How virtual terminal credit card processing helps businesses grow

Worldpay Editorial Team

August 05, 2019

All businesses accept payments. Most will need to accept credit and debit cards. Yet every business operates in its own unique way. For many businesses, in-store credit card terminals and point of sale systems are ideal. For others, online and in-app solutions are the way to reach their customers.

Yet there are countless situations where neither solution is optimal. Enter virtual terminals. Virtual terminal credit card processing allows your business to accept credit and debit card payments with just a computer and an internet connection.

With a virtual terminal, you should never have to turn down a payment. Virtual terminal credit card processing can help your business grow by filling gaps left by more common methods of payment acceptance.

What’s a virtual terminal?

A virtual terminal is a web-based payment application that makes it possible to accept credit and debit card payments without a traditional credit card terminal. A virtual terminal allows you to manually input all the essential credit card information and the amount of a sale before submitting the transaction to your payment processor for authorization.

To run a virtual terminal all you need is a computer, web browser, internet access and a merchant account with a reputable payment processor. There’s no need to purchase additional software or a traditional credit card terminal.

How does a virtual terminal work?

The details of using a virtual terminal occur in a few simple steps.

Step 1: Log in to your virtual terminal application.

Step 2: Enter your customers' payment details into the secure payment page.

Step 3: The payment is processed. 

What types of businesses benefit from virtual terminals?

Payment acceptance terminals are a must-have in certain settings, but there are often situations where the card is not available and you need to take payment. Phone orders are one such example. Many businesses can flourish without a terminal or POS system, especially those that don’t process a high volume of payments, or that don’t have a brick and mortar location. Virtual terminals are great for a variety of businesses. 

  1. Perfect for any business accepting credit cards over the phone or through mail order
  2. Ideal for service-oriented businesses such as lawn care or pet grooming
  3. Professional services such as accounting, legal or medical
  4. Home-based businesses and travelers who conduct business on the road

Credit card processing with a virtual terminal can help any business process payments.

Are virtual terminals secure?

Security is essential when it comes to accepting credit cards. If you accept credit and debit cards, you need to be in compliance with card industry regulations. Accepting payment via a virtual terminal is no exception. Be sure to look for a service that is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant and that offers secure technologies like encryption and tokenization. Ask your payments provider to demonstrate fully compliant and secure technologies through multiple proof points.

Merchants also have a responsibility for maintaining the safety of customer data. When you accept credit cards via a virtual terminal it’s critical to follow a few best practices to maintain a safe environment for sensitive cardholder data. Maintaining and following best practices will help keep your business in compliance, protect your customers, and ultimately protect the reputation you’ve worked to build for your business.

How do I navigate virtual terminal options?

A virtual terminal is only as solid as the payment processor backing it. Look at your processor options carefully. Are you getting fair rates? Is customer service available 24/7? Ask the same questions that you would ask if you were going to use payment processing with a POS system or terminal. Be sure to ask questions about options for upgrading if you grow out of a virtual terminal credit card processing solution.

Depending on your current business operations, and your goals for the future, adopting this technology could give your business the ideal solution to meet the needs of your business and customers.

What are the benefits of virtual terminal?

Virtual terminals make it possible to stay connected and process payments anywhere and anytime. Virtual terminal benefits include:

  • Accept credit, debit, and recurring payment transactions
  • Convenient access via popular web browsers
  • Reporting accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection
  • Print or email receipts and generate reports
  • View daily details and track trends over time
  • EMV-compliant credit, debit, cash and check acceptance
  • Multi-user support to separate administrative functions from payment acceptance
  • No additional hardware to buy, maintain or upgrade

To learn more connect with one of our payments experts who can help you determine if Virtual Terminal is right for your business.