2 min read

5 payment types for card payment over the phone

The types of transactions that require a phone conversation between buyer and seller often involve more than a single one-time payment. For example:

  • Holiday payments that typically involve a deposit and multiple payments
  • high-value goods or services payable in instalments
  • Subscription services for online courses
  • Buy-now-pay-later

Offering a range of credit card payment types is a great way to add value for your customers and your business by incentivising payment formats that benefit your finances as much as those of your customer.


What types of payment options are available from payment service providers?


Here are the common types of payments for card payments over the phone safely:


Immediate charge 


A payment taken from the cardholder’s bank account instantly.




Also called "pre-auth". A reserve enables a merchant to place a shadow charge on the payment card but doesn't deduct the money until the charge is realised in some way. This is appropriate for deposits or taking payment as goods are shipped. 

Usually, the reserve is time limited to between 3 and 30 days depending on the payment gateway.




A validation refers to a check whether a card will support a charge up to a certain value. 

It doesn't place any reserve on the cardholder’s account but does return a transaction ID to the merchant which enables them to collect part or full payment from the card within a defined perios, say 30 to 90 days. 


Recurring payments


What it says on the tin: A repeat payment deducted from the customer's card based on a pre-agreed value and timing.




Capture and store a customers' card details so that they can be charged in the future on a payment schedule. 

This is often called “tokenization”. This refers to the process by which sensitive cardholder data is protected by converting it into a string of randomly generated numbers called a "token." Similar to encryption, the process obfuscates the original card data to make it unreadable in the event of a data breach.

Unlike reserve or validation, no attempt is made to set or limit the value of future transactions.

This is great for businesses who need a secure way to capture their customer’s card details or to replace an existing stored payment card, but without their users being exposed to hearing the card details.


Are these available if you accept card payments over the phone?


Not in all cases — so it’s important to check before you spend time and money implementing a solution to enable your business to accept card payments over the phone.

Fully automated payment systems — known as payment IVRs (Interactive voice response) — are by their nature, going to be harder and potentially more expensive to configure to accommodate some of the payment options described here. There may also be an impact on customer experience which needs to be taken into account.

Most effective agent-assisted solutions — for example those that require customers to use their keypad to communicate their sensitive card data, while the agent and customer are on the call, such as Paytia’s Secure Virtual Terminal, should be able to provide all of the options described.


HOWEVER… any transmission system or application like this is only as good as the one with which it communicates. If the underlying payment gateway or service provider does not offer these payment options via API, then they can’t be presented to the agent.


In summary

Accepting card payments on the phone should present no restriction on payment type. However not all systems nor payment service providers are equal. So check both can meet your business needs before you commit.


Read more about taking card payments on the phone

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