Virtual Terminal for Processing Credit Cards: A Complete Guide
With over 15.4 billion credit cards in circulation and growing, merchants increasingly seek ways to process payments with minimal hassle securely.
What if you can process credit cards from anywhere with just a laptop or smartphone?
Virtual Terminals are cloud-based processors that allow you to easily accept payments from a laptop or smartphone.
While many solutions offer virtual terminal processing, understanding how it works is essential to make an informed decision about which option best suits your needs.
This guide will cover almost everything you need to know about setting up a virtual terminal for credit card processing and provide you with the resources to get started.
From setting up customers and tracking transactions to preventing fraud and understanding fees, we’ll explore all the information you need to confidently set up a safe and secure virtual terminal that helps drive profits.
Here’s a quick overview:
Table of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- What is a Virtual Terminal?
- How Does a Virtual Terminal Work?
- What Types of Businesses Can Benefit from a Virtual Terminal Merchant Account?
- Pros of Virtual Terminal Credit Card Processing
- How Does a Virtual Terminal Cost, and What Is the Fee Structure?
- Do virtual terminals require additional hardware?
- Are Virtual Terminals Secure?
- Is A Virtual Terminal Provider Right for Your Business?
- GETTRX: Processing Payments Made Easy!
- The Bottom Line
- A virtual terminal is a web-based tool enabling businesses to accept payments remotely without requiring physical payment terminal hardware.
- Virtual terminals can process credit and debit card payments, ACH transfers, and other payment methods.
- To use a virtual terminal, businesses need a merchant account with a payment processor that supports virtual terminal payment processing.
- Virtual terminals can benefit various businesses, including freelancers, restaurants, professional services, and retailers.
- Virtual terminals offer advantages such as convenience, flexibility, and robust security features.
- Consider business type, payment processing needs, budget, security, and customer support when evaluating virtual terminal providers.
- Virtual terminal payment processing is secure, with encryption, tokenization, PCI compliance, fraud detection, and user access controls in place to protect payment information.
- By carefully evaluating business needs and selecting a reputable virtual terminal provider, businesses can leverage the benefits of virtual terminal payment processing and drive growth in today’s competitive business landscape.
What is a Virtual Terminal?
A virtual terminal is a web-based payment processing solution that allows businesses to accept customer payments without needing physical card terminals or point-of-sale (POS) systems.
It is a virtual version of a traditional card terminal, enabling businesses to accept payments online or over the phone.
At its core, a virtual terminal functions as a web-based interface that allows businesses to manually enter payment information, such as credit card details, directly into a secure online portal.
The terminal then securely processes the payment in real-time, verifying the information and completing the transaction. It acts as a digital cash register, making it a convenient and flexible payment solution for businesses of all sizes.
They also offer a simple and efficient way for businesses to accept payments from customers who may need to be physically present, opening up new sales and revenue generation opportunities.
How Does a Virtual Terminal Work?
Virtual terminals have become increasingly popular as a convenient and flexible payment processing solution for businesses.
But how exactly do virtual terminals work? Let’s take a closer look at the process:
Step 1: Accessing the Virtual Terminal
To use a virtual terminal, businesses typically need to sign up with a payment processor or a merchant service provider that offers virtual terminal services. Once registered, companies are provided with a unique login and password to access the virtual terminal portal online.
Step 2: Entering Payment Information
Once logged in, businesses can manually enter payment information into the virtual terminal. This can include credit card details, debit card information, or electronic check information, depending on the accepted payment methods. The business inputs the customer’s payment details into the virtual terminal interface, including card number, expiration date, CVV code, and billing address.
Step 3: Processing the Payment
After entering the payment information, the virtual terminal securely processes the payment in real-time. The payment information is encrypted to protect it from unauthorized access. The virtual terminal then communicates with the payment processor to verify the payment details, perform fraud checks, and confirm the availability of funds.
Step 4: Completing the Transaction
The virtual terminal generates a transaction receipt that can be sent to the customer for their records. Once the payment is verified, the virtual terminal completes the transaction. The funds are transferred from the customer’s account to the business’s account, typically within a few business days, depending on the payment processor’s settlement timeline.
Step 5: Managing Transactions
Virtual terminals also allow businesses to manage transactions through the online portal. This can include tracking and reviewing transaction history, issuing refunds, generating reports, and managing customer data.
What Types of Businesses Can Benefit from a Virtual Terminal Merchant Account?
Virtual terminal merchant accounts benefit various businesses, including freelancers, restaurants, professional services, and retailers.
They offer convenient, flexible, and secure payment processing solutions, allowing these businesses to accept payments from customers remotely and efficiently manage their transactions.
Let’s dive into more details on how each of these businesses can benefit from a virtual terminal merchant account:
- Embrace Payment Convenience: Say goodbye to the hassle of physical card terminals. Freelancers can effortlessly accept payments from clients over the phone or through email, thanks to the seamless payment processing of a virtual terminal merchant account.
