If you operate a brick-and-mortar store, accepting credit card payments is easy. All you need is a merchant account and POS terminal. If you run an e-commerce store, you’ll need a payment gateway.
But what if your business doesn’t fit 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 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 hand-key or swipe transactions 24/7 from any device with an Internet connection.
The following outlines how a typical transaction goes through:
- A customer provides you with his or her credit card or ACH details — usually via email or phone.
- In a browser window, you log into your secure virtual terminal.
- You then key in the customer’s payment information.
- Click “process” to send the transaction for approval
- All relevant parties receive instant notifications of the successful trans
Sounds simple enough, but why would any business choose a virtual terminal over a physical terminal or POS 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 a clunky POS reader or expensive software. Plus, there’s almost no maintenance required.
As long as you have access to a 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.
- Unlike their e-commerce counterparts, virtual terminals allow you to “swipe” a user’s credit card in person.
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 anyone can use a virtual terminal to process sales. However, the technology appeals most to:
- Freelancers and other home-based businesses.
- Companies that accept orders via mail, email or phone.
- Nonprofits that host fundraising campaigns.
- Sales teams that attend off-site events.
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 payment. As such, your organization’s 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.
To learn more about BluePay’s PCI-compliant virtual terminal solutions, contact our merchant services team today.