How to Give a Credit Card Number Over the Phone

There are three sets of important numbers on your credit card.

Credit cards and phones are a natural match for paying bills quickly or making purchases without having to travel to a store or go online. You need to know how to give your credit card number over the phone to make sure that the transaction is completed swiftly and accurately. There are three sets of numbers on your card that you will need to complete a transaction, plus three other pieces of information you may need to provide.

Step 1

Tell the sales person, if asked, what type of credit card you will be using to make your purchase or payment (for example, Visa, MasterCard, American Express). You may not be asked this question as the business can also detect what card type you are using from your actual credit card number (each credit card company has identifying numbers built into its card number sequences) if they are using certain types of automated bill processing systems.

Step 2

Give the business your name exactly as it is printed on the front of your card. If your middle initial is listed on your card, make sure you state that.

Step 3

Read the credit card number off the front of the card when asked for it. This is the number registered to your account. It typically consists of four to five sets of numbers and is imprinted on the front of your card (where your name and the credit card company logo or main design image are).

Step 4

Say the expiration date of your credit card when asked for it. The expiration date is located on the front of the card and consists of the months and year that the card expires written in numeric form (for example, January 2099 will be written as 01/99 or 01/2099). Read the date as numbers, not as the date. In other words, don't say "January, Twenty Ninety Nine"; say "zero-one, two-zero-nine-nine." This will ensure that there is no misunderstanding in communicating the expiration date.

Step 5

Turn the card over so you are looking at the back where you have signed the card. Locate the card verification number (also called the Security Number). This will be a three digit number printed in the upper right corner of the signature box. Some cards have two sets of numbers printed in this area. The card verification number is only the last three numbers; read these over the phone when prompted.

Tip

Make sure you ask for the toll free number to contact the company should you not receive your order or receipt of payment from them in a timely fashion before you give out your credit card number. Many businesses will pass you to an automated bill paying system as soon as you give them your number and you won't have another chance to speak with a live person unless you call back.

Warning

Never give your credit card information out to a sales person who initiated a call. A common fraud scheme involves criminals calling random numbers and pretending to represent a legitimate company. A reputable salesperson will always provide you with a main number and extension to call them back on to place your order.

references & resources