- Professional Image: Virtual terminals offer customization options, allowing freelancers to create branded payment options and receipts. This elevates their professional image and adds a touch of personalization to the payment experience for clients.
- Streamlined Transaction Management: Freelancers can efficiently manage their transactions with transaction history and reporting features provided by virtual terminal portals. This simplifies payment tracking and aids in seamless transaction management.
- Embrace Remote Ordering: Virtual terminals provide an ideal solution for restaurants offering take-out or delivery services. Restaurants can easily accept phone orders and process payments remotely, expanding their sales opportunities and catering to customer convenience.
- Payment Diversity: Virtual terminals allow restaurants to accept payments using credit cards and electronic checks. This flexibility empowers customers to choose their preferred payment method, enhancing customer satisfaction.
- Enhanced Security: Virtual terminals offer advanced security features like encryption and tokenization, ensuring the protection of customer payment information. This builds customer trust and safeguards against data breaches.
- Transaction Monitoring: Virtual terminal portals provide transaction history and reporting features, helping restaurants efficiently manage their transactions and reconcile payments for seamless accounting.
- Secure Payment Processing: Virtual terminals offer a secure and efficient way for professional service providers, such as lawyers, accountants, and healthcare practitioners, to accept payments for their services. Clients can easily make payments over the phone or through email, while providers can securely process those payments.
- Brand Customization: Virtual terminals provide customization options, allowing professional service providers to create branded payment options and receipts. This adds a professional touch and enhances the overall client experience.
- Transaction Tracking and Reporting: Virtual terminal portals offer transaction tracking and reporting features, aiding professional service providers in managing and tracking client payments for efficient accounting and reconciliation.
- Remote Payment Acceptance: Virtual terminals provide online and brick-and-mortar retailers the flexibility to accept payments remotely. This is particularly beneficial for mail-order/telephone-order (MOTO) businesses, where customers can place orders over the phone and make payments using a virtual terminal.
- Payment Diversity: Virtual terminals allow retailers to accept payments from various methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and electronic checks. This flexibility caters to diverse customer preferences and enhances the convenience of payments.
- Robust Security: Virtual terminals offer advanced security features like encryption and tokenization, ensuring the protection of customer payment information. This helps retailers build trust and maintain data security.
- Transaction Management Features: It provides transaction management features, such as transaction history and reporting, enabling retailers to efficiently manage their payments and reconcile transactions for seamless financial management.
Pros of Virtual Terminal Credit Card Processing
- Payment Convenience: Virtual terminals allow businesses to accept credit card payments remotely, providing convenience to customers who can make payments over the phone or through email.
- Customization Options: Virtual terminals offer customization options, allowing businesses to create branded payment options and receipts, which can enhance their professional image and provide a personalized payment experience for customers.
- Enhanced Security: Virtual terminals come with advanced security features such as encryption and tokenization, ensuring the protection of customer payment information, reducing the risk of data breaches and enhancing customer trust.
- Transaction Management Features: Virtual terminal portals provide transaction tracking and reporting features, aiding businesses in managing and tracking payments and simplifying accounting and reconciliation.
Cons of Virtual Terminal Credit Card Processing:
- Additional Fees: Virtual terminals may come with additional fees, such as setup fees, transaction fees, and monthly fees, which can impact a business’s overall cost of accepting credit card payments.
- Internet Connectivity: Virtual terminals require a stable internet connection for processing payments, which may pose a challenge in areas with unreliable internet connectivity or during technical outages.
- Card-Not-Present Transactions: They are designed for card-not-present transactions, which may pose a higher risk of fraud than in-person card-present transactions, requiring businesses to implement additional security measures.
- Chargebacks: Virtual terminals may be susceptible to chargebacks, which occur when customers dispute a transaction, and businesses may need to provide evidence to defend against chargebacks. This can be time-consuming and may result in additional fees.
- Learning Curve: Businesses may need to familiarize themselves with the virtual terminal software and processes, which may require some learning curve and training for staff members who handle payments.
Mind you; it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons based on your unique needs and your business circumstances before making any decision.
How Does a Virtual Terminal Cost, and What Is the Fee Structure?
As businesses embrace the convenience and flexibility of virtual terminal credit card processing, it’s crucial to understand the cost and fee structure associated with this service.
While fees may vary depending on the provider and the specific features offered, here’s a breakdown of how virtual terminal costs and fee structure typically work:
Just like setting up any other service, some virtual terminal providers may charge a one-time setup fee for creating and activating your virtual terminal account. Depending on the provider, this fee can range from a nominal amount to a higher one.
Transaction fees are charged per transaction and can vary depending on the transaction volume. They may be a flat fee per transaction or a percentage of the transaction amount.
