A virtual payment terminal can give you a flexible, reliable way to accept and process credit card transactions anytime and anywhere. It works just like a traditional point-of-sale terminal but is actually software based – thus called a “virtual terminal” – and resides on your computer or mobile device. All you need is internet access and you are able to accept credit cards anywhere. No extra hardware is needed for manually entered transactions (note that a plug-in card reader is needed to swipe cards). It works great in addition to your current POS system or by itself for businesses that want to sell remotely or have infrequent credit card sales.
A virtual terminal is a cost-effective way for a business to accept credit card payments and offers many benefits, including:
- The ability to process credit cards anywhere with an internet connection
- Ability to accept both keyed transactions by manually entering the number, or swiped transactions with a plug-in card reader
- No additional equipment cost as the virtual payment is software-based
- Real-time processing so you know if a charge is accepted right away
- You can easily run reports and check on transactions
- The ability to monitor sales by employees
- It can serve as a backup in case your in-store point of sale system isn’t working properly
Additionally, a virtual payment terminal can, and should, include advanced security protections for customer data.
Where to use a virtual terminal?
Orders by mail and phone
A virtual terminal is perfect for merchants who sell over the phone or by mail order (MOTO). It allows merchants to simply enter their customer’s credit card information as they receive it and process sales. MOTO sales are the most common users of virtual terminals.
On your website
Many businesses use a virtual terminal on their websites. It can be a great alternative to a payment gateway, depending on the type of business, transaction volume and other factors.
At a remote location
A virtual terminal makes it possible to accept credit cards anywhere with access to the internet. You can also attach a card reader and swipe cards, and even accept EMV chip cards.
What to look for in a virtual terminal
- Support for multiple users and locations
- Accessibility on all popular browsers
- An easy-to-use interface
- Secure data storage and the option to add more security with data encryption
- The ability to:
- Set up recurring payments
- Generate refunds
- Customize the transaction data captured based on your needs
- Search customer data
- Automatically create end-of-day batch settlement reports
If you already accept credit cards or want to start, a virtual payment terminal can be a great option. It gives you the ability to turn your computer or mobile device into a “virtual terminal” that can process credit card transactions just like a point of sale terminal.
A virtual terminal is perfect for mail and phone orders, on websites and for remote sales. It is also good for businesses that want to accept credit cards but don’t process many card transactions.
Today’s virtual terminals are more advanced than ever, offering the ability to use a card reader, protect card data with advanced security and support for Level 2 and Level 3 payments for B2B and commercial customers, helping to reduce processing costs. Since a virtual payment terminal is just an application, it is quick and easy to set up and doesn’t require up front equipment costs.