Using Credit Card Terminals Over Phone Lines

For many years, the most common way to process credit card transactions was through a phone line. Even though the industry was slow to adopt high-speed internet connectivity, it is now the standard. However, some businesses still haven’t elected to upgrade to the speed and reliability that IP based connections provide.

In the last few years many phone providers have switched from analog signals to digital. It’s been wreaking havoc with credit card terminals and other peripheral devices.

These devices were built to connect with analog phone lines with a dial-up modem, similar to a fax machines. Analog terminal modems run on frequencies much slower than its digital counterpart. The noise and echoes on a digital line makes the connection unreliable, resulting in rejected sales, duplicate transactions, and multiple authorizations.

Solutions to keeping your credit card terminal free of interruption include:

  • Installing a separate analog line strictly for the credit card terminal
  • Upgrading to a web-based/virtual terminal
  • Upgrading to an IP/Ethernet terminal
  • Installing a DSL filter
  • Affixing a phone line splitter to the wall jack of your fax machine

Businesses that do upgrade equipment to process over IP, must be aware there are additional security and PCI requirements, that could include minimal network scan fees.

Always consult with your relationship manager to determine what method is best for your business.