Mail order/telephone order (MOTO)

A MOTO merchant account is similar to a conventional internet merchant account (IMA) in that they both offer ‘cardholder not present’ (CNP) processing solutions. MOTO accounts were originally created to address the credit card processing needs of mail order companies who receive all of their sales by mail or telephone.

  • MOTO accounts process payment details provided by mail order or telephone.
  • MOTO accounts are higher risk because the cardholder is not present.
  • MOTO accounts are ideal for businesses or customers that prefer personal contact.

A MOTO account is accessed through a secure webpage and is therefore operational from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  Known as a virtual terminal, it allows you to process credit and debit card payments easily and securely the over phone or from orders received by fax. You can even carry out sales and process credit card information while on holidays or during a business trip.

MOTO accounts are appealing for remote companies that want to increase their sales without having an internet-focused business.  And for those that do, MOTO accounts are often provided free as part of an IMA solution. The main advantages of having a MOTO merchant account are security and mobility, having a MOTO account is also known as having a virtual terminal.

Even when running a full-blown eCommerce website, having a virtual terminal is very useful, for example, helping you to keep servicing customers if they encounter a problem with your online order form you can simply ask for their billing information and enter that order manually in your terminal and save the sale.

Many customers do not trust small stores, with unprofessional-looking websites and a fear that their credit card data may be stolen prevents them from placing an order.

There are still plenty of customers out there who feel safer giving their details over the phone to a real person. In addition, customers may call you before making a purchase on your website to ask questions about your product or service and in addition to helping with their enquiry, you can present them with an option to process their credit card instantly over the phone to help close the sale.

Thus having a MOTO merchant account and processing card payments via a virtual terminal is great for eCommerce merchants too.

As with IMAs, the risk from fraud is higher due to the CNP-nature of the transactions. But both address verification and CVV2 (number on your card signature strip) have gone a long way to stopping this and preventative measures continue to develop.

If you already have an IMA, then you should be able to get a virtual terminal without too much extra paperwork. Some payment bureaus and payment service providers offer this service as a free benefit of their merchant account.

But if you are starting from scratch, then getting a MOTO account will involve much the same criteria as an IMA. Retailers themselves are sometimes looked upon as potential fraudsters as some obtain MOTO accounts to process bogus card transactions themselves.

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