accept payments over the phone or a mobile credit card reader, here’s what type of security features you can expect to protect your customer’s card information and ensure a safe online shopping experience.

Virtual terminal security 

Because a virtual terminal requires manual data entry, there is more room for error. Ensure your staff knows how to properly collect credit card information from customers in a way that does not jeopardize their safety. Train employees to never write down card information or store it on the computer. Both of these practices can open your business to fraud.

Just like using mobile card readers, using virtual terminals to accept payments over the phone is secure and must comply with PCI DSS. This means you agree to accept and transmit credit card data safely and securely. If your business doesn’t stay within compliance, you may be fined. This is why choosing the right merchant services provider is essential when you choose to accept card-not-present transactions. Not only will they ensure you comply with regulations but will work hard to mitigate errors and ensure any dispute is handled promptly. 

Mobile card reader security 

When you use a mobile card reader, your customer’s credit card likely won’t leave their sight. This is unlike other point-of-sale systems, such as at restaurants, where the server often walks away with the credit card to swipe it for information. Your customer will feel more confident in their transaction when their card stays in front of them. 

If you’re using a mobile card reader, it must comply with the requirements of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. This ensures that the credit card information you collect is encrypted and secure from hackers. 

Contactless payment security 

Contactless payments are an emerging technology in the payments industry. They are essential in the current global environment and allow customers to pay without inserting their card or using one at all.

QR codes and tap-to-pay options use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology which must meet its own PCI standard. NFC only transmits data within a maximum of 10 centimeters from the payment terminal. This prevents fraudsters from stealing data through long-range RFID readers, which is often what they use to steal credit cards. Even if a reader was present, contactless card numbers cannot be cloned. This leaves you and the customer feels secure in the safety of the transaction.

The Cost of Accepting Payments On Your Phone

The cost of a virtual terminal or mobile credit card reader is specific to the service you choose and the merchant services provider you work with. One major factor that goes into determining the price per transaction is the risk factor. For example, manually entering credit card information is riskier than having the customer swipe their card at a terminal. This is why accepting a card-not-present transaction may carry a higher fee than a traditional card reader. 

Check with your provider to compare credit card processing fees and discuss the model that best fits your business needs.

Determine Which Solution is Best for Your Business

One of the best choices you can make for your business is expanding the types of payment options you accept. Shoppers tend to carry less cash and can be steered away from your store when they see a “Cash Only” sign. When asking “how to accept card payments on my phone?” the first step is to determine whether you need a virtual terminal, a mobile card reader, or want to go with a contactless payment option.

This often depends on your business structure and how your customers would prefer to pay. Let’s compare each of these to help you determine which would best fit your needs.

Is a virtual terminal right for my business?

accept credit card payments on phone

This option is a great solution for businesses that have very little or no face-to-face interaction with their customers. If the product requires explanation or needs personalization of any kind, a sales call would be a welcome way to take customer payments. Additionally, speaking to someone over the phone to make a payment may reassure your customer their transaction is legitimate.

With a virtual terminal, you can accept transactions by simply inputting the customer’s card information into a secure payment terminal and submitting it for instant approval to your bank. It takes only seconds and allows you to troubleshoot card issues as you have your customers on the phone.

This process requires a sales team to input information and can be time consuming. It’s not always the best fit for every business type but is a lifesaver for those that properly utilize it.

Is a mobile credit card reader right for my business?

Having a mobile credit card reader is the perfect payment option for businesses that see customers on the go. Your customers don’t have to pay with cash and can swipe their cards when they make a purchase.

Much of the process is the same as what customers are used to in everyday purchasing. They still are present at the time of purchase, provide a physical payment card, and receive an instant verification of purchase. The only difference is that the hardware is portable and more user-friendly compared to tabletop terminals or POS systems.

Whether you operate a food truck or sell products at a flea market, this payment solution is perfect for any business looking to ditch the bulky hardware of yesteryear. 

Is a contactless payment option right for my business?

Are you eager to try new payment technology and expand your card-not-present payments? Then contactless payment options might be your best option.

Introducing text to pay, electronic checks or even QR codes for transactions is a great way to introduce contactless payments into your business. Whether it be for recurring payments or a one-time donation, your customers will find these payment options a seamless choice.

Scale Your Business by Accepting Payments Using Your Phone

The ability to accept credit cards on the phone is a relatively new concept but is quickly sweeping the market. With the help of payment options such as virtual terminals, mobile card readers, and contactless options, growing your sales and customer base is at the tip of your fingers.

To start accepting payments on your phone, get in touch with a reliable merchant services provider. Working with a provider will set you up with all the credit card processing tools you will need to succeed.