Accepting IVR payments

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Libby James
Merchant Services Expert

Libby James is co-founder, director and an expert in all things merchant services. Libby is the go-to specialist for business with more complex requirements or businesses that are struggling to find a provider that will accept them. Libby is regularly cited in trade, national and international media.

What is an IVR payment?

At Merchant Advice Service we often get asked ‘what is IVR payment processing?’ Here our short guide explains how payments are made and the benefits of offering customers payment via IVR.

So, what does IVR stand for?

IVR means Interactive Voice Response, in payment terms these are made via the telephone. Examples of IVR credit card payments are businesses accepting invoice payments over the phone, call centre payments – normally sales based transactions and in some cases payments for rent be it privately owned estate agency homes or housing association.

How does IVR payment work?

An IVR payment is processed in the same way as any other MOTO payment. Companies can accept IVR card payments in one of two ways;

The most straight forward and cheaper IVR payment solution is where a business has a dedicated phone number for clients to call in on and complete the transaction. This is done via a unique reference number, normally printed on the bill. The client will call the payment phone number, enter the reference and then the amount owed will be confirmed. The customer then keys in their card details, including the long card number, expiry date and CVV on the back of the card. No card details are stored by the telecom company or handled by a person, making the transaction safe and secure. This method can also work well when using automated phone options.

The alternative is an agent led calls such as calls made to call centres or debt recovery agencies, the caller will transfer the customer to another line where payment is made. IVR bill payments are normally made in this way, which have proven to be effective when chasing late payments or managing client debt recovery.


What do you need to accept interactive voice response payments?

IVR payment systems are normally provided by a telecommunications company, however to process card payments you will need a separate merchant account.  A merchant account provider is the bank who will approve transactions and send the money from the customer’s bank account to your business banking.

You will also require an IVR friendlypayment gateway. The payment gateway acts as a safety net for customer details, encrypting them and ensuring they do not fall into the wrong hands. Secure IVR payment system work alongside the payment gateway enabling you as a business to remain PCI compliant. For more tips on finding the best payment gateway for your business CLICK HERE.

Finding the correct combination of providers from the merchant account to the payment gateway coupled with a reliable telecoms company will create a streamlined and efficient way of accepting transactions meaningthat your customers feel confident in making IVR payments.

IVR payments and PCI Compliance

What is PCI Compliance?

PCI compliance is an industry standard to ensure the security of your customers card details. Remaining compliant is your responsibility as a business, however often the merchant account supplier will help you to do so, in the nature of forms and procedures which are submitted every year.

When it comes to accepting  telephone payments, obtaining PCI compliance and continuing to remain complaint can be difficult because there are more risks involved compared to accepting transactions face-to-face.  IVR payments help ensure that payment data never reach your systems, due to the client keying their information directly onto their keypad rather than the agent asking for the data. Choosing an IVR company with high standards of compliance is crucial when setting up a telephone payment system. To read more on PCI Compliance, check out our short guide.

High risk IVR payments

Some businesses may struggle to obtain a merchant account for IVR payments, not knowing that they are deemed high risk. Depending on the nature of your business, our specialists may be able to help. Example of companies helped in the past include;

Pharmacies and medical companies

Direct Sales

NHS and Government services


Debt Collections companies

Parking fine enforcers

Adult websites


Benefits of using an IVR payment gateway

The advantages of using IVR payments have been widely reported in recent years, some of which include;

  • The ability to accept payments 24/7 outside of office working hours.
  • Saving costs ordinarily spent on staff to handle card processing.
  • Safe and secure processing due to data being encrypted and not stored.
  • Convenient for customers to make payments when it suits them.
  • Easy reporting to enable businesses to keep track of their payments.

Costings for IVR payments

IVR telecoms companies normally charge per transaction, this can be on a percentage basis or at a fixed rate. They prove to be a cost effective way to accept payments, however do quote on an individual basis. The reason behind this is that IVR gateways can integrate with back end CRM and booking systems. To find out more information please contact us directly.

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Libby James

Libby James Co-founded Merchant Advice Service alongside David Bird in 2016. Her finance background, coupled with retail and customer service experience, gave Libby the drive to bring transparency and non-biased advice to the world of merchant services. Having come from the heavily regulated mortgage and insurance industry, Libby found it puzzling that other financial sectors lacked regulation and transparency leaving customers confused and unable to make informed decisions when it came to accepting card payments. This was soon to become Libby’s obsession!

With the help of some of the industry’s best, Libby began to research acquiring banks, complex terminology/regulation, and the problems customers experience within merchant services and payment gateway markets. She spent years on sourcing solutions for complex clients, which previously others were unable to assist with. Libby established relationships with brokers and banks which would soon form the cornerstone of Merchant Advice Service. As a result Libby has been featured in high-profile publications across the web.

Libby is proud to be the entrepreneur’s champion, supporting start-up businesses regularly. Her industry insights can often be found on LinkedIn where she provides free of charge advice and money saving pointers. It’s safe to say she has her finger on the pulse of everything card payments related.

Libby speaks of her experience in founding and running Merchant Advice Service…

‘Merchant Advice Service is one of my greatest achievements to date. We help business owners to overcome card processing issues which can become detrimental to their business. We assist SME’s in finding suitable card payments solutions, helping them create their vision. Each and every day is different, exciting and fore filling. As technology advances I can’t wait to see the way in which the merchant services market advances, and I’m pleased that our business will play a part in educating company owners along the way.’

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