Terminal Credit Card Processing Tutorial Instructions

By Carlye Jones

  • Overview

    Processing a credit card for the first time can feel a little intimidating--especially if you are new to the job or have a customer standing over your shoulder watching. It doesn't have to be, though. Refer to Section 1 if the credit card is present, Section 2 if it is not.
    Lotus Head
  • Credit Card Present

    • Step 1

      Swipe the card. Following the illustration on the slot on the side or top of the terminal, turn the credit card in your hand so that the magnetic strip is in the same position that it is in the illustration. With the card in the correct position, line it up in the top of the slot, and then in one smooth, firm motion, slide it through the slot. If you have never done this before, it may take some practice. The card will not be read if it's swiped too slowly or too fast. If the terminal does not read the card, try again one or two more times. If the terminal still doesn't read the card, proceed to the instructions in Section 2 for processing damaged or unreadable cards.


    • Step 2

      Enter the total. Follow the instructions on the terminal display screen. Most will ask you to enter the sale amount right after you successfully swipe the card. A few will ask you to enter other information, such as a customer's driver's license number. Simply follow the on-screen instructions, pressing the "Enter" key after entering any information, such as the total sale amount. When entering the sales amount or any other information, review it on the screen before hitting the "Enter" button. For sales totals, make sure the decimal point is in the correct place. It's easier to take a second to review entries than to cancel or refund a transaction because of a simple mistake.
    • Step 3

      Obtain the customer's signature. After entering the sale amount or any other requested information, the terminal will take a minute or two to process the transaction. When the sale is authorized, two copies of the receipt will print. Have the customer sign one copy of the receipt. Keep the signed copy for the business and give the customer the unsigned copy.
  • Credit Card Is Not Present or Is Not Readable

    • Step 1

      Press the "Sales" key. On most terminals, the "Sales" key is also the "1" key, but look at your specific terminal to find this key. When you press the key, the terminal display screen will either ask you to begin entering sale information or tell you to press "Enter" to start a sale. Press "Enter" if the screen asks you to do so.
    • Step 2

      Enter the sale information. Follow the instructions given on the display screen. Most terminals will ask you to first enter the credit card number, then the card expiration date, card security code and then the sale amount. Some terminals will ask for additional information, such as the cardholder's ZIP code or the numbers in her street address. Simply follow the on-screen instructions, pressing "Enter" each time you've entered the correct information.
    • Step 3

      Process the receipt. After you've entered all the correct information, the terminal will spend a minute or two authorizing the transaction. When it's authorized, two copies of a receipt will print. If the customer is present, have the customer sign one copy and keep the signed copy for the business. Give the customer the unsigned copy. If the customer is not present, write the appropriate reason on the bottom of the receipt. For example, for a phone-in order, write "phone-in" or for an online order, write "online order."
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Tip: Clear previous transactions before starting a new one. If a previous transaction was started and not completed, or if a key was accidentally bumped on the machine, you might accidentally start a different type of transaction than intended. Get in the habit of pressing the "Clear" key every time you start a new transaction.
    • Warning:
    • Double-check all entries, especially sales amounts, before proceeding with the transaction. It's easy to turn a happy customer into a very unhappy one with a single misplaced decimal point.

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