Automated Response Unit (ARU)

An Automated Response Unit – or ARU – allows the manually keyed entry and the subsequent authorization of a credit card transaction over a traditional landline telephone or cell phone service. An Automated Response Unit can also refer to the series of credit card and identity security questions that are “asked” throughout an ARU electronic session. In the course of this credit card authorization method, a merchant typically imprints the customer credit card with an imprinter that uses the security information provided in the transaction in order to create a customer receipt and merchant copy, then, in turn, processes the transaction instantaneously over the telephone.

For any merchant or business, regardless of size and average transaction volume, the acceptance of credit cards can be processed using any touchtone phone, including a cellular telephone with remote signal receivers or a pay telephone or an office telephone that employs the use of traditional hardwire lines, DSL, T1, etc.

Virtually all merchants can furnish credit card transaction information to an ARU by calling a toll-free 800 number provided by most merchant account providers. A merchant whose location is always or even sometimes remote – such as a sidewalk vendor or tradeshow salesperson – can accept any credit card while out in the field, at their office, on the road or anywhere a merchant has access to a touchtone telephone. A merchant may engage in a sales transaction in which a purchaser’s credit card is not physically present, as is what happens with MOTO or Mail Order and Telephone Order sale. In this case, an Automated Response Unit is typically used to transfer information for the sales authorization.

While any size business can use an Automated Response Unit for their commercial credit card transaction, usually smaller merchants employ this method that have fewer transactions per month, in order to save processing fess associated with traditional in-store Point Of Sale terminals as well as online website shopping carts and requisite gateway services. There is no need for a merchant to purchase or even lease a credit card terminal when using an ARU.