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The Advantages Of Using A Virtual Terminal

If you operate a brick-and-mortar retail store, accepting credit card payments is easy. All you need is a merchant account and POS terminal. If you run an e-commerce website, you’ll need a secure online shopping cart and payment gateway.

But what if your business doesn’t fall into either of these categories? In fact, you might not even run a business at all. Maybe you work with a government agency or nonprofit organization. How do you accept credit card payments then?

Introducing the virtual terminal.

What Is a Virtual Terminal and How Does It Work?

A virtual terminal is an online payment capture tool that allows you to manually key-enter or swipe credit card transactions 24/7 from any device with an internet connection. This would include desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

The following outlines how a typical credit card transaction is processed with a virtual terminal.

  • A customer provides you with his or her credit card info — usually by email or phone.
  • In a browser window, you log into your secure virtual terminal.
  • You then key-enter the customer’s payment information.
  • Click “process or submit” to send the transaction for approval.
  • All relevant parties receive instant notifications of the successful transaction -- usually by email or text message.

So why would any business choose a virtual terminal over a physical terminal or Point-of-Sale system?

The Advantages of a Virtual Terminal

One of the main reasons why virtual terminals are preferred by merchants is their minimalist setup. You don’t need to invest in POS card readers or expensive POS software. Plus, there’s almost no maintenance required.

As long as you have access to a web browser, you can begin processing payments securely and quickly.

Additional benefits include:

  • You control the entire transaction process. None of your customers have direct access to the virtual terminal interface.
  • Unlike their physical POS counterparts, virtual terminals can easily handle recurring payments and securely store customer card holder data for quick and easy access.
  • Unlike their e-commerce counterparts, virtual terminals allow you to “swipe” a user’s credit card in person via USB card reader.

In addition, you’re not limited to PC-based browsers. Provided that your screen is large enough, you can easily use virtual terminals on smartphones and tablets.

What Kinds of Businesses Are Best Suited for Virtual Terminals?

Given the ease and convenience of this payment option, pretty much any business can use a virtual terminal to process sales. However, the technology appeals most to...

  • Freelancers and other home-based businesses.
  • B2B businesses that accept orders via mail, email or by phone.
  • Government agencies that require Level 3 transactions.
  • Nonprofit organizations that host fundraising campaigns.
  • Property management companies who need auto-billing for their tenants.
  • Sales teams that attend off-site events or trade shows.

Virtual terminals are also a great option for startups that want to keep their costs to a minimum.

Getting the Most Out of Your Virtual Terminal

Even though you control the entire transaction, you’re still processing credit and debit cards, along with ACH payments. As such, your payment environment is a potential target for thieves and hackers.

This is why all of our virtual terminal solutions adhere to the latest PCI-compliant data security standards.

For enterprise and B2B merchants looking to reduce risk and PCI compliance costs, we fully support Level 2 and Level 3 processing.

To learn more about our virtual terminal payment solutions, contact us today!

Visit us online at or call us direct at (888) 669.1686