How To Take Secure Payments Over the Phone

How to Take Secure Payments Over the Phone
Many customers still want the option to make a payment or ask questions to a live customer service agent. After all, a conversation with an employee is often the easiest way to resolve an issue. How can organizations take payments over the phone and still keep payment data secure?


“Nearly 7 in 10 respondents (69%) said talking to a live agent by phone is one of their top three preferred methods of communication with a company’s customer service department.”

Why Customers Make Payments Over the Phone

Even with easy self-serve payment options available, there is still a large segment of customers who prefer speaking to a customer service representative. They may have questions that need to be answered before they pay or simply prefer a human touch.


Allowing customers to pay the way they want is convenient. Some may not like online payment pages or have a complex problem that can’t be solved by looking at the resources on your website.

Others might find it difficult to navigate self-serve options or don’t have a reliable way to access them when a payment is due. Companies should take payments over the phone to offer convenient options for every situation.

Personalized service

Occasionally, a customer may have a unique request, a complex problem with a bill or even just want to have help walking through the steps to a payment. If you accept payments over the phone you can offer personalized help on a customer-by-customer basis.


Depending on the customer, paying over the phone may be the fastest option. Customers like having the choice to dial in and pay without having to mail a check, type in long URLs etc.


For customers with disabilities or who require accessibility options, self-serve isn’t always easy. Customers who need accessibility features may prefer to speak to a person who can assist them.

Perceived Security

Regulations like Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards govern how organizations accept, process and manage credit card information. Every merchant who accepts card payments must know these requirements but most customers don’t know about PCI compliance.

Although taking payments over the phone can open your company to risk, some customers may not trust an online payment system or other automated payment options. Companies should take phone payments securely to keep customer data safe.

“Accepting spoken account data over the telephone puts personnel, the technology used, and the infrastructure to which that technology is connected into scope of PCI DSS.”
Source: PCI Security Standards Council: Protecting Telephone Based Payment Card Data Guide

Why Companies Take Payments Over the Phone

Companies need to cater to as many customers as possible. Because agent assisted payments are one part of a multichannel payment experience, organizations may feel obligated to take payments over the phone. But offering phone payments can be a benefit to your business too.

Revenue increase

The more ways you let customers pay, the more money you will receive. Self-serve payment systems have higher abandonment rates and are more susceptible to fraud. Paying over the phone with credit card or bank account numbers can make it easier for customers to follow through with a payment.


People make mistakes. Customers might type in their payment information wrong or miss a required field during an online payment and become frustrated with the process.

When agents take payments over the phone, they can stand by during transactions to make sure they process correctly. Staff can address problems immediately and provide immediate customer support.

Customer service

Quality customer service means better reviews and higher customer satisfaction. Companies that take payments over the phone can identify and handle problems immediately, meaning faster resolutions.


“After a positive customer service experience, 3 in 10 (33%) said they post an online review. Conversely, after a poor customer service experience, 4 in 10 (42%) said they have posted an online review.”

Limitations to Taking Payments Over the Phone

Taking ACH payments and credit cards by phone is a great way to serve customers. But as with any process, there may be a few limitations that can make it hard to offer a secure, trustworthy payment process over the phone.

Fear of fraud

Just as some customers may think it’s safer to trust their data to an agent, others will worry about reading payment information out loud. After all, customers don’t know who is on the other end of the transaction and don’t know how information is stored.

Your organization should follow PCI compliance for card payments and Nacha regulations for ACH transactions.

Your company should also block employees from hearing, seeing or accessing private payment data (during transactions and afterwards). This prevents data breaches and increases trust in your business.

Human error

Customer service representatives also run the risk of typing payment data incorrectly, accessing the wrong files, or sending incorrect information to a customer. This can harm your business reputation and cause problems during payment reconciliation.

To take payments over the phone, use payment software that creates safeguards and prevents errors from occurring by:

  • limiting staff access to only the information they need
  • storing payment data so your company can manage risk
  • allowing customers to key in their own payment information while still on the phone with an agent

Customer dissatisfaction

If your organization takes payments over the phone, make sure call routing, phone menus and other technical aspects of your customer service line work right. Convenient options boost customer satisfaction but if the customer experience doesn’t match up to what’s promised, your company risks damaging your reputation, not improving it.

Credit Card Payment Security and Compliance Risks

Accepting credit card payments over the phone means your company must follow PCI compliance requirements. Specifically, your organization can not use voice recording software that might capture and store payment data from a customer’s transaction.

Simply allowing staff to hear card numbers can also expose your company to more risk. If an employee writes a credit card number on a piece of paper, that paper becomes a liability for your organization – especially if you allow agents to work from home.


Flow Technology for PCI Compliant Agent-Assisted Payments

Flow Technology for PCI Compliant Agent-Assisted Payments

Fast, Secure, Compliant Phone Payments With Flow Technology

PDCflow’s Flow Technology is a delivery system that lets agents send a text message or email to customers while they are still on the phone with an agent.

Customers can open the message, key in their card or bank account information and complete a payment – all while they’re still on the line with your staff.

Because Flow Technology prevents agents from having to key in payment numbers, customers can enjoy a personal touch without worrying about fraud or mishandled data.

Organization hierarchies in PDCflow’s software also allow administrators to choose who can access workflows, templates or other information in the system. This can be segmented by group, department or location to avoid confusion and human errors.

For more information on how to take secure agent-assisted payments, even with remote workers, request a demo with a PDCflow payment expert today.

Request a Demo:

Want to know more about PDCflow Software?

Press ▶️ to watch our explainer video

See how our Flow Technology can create a one-step workflow for your contracts/invoices and payments. Book a demo today.
Book Demo


Consolidate multi-step processes into one easy step for your staff and customers. Eliminate the need for multiple software vendors. Send all your business transactions in one Flow smart request.
Explore Flow Technology
Share this post!
Hannah Huerta - PDCflow Marketing Specialist
Hannah Huerta, Marketing Specialist

Hannah Huerta is a Marketing Specialist at PDCflow. She creates content for the accounts receivable and payment industry.

LinkedIn - Hannah Huerta
Related Articles
Call Center PCI Compliance: Keeping Agent Payments Safe8 Digital Methods of Payment to Upgrade Customer Experience