Keyed Entry Merchant Accounts

A “keyed” account, more properly referred to as a Keyed Entry Merchant Account, is one in which businesses process customer payment cards by manually keying the information into a credit card terminal/machine, an Internet-connected computer or an online (“virtual”) system. The term “MOTO” (Mail Order/Telephone Order) is also used to describe a keyed account.

If your business does not deal with customers in person, you can process payments with somewhat different equipment than in-person (or “card present”) merchants. You can use the most basic credit card terminal, without a “stripe reader,” since you will not be swiping any cards. However, the same PC-based system in use at a downtown drug store would work for you, too, minus the cash drawer and card readers, of course.

Different Rates Apply

The merchant fees associated with keyed/MOTO accounts are usually somewhat higher, given the additional risk in “card not present” transactions. Merchants have welcomed many of the advances of the last few years, such as the use of the three-digit Credit Card Verification (CCV) code, as ways to reduce the cost of processing these “not present” transactions.

Mail order companies, take-out restaurants, Internet retailers and telemarketing firms are just a few of the businesses that need to take orders over the phone, by mail or via the World Wide Web. Other factors about their firms will affect their overall merchant fees, too, for better or worse, but “card not present” transactions will likely remain a costlier category due to greater risk.

Multiple Merchant Methods

Using a specialized credit card terminal is the easiest, and possibly the most secure, way to process credit card transactions. Credit card terminals from such manufacturers as Lipman and Verifone are affordable, simple to operate and pretty much foolproof. For MOTO use, not only do you not need a stripe reader, you don’t need a receipt printer, either. Reader- and printer-less terminals, naturally, are the least expensive ones you can get.

You can also key in credit card transactions quickly and efficiently with software for your PC, whether you run Windows, Linux or Mac OS X. With such processing programs as PC Charge Pro, Monetra, PC Charge Express, CCAuthorize, KashBox, other off-the-shelf solutions or even custom, proprietary software of your own, you can process credit card orders on most any decent “late-model” computer.

Finally, using your own “virtual terminal” you can enter transaction data over a secure Internet connection, via your own custom web page. One major benefit of the “Internet as computer” approach is that you can process payment card transactions from wherever you can get reliable Internet access. The company supplying your payment gateway can put a complete e-commerce solution in place for you, or you could develop alternative sources for the payment portal and work with your processing company to implement a mutually beneficial procedure.

However you decide to approach the keyed/MOTO account, and whoever helps you with payment processing and its various technological components, you have a number of decisions to make. If you are diligent, and read the right material, you will be able to make better ones.