How can we accept credit cards at our temporary call center?
March 19, 2009 2:46 PM   Subscribe

A company I do a bit of consulting for wants to test an infomercial for their hummingbird feeders. The infomercial directs viewers to a phone number that connects to our call center where they can place an order. How should we process that order?

We've considered using PayPal, but there has to be a better way. I'm also concerned that submitting multiple credit card transactions to PayPal from a single ip address and to a single company will raise red flags and result in a suspended account - that can't happen while we're trying to take orders.
posted by stuboo to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
What? No, you can't use PayPal for this. I don't think you're even allowed to use PayPal for MOTO.

You need a merchant account specifically designated for Mail Order/Telephone Order. They do MOTO transactions. All your call center agents use a simple online screen to capture and authorize card data.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:55 PM on March 19, 2009

Paypal has a "Virtual Terminal" service they sell for just this purpose. I investigated this before for our (big, permanent) call center, and it seemed set up for a smaller operation - for instance, they want to run a personal credit check on someone to set it up and can't handle business credit. For a temporary center, that's probably the simplest way to get going. They'll probably have around a $20-$30 a month minimum.
posted by pocams at 4:32 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sorry, should have mentioned that Paypal's Virtual Terminal is the same service that provides in DarlingBri's link. Many different providers can sell you the same thing, which boils down to a web page where you enter credit card information.
posted by pocams at 4:34 PM on March 19, 2009

Authorize is what you need, but you need to find a reseller. (As it so happens, my company resells accounts, so feel free to MeMail me if you need more information.)

Authorize doesn't allow you to sign up accounts directly.

What they provide you with is a secure login form that requests things like the purchase amount, name, address, and credit card information. This is the "virtual terminal" and off it goes, the transaction is settled, the funds appear magically in your bank account, and you can run reports off that.

Regarding fulfillment, you're going to have a bit more of a challenge, since Authorize's virtual terminal is really meant as an analogy to the normal terminal people slide your card through at a store--it doesn't do things like tracking inventory, order status, or anything like that.

For that, you'd need a shopping cart or order fulfillment system. These can be easily had online, and then integrated into an merchant account. (Authorize is one of a few vendors, but they're very good at what they do and offer competitive rates.)

Such a system would allow you to create different logins for each of your phone reps, allow them to track inventory, and allow you to send email receipts, perform customer service tasks, and even sell the product online in the first place, if you wanted the infomercial to point to a website.

If you're expecting relatively low volume (which seems a bit strange, since you're looking to run an informerical, the idea of which is that you move product), then you might be able to manage with just a dumb terminal, but I'm guessing you want a bit more comprehensive a solution.

Again, feel free to MeMail me if you have any other questions about this kind of stuff, or in general.

posted by disillusioned at 4:37 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

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