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What is a MOTO Payment?

3 min read

You may come across the term 'MOTO payments' and wonder what on earth that means, but as we hope to explain in this guide, it's nothing to lose sleep over. In fact, MOTO transactions are an excellent way to receive virtual payments if your business doesn't interact with customers face-to-face. And with the spending habits and behaviours of UK consumers changing rapidly in recent years, it's a good time to familiarise yourself with what a MOTO service can offer.

What are MOTO payments?

'MOTO' payments are Mail Order / Telephone Order transactions, and they provide a way of processing virtual payments when the customer is not present. MOTO transactions can be made by the customer over the phone, email or post, and processed by businesses over a virtual terminal. If you're done with acronyms, think of MOTO like a virtual card machine.

How do MOTO payments work?

Once you've chosen a MOTO service provider, there are different ways that you can process your customers' MOTO payments:

  • MOTO virtual terminal - If you're taking an order over the phone, email or even a letter or fax, you can input the customer's information and bank details into your virtual terminal. You'll get confirmation once the payment has been processed in a matter of seconds.
  • MOTO payment gateway - Not to be confused with a MOTO virtual terminal, a payment gateway refers to card payments made through an online checkout on your business website.
  • Card machine MOTO transactions - It's even possible to process MOTO payments using a card machine. Simply enter your customer's bank details and record that the customer isn't present. Once authorised, your card machine will display a 'transaction approved' message.

What are the benefits of taking MOTO payments?

MOTO virtual terminals, gateways and card machines are handy for businesses that don't see their customers face-to-face, such as takeaways, fashion retailers, and any firm that delivers. Here are five reasons to offer a MOTO payment service to your customers:

  1. It's fast - You can get paid almost instantaneously through your MOTO terminal. No long queues for your customers, and no scrambling around to find the right change.
  2. It's secure - MOTO payment systems protect your customers' cardholder data and require bank authorisation through a secure webpage.
  3. It's accessible - MOTO payments help remove barriers to you and your customers, who won't have to travel to make a payment. Ultimately, this can help you expand your customer base and boost sales.
  4. It's simple - Set-up is straightforward, ae) to access your MOTO virtual terminal, payment gateway or card machine.
  5. It's informative - With a quality virtual payment provider, you'll be able to track your sales and download your invoices through a fancy online portal.

MOTO transactions and security

There are precautions you can take to protect the security of you and your customers when taking MOTO payments. Firstly, it's important to remember not to write down your customers' card details when taking a payment, as these should not be stored. Secondly, during a MOTO transaction you should input the customer's address, and the CVC code, so that the Address Verification Service can be performed - this will confirm that the customer's details are legitimate. Again, you should never write these details down.


This has been prepared by Tyl by NatWest for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.

Tyl by NatWest makes no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance (express or implied) with respect to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, or reasonableness of the information provided.

Tyl by NatWest accepts no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of the information contained herein. However, this shall not restrict, exclude, or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.

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