The Importance of Virtual Terminals for Businesses

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If your business needs to take payments over the phone using a card to process transactions, then a virtual terminal is what you need to complete payments. A virtual terminal is a dashboard for merchants or businesses, allowing them to accept online payments using a payment card like a credit card without requiring the physical presence of the card in making transactions. They are called virtual terminals which are done online and in contrast to the physical type of payment terminals that requires the payment card to process card payments. These terminals are great one-stop payment solutions for businesses since these are being built not only to remotely accept card payments but for recurring billing and online invoicing as well.

Businesses That Can Use Virtual Terminals

Any business is allowed and can use virtual terminals. Depending on the virtual system of your choice, this can range from name, address, phone number, currency, and invoice number. Square’s type of virtual terminal requires order amount, credit or debit card number, expiration date, CVV or the last 3 numbers at the back of the card, and billing zip code. Another common example is CardPointe.

A virtual terminal is easy and quick to use but still it requires more time for you to complete a payment than using Square Reader wherein customers can just swipe, tap, dip, and go. This type of payment method works well with Chromebook and Mac devices. So those businesses that take orders on the phone like a catering business or those professional services that take payments to confirm bookings, can best benefit from a virtual terminal.

Use of Virtual Terminals

If a customer wants to pay for something he ordered online using his card over the phone, a virtual terminal allows the person to accept payment like the agent will ask for his card details to process his payment. The data using the payment system will then automatically send all those needed card information to the payment processor to handle the payment.

While the physical card is not being presented to the merchant, the customer who is authorizing the payment must still be in the possession of his card. To verify online or phone transactions like these, a virtual terminal will usually ask for and required card security code to be entered wherein customers need to supply. Some processors offer merchants the use of card vaults so that their card information will be secured. This process is also called a non-present transaction which normally includes entering card details of customers into the virtual terminal to handle the transaction.

Benefits of Using Virtual Payment Terminals

These virtual terminals offer a reliable, secure, flexible, and cost-effective way of accepting online payments. Some of its benefits include: you can process cards payments anywhere as long as you have an internet connection; real-time processing; no additional equipment cost; accept keyed transactions by entering the number manually, or swiped transactions by using a plug-in reader; there’s a backup when your in-store POS system is not working properly. Some models offer additional features or functionality like employee sales monitoring, comprehensive transaction reporting, and card data security per PCI compliance that mandates with support of L2 and 3 payments.

Who Can Benefit From These Terminals?

Any type of business could benefit from virtual terminals especially for freelancers who are doing their jobs and services online, for restaurants that take orders over the phone for curbside pickup or delivery, professional services like accountants, doctors, or lawyers that offer services online and can take payments online or over the phone, and for retailers like small brick and mortar shops that do not need a full POS system or credit card, reader.

How Does a Virtual Terminal Work?

To begin with, using a virtual terminal is not that hard. Depending on the account provider of your merchant, you will do the following:

1. You will log in to an online dashboard or a payment gateway and you need to open up the virtual terminal.

2. Select the particular payment type whether it is an e-Check/ACH or a debit/credit transaction.

3. Enter the total sales amount made by your customer and some other order notes.

4. Customers need to hand-key bank account details into the online system or the card number along with any billing information as needed. If you have a USB card reader, you can dip or swipe the card at this time.

5. Click a button online to submit the transaction.

6. Receive confirmation if the card payment transaction was approved or been declined. If approved, most of the virtual terminals have the option to send an email which is a copy of the transaction receipt to the customer.

Why Do You Need one?

Whether or not your business is using a virtual terminal as your primary card acceptance method, it is always the best idea to supplement another option for clients to settle their payment which is accessible and comfortable for them. You will never know how business and technology might shift or the economy will change and you might need to pivot rapidly in accepting CNP payments via mail or over the phone.

POS System

Point-of-Sale System that includes virtual terminal functionality gives you the flexibility in accepting payments that are away from your physical POS. Like a Clover POS, it gives you access to the functionality of your virtual terminal right in the Clover Web Dashboard from a smartphone, tablet, or using PC. You can process payments and all refunds anytime and anywhere you are. Virtual terminals that are PCI-compliant can securely store repeat information of customers for safer and faster transactions. You can also leverage collected contact details to engage your customers through direct and email marketing.

Payment Gateway With a Virtual Terminal

The most common use of a payment gateway is to accept payments for products like goods and services online. However, in the current payments landscape, technology like payment gateway has expanded worldwide especially in the digital world to create and make a seamless buying experience across all kinds of sales channels and devices. Added to eCommerce transactions is a gateway that can also be of great use in integrating payments with your CRM software or accounting or in processing transactions using a mobile device, virtual terminal, or point-of-sale system.

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