Businesses are as special as the people that start them, and all businesses differently. However, it doesn’t matter if you own a brick-and-mortar or an eCommerce store, one need is common for businesses of all kind: The ability to accept digital payments easily, efficiently, and securely. Businesses deserve the ability to accept all type of digital payments, and virtual terminals will allow you to do just that.
What Is a Virtual Payment Terminal?
Virtual terminals are web-based interfaces that can be easily accessed through your web browser. These terminals allow merchants to accept credit card payments over the phones, mail or email. Virtual terminals are a great alternative for businesses that receive customers in person.
Can Virtual Terminals Process ACH?
The simple answer: Yes! Instead of collecting paper checks in person or via mail, virtual terminals can be used to process payments using the custmer’s bank account and routing information securely.
How Do Virtual Terminals Work?
Virtual terminals work as online dashboards that can be accessed through any web browser. These provide all the tools needed for you to manually enter transactions, generate/send digital invoices, and accept credit cards and ACH payments. You can also review end-of-month reports and reconcile transactions directly from your dashboard.
NOTE: Virtual terminals don’t require downloading any software. Simply connect from a device with internet access and use your login credentials.
Which Businesses Benefit from Having a Virtual Terminal
Most businesses that use virtual payment terminals can be classified as Mail Order and Telephone Order (MOTO) businesses. Examples of these include:
- Professionals who accept phone payments (ex. Lawyers, Accountants, etc.)
- Freelancers who accept phone payments (ex. Designers, Photographers, etc.)
- Service-based businesses (ex. Plumbing companies, Electricians, etc.)
- Retailers with offsite or mobile businesses
- Delivery companies
- Offsite salespeople
- B2B companies
- Logistics and moving companies
- And any other business that accepts over-the-phone payments, online payments, mail order payments, or recurring bill payments
Virtual Terminal Features & Benefits
The benefits of using virtual terminals go beyond accepting online payments. Here are some additional virtual terminal features that merchants can take advantage of.
- Manage Your Business from Anywhere
- Online Reporting
- Simple Setup
- No Extra Hardware
- Record All Payments
- Send Electronic Receipts
- Quickly Collect Payments
- Schedule Recurring Payments
Virtual terminal solutions offer flexibility; merchants can manage their businesses and collect payments from anywhere in the world. Virtual terminals turn any computer, tablet or smartphone into a payment processing device, which means merchants can run their businesses from home, while traveling, or in a brick-and-mortar location.
This allows for flexible hours and payment collection even when the shop is not “open”. Thanks to virtual terminals, customers can complete transactions online without the merchant’s presence.
Virtual terminals can include advanced reporting tools that allows merchants to view and download transaction reports, some of these can even be in real-time.
These reports can be filtered by criteria such as transaction date, transaction status, card type, payment amount, account holder name, and more.
Once the merchant receives the virtual terminal credentials from their payment services provider, all the merchants would need to do is open the URL for their virtual terminal on their web browser, log in, and start processing payments.
Because virtual terminals are a web-based solution, no additional hardware or special equipment is needed for them to function. A merchant’s existing computer, tablet or smartphone is instantly transformed into a POS terminal. Merchants can simply enter information and charge credit cards from any browser.
Virtual terminals can record digital payments such as credit cards, debit cards, and ACH transactions, but also allows the merchant to register cash, paper check, and gift card transactions in their payment portal.
Once a transaction has been successfully completed, the merchant is given the option to email, text, or print a receipt for the customerDigital receipts also allow merchants to ask for customer feedback or include promotions and special offers.
Virtual terminals can greatly speed up the payment process. Merchants can select to set up automatic payments for their customers, avoiding the need to wait for clients to mail their checks or call to provide payment information.
Being able to set up automatic recurring payments for repeat customers is a huge benefit. Virtual terminals can securely store card data and automatically charge customers when a payment is due. This offers customers security and convenience, while ensuring merchants get their payments on time.
- Encryption and Tokenization Technology
- Fraud Management and Security
It is imperative for merchants to protect cardholder data and maintain compliance with PCI guidelines. For this reason, virtual terminals are designed to enable card data encryption during transactions.
Tokenization technology replaces sensitive data personal account numbers (PANs) with randomized IDs, allowing merchants to securely store card information online in the virtual terminal vault. Though this tokenization makes the information indecipherable, the payment processor can use it to complete transactions safely, minimizing PCI liability.
Accepting card-not-present transactions requires proper anti-fraud measures to protect cardholder data.
Virtual terminals provide unique anti-fraud tools that include credit card vaults, address verification services (AVS), and credit card verification value (CVV) or card identification number (CID) confirmation.
Credit card vaults: A PCI-compliant credit card vault stores encrypted credit card details in a secure virtual space within the terminal’s site. If a merchant does a lot of repeat orders and billing, this saves time and offers convenience while ensuring data safety.
Address verification service (AVS): AVS verifies the billing address of the person making the transaction and matches it to the address the cardholder’s bank has on file. Providers will often offer the option to choose to verify full addresses or just zip codes.
Credit card verification value (CVV) or card identification number (CID): The CVV or CID is the numerical code printed on the back of a credit card. American Express credit cards have a 4-digit code on the front of the card, while other credit cards have a 3-digit number on the back of the card. This number can help verify the legitimacy of the cardholder.