A virtual terminal is an online credit card terminal that allows businesses to take over-the-phone orders as well as online transactions through a secure and compliant web-based application.
In lieu of hardware equipment, a virtual terminal will allow your business to process credit cards, debit cards, and even electronic checks. The only thing required is a Payment Gateway ID, a standard web browser, and access to the internet.
Virtual Credit Card Terminals
Virtual credit card terminals feature an online portal to input customer information for MOTO order (Mail Order Telephone Order). Information such as the customer name, account details, as well as the amount & frequency of the transactions, are a part of a basic online terminal form. Submissions of this type couldn’t be easier and approval is nearly instant.
There are many benefits to this transaction type for businesses that don’t require traditional terminal hardware. Not only is a virtual terminal merchant account easy to use and setup, it also is flexible, secure, and perfect for many business and industry types.
If a business is looking to enter into the world of eCommerce, acquiring a virtual terminal will be necessary to accept payment. Common business types that benefit from virtual terminal credit card processing include:
- Delivery/Dispatching Services
- Freelance Work
- Accounting Firms
- SaaS Companies
- Property Management
- Field Service Technicians (plumber, electrician, etc..)
- and many more…
How Virtual Terminals Work
All mail orders, telephone orders, and e-checks payments can be entered with no hassle thanks to the simple virtual credit card terminal. The web-based solution allows for all payment types to be accepted on a one-time (and recurring) basis.
Automated Recurring Billing
By entering the frequency and duration that you want to charge a specific card for on the online form, you have the ability to process recurring transactions. By only adding a couple additional pieces of information, you can automate the manual billing procedure. A streamlined and simple process is the new norm for returning customers.
Backup & Recovery Option
As with any hardware option, malfunctions, errors, and damages are possible. In those situations, when the physical POS terminal cannot be used, having a virtual terminal will allow you to continue doing business. The online credit card terminal is perfect as a temporary or backup solution so that you won’t have to interrupt business as usual in the case of a hardware issue.
By entering customer information directly into the online form, you are protecting yourself and your customers with PCI compliance and data encryption. With built-in safeguards, these online credit card terminals keep information safe if used correctly. Be aware of entering card information on a non-PCI compliant software, because fraudsters target vulnerabilities such as these to steal sensitive information.
Card authentication only scratches the surface of validating card information. If recurring billing is in place and a customer changes their card information, your virtual terminal can detect and update the information to prevent a failed transaction..
Oftentimes, payment processing companies will offer an option to send invoices to clients so that they can fill out their information on an encrypted form instead of you, the merchant, inputting it for them. By offering a link to do-it-themselves, it saves you time and helps the customer feel more secure than offering you their personal information. The virtual terminal credit card processing option can even be branded with your logo and a breakdown of the costs to help your customers feel more comfortable.
Mobile solutions, physical card readers for in-person swipes, receipt printers, and most inventory management softwares and CRM’s can be integrated with your virtual terminal so that you can accommodate more customer preferences.
CRMs including Salesforce, Zoho, and HubSpot can be connected to to help keep track of your customers. While Accounting tools such as Quickbooks, FreshBooks, and Quicken help manage payroll, invoicing, and other financial aspects of your business when attached to your virtual terminal as well.
Basically, any software that helps you run your business that also includes an open API to integrate with is able to connect to your virtual terminal credit card processing solution. Depending on your business, these integration options may add value to your payment processing.
Additionally, to move a business over to an online store requires a method of accepting payment via your website. This is where a virtual shopping cart comes into play. Once you have secured a virtual gateway, you then have the opportunity to integrate with a shopping cart provider to ensure a seamless checkout process.