Credit card processing online for phone and mail order businesses has become more common in recent years, as these traditionally cash & check-oriented operations have come to realize the benefits of being able to accept a credit card by phone or by mail.

 

Below, we have set out our recommendations as to the top providers of merchant accounts for credit card processing online for phone and mail orders.

 

We have chosen to include commentary on only four such providers – however, links to a further three companies we like follow those summaries.

 

Finally we’ve included a brief discussion of how to accept a credit card by phone or mail.

Phone Mail Merchant Accounts

Our Top Credit Card Processing Online Recommendations
(as of May 15, 2007)

The Transaction Group
Discount Rate: 2.20%
Transaction Fee: 25 cents
Monthly Statement Fee: $10.00
Monthly Minimum: None
Up Front Costs: depends on setup
Our Rating (out of 100 points): 90
  • Processing accessible anywhere with an Internet connection.
  • 24 hour approval. Customized payment processing solutions available.
  • Very low rates, low start-up costs – and no cancellation fees.
  • A recognized leader in the electronic payment processing industry since 1996.
  • State-of-the-art software. Advanced risk minimization processes.
  • Solutions features include easy recurring monthly billing for clients.
Free Credit Card Processing
Discount Rate: 2.19%
Transaction Fee: 25 cents
Monthly Statement Fee: $19.95
Monthly Minimum: None
Up Front Costs: None
Our Rating (out of 100 points): 88
  • Accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, ACH Checks
  • Very easy to use and can be accessed from any computer with internet access.
  • No charge for the software or its set-up.
  • Transactions deposited to your business checking account within 48-72 hours.
  • Easy to use automated billing of recurring amounts
  • View transactions online via a comprehensive web reporting site.
Visit their site: Free Credit Card Processing
Charge.com
Discount Rate: 2.25%
Transaction Fee: 25 cents
Monthly Statement Fee: $10.00
Monthly Minimum: Not specified
Up Front Costs: None
Our Rating (out of 100 points): 88
  • Software enables processing of phone, mail, email, fax and face-to-face orders.
  • Received the highest ratings from Apple Computers, AOL, Excite and others.
  • Online applications can be approved the same day.
  • Both your customer and you receive email confirmation of the order.
  • Funds transferred to your bank account within 2 to 3 business days.
  • There is no cost to set-up your merchant account software.
Visit their site: Charge.com
Merchant Express
Discount Rate: 2.33%
Transaction Fee: 24 cents
Monthly Statement Fee: $9.95
Monthly Minimum: Not specified
Up Front Costs: Call for Quote
Our Rating (out of 100 points): 84
  • Offers two software packages – TakeCharge and PC Charge Pro
  • Each allow ease of use and many versatile features.
  • Process all major credit cards, check guarantee services and gift cards.
  • Optional card swiper enables sales in retail locations.
  • Software processing helps reduce fraud losses.
  • Can be upgraded, as improvements to the software are released.
Visit their site: Merchant Express
   Three other providers of merchant accounts for processing mail & phone orders that we can    recommend:

How Phone & Mail Credit Card Processing Online Works

 

The so-called “virtual terminal” involves a credit card processing software system that provides an excellent secure solution for businesses who wish to manually input orders into their computer, so they can accept credit cards by phone, email, mail or fax.

 

Virtual terminals for mail or telephone credit card processing have taken over the market from the former desktop authorization terminals, as they reduce the complications and expense otherwise involved with credit card processing online.

 

Transactions to accept a credit card over the phone, or to accept mail orders, are usually processed as follows.

 

Customers provide you with their credit card information. You then log-in to your account on your computer, fill out a form that includes the data required to process the transaction. This data is securely encrypted and sent through the processing system to the bank that issued the credit card to your customer.

 

The issuing bank will confirm that the card is valid and that the amount requested for the purchase is available on the card.

 

Then, in mere seconds, you receive an authorization approval number and can print a receipt for your records or an invoice for your customer. Transactions are ‘settled’ daily and you can expect to receive the funds in your business checking account within 2 or 3 business days.

 

Most online credit card processing software systems will allow you a wide range of options for credit card processing online , such as authorizations for purchases, credits and returns. In addition, most permit you to set up ‘recurrent billing’ for payment plans and monthly subscriptions.

 

You can submit a number of customer orders together in a ‘batch’. This saves you the trouble of having to input orders individually several times daily. You can review your transactions and run a wide array of reports from your computer.

 

Remember, in order to accept credit cards by phone or mail, you will require a merchant account, in addition to the credit card processing software. The software system can either be purchased outright or leased – and recently some companies offer free credit card processing software when you obtain a merchant account from them.

 

For information on the various costs you may incur when credit card processing online your phone or mail orders, see our Credit Card Processing Fees discussion.