Some virtual terminal providers may charge a monthly or subscription fee for access to their platform, features, and support. This fee can vary depending on the provider and the features offered. However, some providers may offer plans with no monthly or subscription payments, which could be a cost-saving option.
Payment Gateway Fee
Payment gateways are the technology that facilitates the secure transfer of payment information between the virtual terminal and the payment processor. Some virtual terminal providers may charge separate fees for payment gateway services, while others may include it in their overall fee structure.
Virtual terminal providers may offer additional features or services, such as fraud detection tools, recurring billing, or customized reporting, which may come with an additional cost. Understand the expense of other features or services and assess their value to your business.
Chargebacks can occur when customers dispute a transaction, and virtual terminal providers may charge a fee for processing chargebacks. Be aware of the chargeback fee structure and the steps to handle chargebacks effectively.
Some virtual terminal providers may offer customized pricing based on a business’s unique needs and volume of transactions. Inquire with the provider about any customized pricing options that may be available.
Do virtual terminals require additional hardware?
Virtual terminals typically do not require additional hardware beyond a computer or mobile device with internet access.
However, depending on the virtual terminal provider’s specific requirements and the business’s needs, there may be optional hardware accessories or peripherals that can be used to enhance the virtual terminal experience.
These may include:
- Card Swipers: Some virtual terminal providers may offer card swipers or readers connected to a computer or mobile device to enable businesses to swipe or dip physical credit cards for faster and more efficient payment processing.
- Receipt Printers: Businesses may use receipt printers to generate printed receipts for customers, which can help provide physical records of transactions or businesses that require printed receipts for regulatory or operational purposes.
- Barcode Scanners: If a business sells products with barcodes, a barcode scanner may be used to scan product barcodes for quick and accurate product identification and pricing during the virtual terminal checkout process.
Note: These hardware accessories are optional and not required for basic virtual terminal credit card processing.
Are Virtual Terminals Secure?
Security is a critical aspect of virtual terminal payments, and virtual terminals are designed with robust security measures to protect sensitive customer payment information.
Let’s take a look at the security features of virtual terminal payments:
- Encryption: Virtual terminal transactions are encrypted to prevent unauthorized access.
- Tokenization: Payment information is replaced with unique tokens to reduce the risk of storing sensitive data.
- PCI Compliance: Virtual terminal providers comply with PCI DSS, a set of security standards for protecting cardholder data.
- Fraud Detection and Prevention: Advanced measures are employed to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions.
- User Access Controls: User roles and permissions manage and restrict access to the virtual terminal portal.
While virtual terminal payments are designed to be secure, businesses should also implement their security measures, such as using strong passwords, keeping software up-to-date, and training staff on security best practices to enhance the security of virtual terminal transactions further.
Is A Virtual Terminal Provider Right for Your Business?
Here’s the thing: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the question. Each business has unique requirements, and the right solution for one company might not be the best option for another.
Whether a virtual terminal provider is right for your business depends on several factors:
Virtual terminal providers are ideal for businesses that accept card-not-present transactions, such as phone or mail orders, and may not have a physical storefront. A virtual terminal provider may be a good fit if your business primarily operates online, over the phone, or through mail orders.
Payment Processing Needs
Consider your payment processing needs when evaluating virtual terminal providers. Do you require features such as recurring billing or invoicing? Do you need to process payments in multiple currencies? Ensure the virtual terminal provider offers the features and capabilities to process payments efficiently.
Virtual terminal providers typically charge transaction fees and may require additional payments for specific features or services. Consider the cost of virtual terminal processing and ensure it fits within your budget.
As discussed earlier, virtual terminal providers prioritize security but choose a provider that complies with industry standards and offers robust security features to protect your business and customers’ payment information.
Check out the level of customer support offered by the virtual terminal provider. Do they offer 24/7 support? Is help available through multiple channels, such as phone, email, or live chat?
Related Post: 18 terms to know before choosing a PayFac
GETTRX: Processing Payments Made Easy!
Stop relying on third-party services and start taking charge of your business.
At GETTRX, we understand the need for businesses to accept payments quickly and securely. That’s why we’ve created our Virtual Terminal — a secure, fast, and user-friendly way of processing credit cards from anywhere. Whether you’re an online business or built on customer service,
We also offer greater convenience to your customers as transactions can be done in just seconds. Not only that but it’s backed by the same level of encryption that banks trust — so your data remains safe at all times.
The best part? GETTRX is easy to use — no external hardware is required! Get started today and keep your business running smoothly with a fast and secure payment solution.
Sign up now and see how easy it is to process payments!
The Bottom Line
As a business owner, you want to secure your customers’ payment information. Virtual terminal providers are designed to provide robust security features and help businesses comply with industry standards when processing payments.
Evaluate virtual terminal providers based on your needs, such as budget and payment processing requirements.
Choose a provider that prioritizes security and offers the features and capabilities to process payments safely and securely.