In today’s economy, processing transactions can not possibly be limited to face-to-face retail interactions, as customers use various devices to shop and pay for their purchases. As the demand for more convenient payment solutions rises, businesses introduce new ways to accept and process payments to stay competitive. As electronic devices become more and more ingrained with our day-to-day lives, companies look for technology solutions that can provide answers to their business needs. The ability to accept and process payments on a computer via a payment portal is a solution developed to address companies’ offsite/remote payment processing needs, especially those businesses with limited direct interaction with their customers. A virtual terminal, therefore, is a piece of software that turns your computer into a payment terminal, giving you the ability to enter payment information and process payments online.
A payment terminal:
- is software that is hosted online, usually on processor’s servers
- can be accessed from any computer with internet connection
- serves as an alternative to traditional hardware terminals
How can your business benefit from a virtual terminal?
A virtual terminal is a way many merchants process credit cards. With the implementation of this credit card processing solution, the processing of your business’s transactions does not occur in your office. Instead, the transaction process occurs at another location, which allows you and your business to benefit from the security and features available through the other location.
A virtual terminal is a service that you can access through a web browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc.). Depending on business users roles, you can set permissions and control levels. Many virtual terminals window sessions do require users to log in every time in order to process a credit card. But, there also are some solutions that are always-on, allowing you to conveniently keep the application open and run on your designated devices.
Virtual payment gateways can also be used for recurring payments. With many businesses offering services on a subscription model, the ability for them to automatically charge customers’ credit card data on a predetermined basis and schedule is invaluable. Also, with customers information saved and accessed from a data storage to process a transaction you can not only ensure a safer transaction but also eliminate data entry and human errors.
Among other advantages of advanced virtual terminals are transaction history and email invoicing features. These features, although are not offered by all solution providers, can greatly benefit businesses by providing them more visibility into their process and eliminating paperwork.
In summary, with a virtual terminal, you can:
- Take payments in person or over the phone
- Easily control your customers’ credit card numbers without storing the actual numbers inside your network, like in your point of sale system
- Continue using your point of sale system or physical terminal as before, only now your business has an integrated gateway by processing transactions inside an online portal
- Easily manage payments with automatic invoicing
- Bring more visibility into each transaction by accessing your history and real-time reporting
- Increase safety of your transactions
What you need to know to choose the right virtual terminal
- Assess your business needs and determine how your business and your customers can benefit from a virtual payment
- Decide what features are important to you and your business. If you send a lot of paper invoices, maybe it’s time to cut back on them by implementing a solution that can do it digitally!
- Analyze the safety of your options. An application that resides on your server is not the safest solution
- Ask about gateway fees, setup, or upgrade/maintenance fees
- Train your employees on how to use the virtual terminal, and how to integrate it with your point of sale system
When choosing a solution for your credit card processing, it is imperative that you access which solution best fits your business’s needs. Choose a virtual terminal that seamlessly integrates with your point of sale system—based on the benefits previously discussed.