What is a Virtual Terminal?

Online Payment Gateways, Virtual Terminal


      There are many complicated terminologies and technologies in the world of merchant services – confusing much?  One such term many merchants are often confused about is the virtual terminal.

      Does your business regularly interact with customers over the phone or via the web? Then a virtual terminal perfectly suits you! Virtual terminals, also known as online payment gateways, are virtual alternatives to physical credit card terminals.

      But how does this service work? Is it a good fit for your business? To answer all the common questions we’ve heard from merchants over the years, we’ve created this comprehensive article. Ready to dig in deep? Let’s go!

      What is a Virtual Terminal?

      A gateway is a payment tool. It’s hosted online and accessible from any internet-enabled device. Using the gateway merchants access the payment form, key in consumer’s payment information, and submit it for processing.

      Businesses can use this solution to process debit and credit cards, as well as ACH or electronic checks. The primary purpose is accepting payments in cases where physical cards are not available to swipe. They are CNP, or Card-Not-Present, payment transactions. Point of sale systems and payment gateways operate similarly. The main difference is receiving payment data digitally versus being physically present at a brick and mortar location.

      Virtual Terminal Characteristics

      • Fully customized for your business needs
      • Accepts card and ACH payment in different currencies
      • Multiple permission levels for users
      • PCI-DSS Compliant
      • Provide encryption of financial data
      • Stores recurring payments information in a secure online vault
      • Relays instantaneous approvals or declines
      • Real-time reporting of payments

      How Do Virtual Terminals Work?

      Obtaining a virtual terminal is simple. One should have a merchant account, as well as a payment processor. A merchant will then enter payment information into the online payment gateway. Remember, with incorrect credit card information, payments decline. Virtual terminals may also ask for currency type, customer name, email address, or phone number – among other things.

      After entering all payment information, the merchant submits the transaction for processing. The virtual terminal then sends this information to the payment network through an encrypted connection. An approval or decline response is received swiftly, verifying the payment method.

      Virtual Terminals Advantages

      Almost any merchant, high-risk businesses included, can benefit from virtual terminal payment processing. Even high-risk businesses process payments via this secure and encrypted method. The advantages are numerous! Main highlights include:

      1. Simple Payments – Virtual terminals are straightforward and secure. Onboarding, more often than not, is done in no time! Employees find the process easy. Key in payment card information, hit submit, and that’s it!
      2. Convenient– As long as you have an internet connection, your business has a way to accept a payment. No more hassle with failing equipment to swipe a card for approval.
      3. Single System for Multiple Locations – Does your business operate in more than one location? With an online payment gateway, all electronic payments can funnel through one account, making your bookkeeping and reporting a breeze.
      4. Improved Customer Experience – With payment processing via a virtual terminal, the way your customers can pay you increases – without them necessarily knowing it! They can pay you over the phone or via the internet. Both methods transmit through the same terminal, and most importantly, both are a secure and compliant form of payment acceptance.

      Don’t miss out on getting paid – consider adding a virtual terminal to your payment arsenal. Ready to see an innovative and first-rate terminal in action? Reach out to Payment Savvy to set up a no-obligation demo. For over a decade, we have provided custom payment solutions to thousands of businesses – let us build the perfect payment for yours.

      Tracy Sullivan

      Tracy Sullivan

      As our resident “numbers guy”, Tracy is responsible for Payment Savvy’s financial planning, analysis and projections. With 20 years of accounting experience under his belt with various CPA and high technology firms, we look to him to ensure our fiscal future stays in the black. He is a highly regarded member of our team and we appreciate his hands-on approach and diligent attention to detail.  With Tracy we are able to apply innovative, practical and outcome driven financial strategies to take Payment Savvy to the next level.