A virtual payment terminal allows businesses to take credit card payments through a computer or mobile device without a point-of-sale (POS) system. It is especially useful for businesses that conduct a lot of mail and phone orders or offsite sales events where the buyer can’t present their card. It also simplifies card-not-present (CNP) transactions like those for online shopping or gym memberships.
To process a transaction using a virtual terminal, businesses log into the online interface and either send a digital invoice link to their customers or manually enter the transaction details. Customers can then pay through the secure invoice link or provide their card information directly to the merchant, who then processes the payment. A receipt is then emailed to the customer.
Some virtual terminals allow you to set up recurring billing, which can improve cash flow and help with client retention for your business. This is particularly useful for professional services providers, like doctors or accountants that see clients in their offices but may take payments over the phone for medical expenses, tax preparation, legal fees, etc.
Most virtual terminals work on a similar basis, with the provider charging a percentage processing fee and a per-typed-in transaction fee. Some also have monthly fees in addition to their rates. When comparing virtual terminals, be sure to consider all the factors that matter for your business—including the fees they charge and the services they offer. This includes checking if they have a low minimum monthly volume and whether or not they support mPOS hardware and card readers. virtual payment terminal