All sorts of businesses, large and small, whether bricks and mortar or online, have the need to take payment by credit card: a Credit Card Processing facility. The circumstances under which you as a store owner will need to take credit cards and the type of transactions you make will affect the process you follow when you charge a customer’s credit card. Online retailers will obviously use a very different process for charging cards than a big department store. However the process which the card payment follows is similar, it is the way the card details are submitted or authorized that differs. An Automated Response Unit is one way of submitting card details to your bank.
Bricks and mortar sellers used to require the actual, physical card to be able to let a customer pay for their shopping on their card. The first systems used a slider device with carbon copy paper where the slider slides across the card to record the card details on the front of the card. The customer then signs the card and in turn the retailer takes all the slips and deposits them at their bank at the end of the day.
Newer Credit Card Processing systems use an electronic credit card terminal machine which is able to read the magnetic strip on the credit card, with even newer systems facilitating the chip and PIN system. Chip and PIN is where a card has a basic electronic chip embedded and the cardholder is required to type in the PIN number to authorize payment. However newer devices also offer the facility to type in the card details on the machine directly. Whichever way the card details are entered, the machine dials up your bank through your phone line to authorize the card.
An Automated Response Unit then is a credit card terminal machine that lets you charge a card without actually having the card in front of you. For example, a customer may call a pizza delivery company to order pizza by delivery, but wish to pay using their card. In that case the customer can quote you their credit card number over the phone, which you then type into the machine. The machine dials the bank, authorizes the transaction and lets you know whether it has been approved. You then send a copy of the receipt with the pizza to the customer’s door.
Credit Card Processing technology is continuously evolving. While Automated Response Units still play a role, it is an example of Credit Card Processing technology that is not used as often as it used to be. One of the reasons for this is the fact that payments can now be made online. In fact many transactions that used to require human interaction can now take place without any user interaction whatsoever.
Using the pizza delivery example, a customer can go online to the pizza restaurant’s website and select the meal they would like to order. Then they can pay by simply entering their credit card details on to the website for verification. This eliminates a lot of mistakes and leaves less room for fraud.
However you should know all the options available to you for Credit Card Processing, and you should try to find the best option for your needs.