How virtual terminals help your business grow
All businesses accept payments. Most will need to accept credit and debit cards. Yet every business operates in its own unique way. For many businesses, in-store credit card terminals and point of sale systems are ideal. For others, online shopping carts make checkout easy. Yet there are countless situations where neither solution is optimal.
Enter virtual terminals. Virtual terminals allow your business to accept credit and debit card payments with just a computer and an internet connection. With a virtual terminal, you never have to turn down a payment.
Virtual terminals can help your business grow by filling gaps left by more common methods of payment acceptance. Let’s take a closer look.
What’s a virtual terminal?
A virtual terminal is a payment application that runs in a standard web browser. The terminal allows you to manually input all the essential credit card information and the amount of a sale before submitting to the payment processor for authorization.
All you need to run a virtual terminal is a computer with internet access and a merchant account with a reputable payment processor. There is no need to purchase additional software or a traditional credit card terminal.
What types of businesses benefit from a virtual terminal?
Standard credit card terminals are a must-have in certain settings, but some businesses are flourishing without the need for them. Many businesses can flourish without a terminal or POS system, especially those that don’t process a high volume of payments, or that don’t have a brick and mortar location.
Virtual terminals are perfect for accepting credit cards over the phone or through mail order. They are ideal for service-oriented businesses such as lawn care or pet grooming. Virtual terminals can offer a huge boost to home-based businesses, for travelers who conduct business on the road, or as a supplement and backup to an existing solution in-store. Virtual terminals can help you manage recurring payments, making it easier than ever to securely handle cards on file.
Are virtual terminals secure?
When it comes to accepting credit cards, security is essential. If you accept credit and debit cards, you need to be in compliance with card industry regulations. Accepting payment via a virtual terminal is no exception. Be sure to look for a service that is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant and that offers secure technologies like encryption and tokenization. Ask your payments provider to demonstrate fully compliant and secure technologies through multiple proof points.
Merchants also have a responsibility for maintaining the safety of customer data. When you accept credit cards via a virtual terminal it’s critical to follow a few best practices to maintain a safe environment for sensitive cardholder data. Maintaining and following best practices will help keep your business in compliance, protect your customers, and ultimately protect the reputation you’ve worked to build for your business.
What are the benefits of a virtual terminal?
Virtual terminals make it it possible to stay connected and process payments anywhere and anytime. Virtual terminals can print or email receipts and generate reports, so you can view daily details and track trends over time. Virtual terminals can also accommodate growth. When sales increase to the point where manual entries become cumbersome, small businesses can purchase a card reader as an add-on to the virtual terminal.
Above all, virtual terminals offer tremendous simplicity and flexibility. Unlike traditional credit card terminals and point of sale systems, there is no hardware to buy or upgrade and no ongoing maintenance.
How do I navigate virtual terminal options?
A virtual terminal is only as solid as the payment processor backing it. Look at your processor options carefully. Are you getting fair rates? Is customer service available 24/7? Ask the same questions that you would ask if you were going to use payment processing with a POS system or terminal. Be sure to ask questions about options for upgrading if you grow out of a virtual terminal credit card processing solution.
Depending on your current business operations, and your goals for the future, adopting this technology could give your business the ideal solution to meet the needs of your business and customers.