Virtual terminal credit card processing refers to the method of accepting debit and credit card payments via a computer. Suppose you’re a business that accepts payments by mail orders, fax, or phone. You can also accept credit card payments securely through a web-based portal or a virtual terminal powered by a laptop or PC with an internet connection. Aside from being convenient, this payment method is also safe, which is why more and more merchants are trying this payment processor.
In this setup, the business owner is the one who enters the card details of their customer. They use a secure form for the said credit or debit card information to avoid data breach and leaking. Besides entering the card number, the one operating the payment processor can also swipe the card. Because of their security and straightforwardness, virtual terminals are great tools for merchants.
How does it work?
These terminals are mainly internet-based. This suggests that there’s no need to download software to make it work. You can also access the payment terminal from any device that is connected to the internet. To start processing a payment, you need to log in to your account to view reports via its menu or dashboard. Most of the time, these virtual terminals are used in a single location like your home office. However, the good news is you can still access and enjoy its full functionality in multiple locations. For instance, the virtual terminal stationed in your home office can be brought to a tradeshow.
How are virtual terminals different from payment gateways?
While payment gateways serve as a tool to process a card, virtual terminals allow the business to input the payment details of their customer to process the transaction on behalf of them. Virtual terminals are like electronic card payment’s credit card machine. Once you enter all the necessary transaction information into the said payment terminal, the payment processor takes care of the rest.
Aside from this blatant difference, businesses often use a virtual terminal, while payment gateways are accessible to customers. In the latter, customers can input their payment details without help from the merchant. e-Commerce websites often use payment gateways to allow their customers to pay for things they want to check out from their shopping cart. In essence, a user can access and process payments through payment gateways without accessing these virtual terminals. However, they can never use these virtual terminals without using payment gateways.
What types of payments are allowed?
Though payment types vary depending on the processor, most virtual terminals still accept all major debit and credit cards like American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. Besides this, this payment channel still accepts other payment forms like electronic checks and PayPal. Other payment gateways also support the processing of payments of recurring bills. Finally, these virtual terminals can also process returns and refunds.
What business types can benefit the most from virtual terminals?
Many businesses could significantly benefit from the card processing features of virtual terminals. The most common types of companies that could take advantage of this are those that accept debit and credit card payments for services and goods bought via fax, mail, or phone. This includes catalog-based companies, small businesses that sell outside their website, and telemarketing businesses.
Besides that, businesses accepting on-the-go payments but opt to use a laptop or PC instead of a mobile device can also benefit from virtual terminals. Examples of these companies are businesses on tradeshows, craft sellers, flea market sellers, and artists. Flight schools, doctor’s offices, and other companies that use credit cards in classroom or office settings could also take advantage of the benefits offered by this payment channel.
A virtual terminal typically offers the ability to make and track reports for various factors relevant to your card transactions. Different reporting abilities may vary depending on the virtual terminal or processor. Still, it could include such options as sales report according to card type and date, refund reports, and individual transaction summary.
How secure are these virtual terminals?
As you already know, virtual terminals rely on payment gateways when payments are processed through them. This means that the said processor can also benefit from the security associated with these payment gateways. To emphasize how secure the system is, think of card verification value (CVV), tokenization, address verification, and encryption. These scramble sensitive card information to ensure that the card won’t be used without decoding the same.
How much does it cost to set up a virtual terminal?
The price of a virtual terminal will vary greatly. It will depend on the pricing model you will subscribe to and the processor you’ll use. These terminals could be charged monthly while also incurring other charges such as percentage markups, per-transaction fees, and additional transaction-related costs. Some companies offer free virtual terminals, but you need to pay for the payment gateway that comes along with the package. Clarify the payment options, understand them, and decide accordingly. This would save you from paying for something you don’t need.
Remember that you might be charged higher by your processor once you enter payment details in a virtual terminal for a card-not-present transaction. Talk this out with your processor and clarify how your business will be receiving payments.
How can you sign up for a virtual terminal?
Overall, virtual terminal credit card processing is an option through all processors. If you already have a credit card processing tool, but you still need to set up a virtual terminal, get in touch with your credit or debit card processor and ask if they also support a virtual terminal. If yes, they can set this up for you and advise on the additional cost of the service. However, if you still don’t have any credit and debit card processor, the first thing you need to get is a credit and debit card processor. Since most credit and debit card processors also support virtual terminals, you won’t have difficulty setting it up.