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While all types of businesses can benefit from being able to accept credit cards, not all businesses will accept credit cards the same way.

If you are invoicing clients, chances are you are accepting payments over the phone or through a portal. These are called MOTO merchants (Mail Order/Telephone Order) and there are a few key differences in how your business will accept payments compared to a retail business that sees their customers in-person. 

What is MOTO?

MOTO, or Mail Order Telephone Order, is a term that was first used to describe people were browsing through catalogs and placing their order by phone or by mail. In these cases the customer was neither paying in person at a store nor were they browsing a website and entering their payment information, MOTO customers rely on the person they relay their payment information to will enter it correctly and process the payment for them.

There are some important differences for business owners to understand about the differences in retail and MOTO credit card payments. The biggest difference is the risk level. An online/MOTO transaction is riskier than an in-person transaction because without the person paying in person, it is harder to detect a fraudulent transaction. The different business types will also pay different transaction fees and process the payment in different ways.

The Fees

Because of this added risk, Visa and Mastercard charge slightly higher interchange fees for keyed transactions. Below are links to the Visa and Mastercard Interchange rates:

Visa Interchange Rates

Mastercard Interchange Rates

What Type of Businesses Usually Process Credit Cards Over the Phone?

If your business accepts payments without the customer having to be with you physically then you take card-not-present transactions. Below is a list of some of the industries that card-not-present payments apply to:

Professional Services


IT Services







Accepting credit cards over the phone or online can make it more convenient for clients to do business with you. Clients are able to submit their payment without having to leave their homes and you have the added convenience of not having to pick up a check or worry about arranging a money transfer.

How to Key-in a Transaction Over the Phone

Let’s say you are about to complete work for a client, or you have just finished work for them and you set them an invoice. When the customer is ready to pay, they might call you to pay the invoice with their credit card over the phone. The client will read their credit card information to you, as you enter their card details for a ‘keyed-in transaction’. A Keyed-in Transaction is when a business owner takes a credit card payment over the phone by keying/typing in the client’s credit card details into a virtual terminal. A virtual terminal is a tool that your payment processor can provide you with to process keyed-in transactions.

You can also key-in transactions in a traditional terminal, but if you're processing all of your payments over the phone, a virtual terminal makes it easy for you to accept credit cards without having to invest in additional equipment. 

The required information for a keyed-in transaction is as followed:

Name on Card

16-Digit Credit Card Number

Card Expiration Date

CVV/Security Code (On the back of the card) 

Street Address and Zip/Postal Code *Optional, but highly recommended

Once the transaction is complete, you can send the client an email receipt, usually directly from the virtual terminal.

Accepting Credit Cards Can Solve Payment Difficulties

Being able to process credit cards over the phone is a huge asset to businesses for their customer experience. There are countless payment difficulties that we hear every day; such as contractors trying to arrange e-transfers, property managers losing checks, clients not having the cash to pay you just yet. All of these situations can be easily solved with a keyed-in credit card transaction over the phone. Having the ability to accept credit cards can help keep your customers happy and while making it easier for you to get paid. 

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