Three Best Practices for Accepting Payments over the Phone

Every cent counts, so it’s NOT the time to overpay on credit and debit transactions. These three tips will help cushion your bottom line and improve outcomes:

1. Avoid additional fees

Every time you process a debit or credit card transaction, that transaction is assigned an interchange rate. This rate is impacted by everything from card brand to industry, but there are some actions you can take to ensure you qualify for the lowest possible interchange rate on every transaction.

Batch out daily.

Transactions that sit unsettled in a terminal for more than 24 hours, often called “stale authorizations,” are frequently downgraded. This means you’re paying increased rates for every single one of those transactions. Avoid this problem by setting up your terminal to automatically batch out every day after business hours.

Don’t neglect AVS.

AVS stands for address verification system, which is a fraud prevention tool that confirms the address provided by a cardholder matches the address on file with the cardholder’s issuing bank. If the billing zip code is not provided, the transaction will be charged a higher interchange rate, so make sure the 5-digit billing zip code is provided every time you or an employee key in a card.

Ask for the CVV code.

Entering the three-digit CVV code from the back of the card won’t impact interchange rates, but it will help prevent fraudulent transactions. Many fraudsters don’t use physical cards—they’ve either purchased a list of card numbers or stolen the information themselves. Either way, without being in possession of the card, they most likely don’t have the CVV code. Fraudulent transactions will inevitably be charged back and that costs money. More on that in the next section.

2. Ensure accuracy

When you key in a transaction, the customer usually won’t have the chance to review their receipt, so data entry errors are more likely to result in chargebacks. Chargebacks are accompanied by a fee of at least $25, and the disputed amount is pulled from your bank account until the chargeback is resolved. Then, to get your money back, you must provide supporting documentation to prove the transaction was legitimate. Don’t have it? You don’t get your money back. Your restaurant does NOT have the time or money for this right now, so please, please, please, avoid unnecessary headaches and ensure data entry is accurate! A best practice is to repeat the total back to each customer while you still have them on the phone.

3. Use a virtual terminal

A virtual terminal allows you to process payments from any device with an internet connection. This provides a secure way to accept payments over the phone or the internet. This can allow you to keep your business open, and revenue coming in, even if your physical location is closed. You can accept orders that can be shipped, or picked-up, or delivered.

About Our Credit Card Processing Services

Bar Harbor Bank & Trust has Credit Card Processing solutions for all types of businesses, using the latest technology. Our industry-leading payment solutions are convenient, safe, and affordable, and include:

  • Customized solutions for your specific business needs with personalized pricing.
  • Terminal, POS, online and mobile payment processing technology.
  • Quality customer service which is prompt, helpful and knowledgeable.
  • Help with certifying that your business complies with PCI guidelines.

Whether you are looking to start accepting credit cards, upgrade services, or switch providers, we are here to help. Good things happen when we work together. Contact us to get started today!


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The informational articles were created by BASYS Processing and with their permission are being reused by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. More articles can be found at

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