Friday, Friday, FRIDAY! The post-holiday work week of just 4 days is almost over and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to the weekend and some good outdoor action!
For people who are new to my blog – each Friday I publish a Reader’s Question blog post where I personally answer a question sent in by my blog readers. So if you want your question to be featured in an up-coming post, feel free to send it in via my help desk here.
Today I’ll be answering a very interesting question from Adrian:
I hope you are well!
Super quick question. At the moment I only trade on eBay but a customer has asked me if she can pay by card over the phone.
I don’t have anything like this set up but have read on your blog about PayPal pro accounts.
I’m not sure whether it is worth setting up a PayPal pro account (a £20 monthly charge and then a charge per transaction as you know) for this one transaction or if there are any other options for me to accept a one off phone payment via phone?
The sale is worth a little more than £400 so I don’t really want to lose it!
I do plan to set up my own e-commerce website asap but that is going to take me a little while to read up on before starting!
If there are no options for accepting one off payments via the phone then I may need to direct her to PayPal instead.
I look forward to your response and thanks for all your help to date!
Thanks for your question Adrian – it’s a good one! I actually can’t believe that I haven’t covered this topic on my blog yet!
First of all – let’s find out whether credit card payments over the phone are allowed on eBay UK. If we go to the Accepted Payment Methods page on eBay, we see that eBay only lists these methods:
- Collection in Person
- Credit Card
- Cheque/postal order
So the credit card over the phone method is not listed separately BUT under the Credit Card method it says that you can use a Virtual Terminal for processing payments. On the further help page it says:
A virtual terminal solution allows you to process payments when the buyer gives you their credit card details.
So this basically confirms that taking payment over the phone is acceptable and in line with eBay’s rules.
IMPORTANT!!! The accepted payment methods policy will vary on regional eBay websites, so make sure to check your eBay site for details IF you’re not selling on eBay UK. On eBay.com for example you can’t take cheques and credit cards are processed DIRECTLY via eBay, via the standard checkout process:
So going back to the original question – taking credit card details over the phone is perfectly fine on eBay UK. But as Adrian asks – is there a way to accept such payments WITHOUT signing-up for the PayPal Pro account at £20 a month?
Yes! There are merchant account companies out there that offer you such services with no monthly subscription fees. One of the most popular and long established ones is PayaTrader.com
They offer the special Payatrader Lite account where you don’t pay any sign-up fees, don’t pay any monthly fees, and can accept credit cards payments:
- Via your website
- Over the phone
- Face to face (using a Chip & Pin machine)
And the fees are actually very good:
- VISA – 2.9%
- MasterCard – 2.9%
- Amex – 2.95 %
There is also a FULL account available with lower processing fees but that does cost £99 to set-up. There are no monthly fees involved though.
So this could be a perfect set-up for people who are looking to take irregular payments over the phone and don’t want to pay the £20+ per month “regular” merchant account providers, such as PayPal Pro, ask for.
BUT as Adrian mentioned that he wants to start an online shop soon, I have another suggestion – if you use Shopify as your shopping cart and sign-up to Shopify Payments for your card processor, you’ll get some instant advantages:
- You’ll have a card processor in place for your online shop
- You won’t pay any Shopify transaction fees on your card payments
- You’ll have the ability to take phone orders and charge cards directly via Shopify!
So basically you won’t pay any monthly fees for taking credit card payments, you won’t pay Shopify transaction fees, and you’ll be able to take phone orders for eBay too!
This is something to think about if you really plan on starting an online shop in the near future.
You can of course sign-up for PayaTrader now and switch to Shopify Payments later on, when you start selling on your shop.
Lastly – if you sell on eBay and very rarely get asked about the option to pay with card over the phone, maybe it’s not worth the hassle in doing this at all? I mean if it’s just few orders a year, it may not be worth it. You can always kindly refuse that option and direct the customer to PayPal, reminding them that you don’t actually require a PayPal account to pay – you can simply pay using your credit card on the checkout page.
But obviously if you can increase your sales by offering payments over the phone, go for it! It’s really not that difficult to set-up.
Remember – on eBay UK, you still get Seller protection with such orders AS LONG as you send out the order via a track-able method. And buyers also get protection, just like when using PayPal.
One thing though – credit card purchases in general could attract a higher scam/chargeback rate, especially if you sell valuable items worth hundreds or thousands of pounds. If such a customer makes a chargeback case, you’ll lose your money, the item and will even pay a chargeback processing fee.
So make sure you verify the customer if an expensive item is involved before taking such card payments – online or via the phone.
And that’s about it for today! If you have experience, either good or bad, taking credit card payments over the phone on eBay, then I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below this post.
Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂
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This article was great! I needed a account to set up payments for items PayPal doesn’t allow but I need help with companies that do the same in the USA. Any help Andrew or other members frome the USA ?
Sorry, don’t have any specific recommendations for the USA but there should be plenty of available!
Try checking out new age processors like Stripe and similar which usually come with no monthly payment fee.
Another point to note about taking payments over the phone is that you are letting the customer bypass 3D secure, or any further checks that are made by the card issuer. We have noticed a big increase in stolen card purchases recently, and now will not ship to alternative delivery addresss for higher value first time orders. We also insist on a landline number which we ring back to validate the address. Sounds fussy, but we have had chargebacks upheld on stolen cards even when delivered by recorded signed for and posted to the address specified. If they really want to pay without using PayPal etc, give them your business or personal bank account details, and let them Bacs the funds direct to your account, which cannot be refunded or have chargebacks made against later.
It’s surprising when questioned with these checks the amount of people that say their internet connection isn’t working, don’t have an email address or landline so they thought they’d ring to order, only to say they’ll ‘try online later’ when confronted with the extra checks. We obviously never hear from them again. Most of these are unscrupulous sellers who peddle their stolen goods a few weeks later on EBay, often undercutting your own prices!
You might think that you have lost a sale being so fussy, but all genuine customers will provide extra info if you explain why you are performing these checks, and it will re-enforce confidence with your customers that you are taking their card security seriously. The ones who say it’s rediculous etc are the scammers. Better to lose a possible sale than several hundred pounds in chargebacks!
Many Thanks for sharing this with us, very good and VALID advice.
I also get regular credit card charge back cases in my businesses – more often than I would like! And payments over the phone does indeed increase the risk. I would really sell anything valuable over this method, especially to first time costumers.
Thanks again for your comment!