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Uses & Benefits of Virtual Terminals with an Online Merchant Account

With the explosion of e-commerce in the past decade, the demand by businesses for an online merchant account and payment gateway with a virtual terminal has sharply increased. Merchants with Internet-based stores rely on their payment gateway and online shopping cart for an easy and secure checkout experience, but also utilize a virtual terminal in some instances.

Virtual credit card processing terminals help e-commerce merchants securely accept credit card payments from any computer when a customer is not present. Virtual terminals are useful for processing customer credit cards over the phone, or in face-to-face when stationary, wireless terminal or smartphone card swiper may not be available.

How Virtual Terminals Work

virtual terminalMerchants who use a virtual terminal securely process credit card payments in card-not-present situations on a computer with an Internet connection. Merchants can even access their virtual terminal using a smartphone. The virtual terminal software allows a merchants to key-in a customers’ credit card information to process transactions.

When a merchant uses a virtual terminal, it resembles that of the customer entering their info during the shopping cart checkout process in an online store. Processing fees are slightly higher for these transactions, as they are typically done in card-not-present situations and need to be keyed in.

When you set up an online merchant account services payment gateway with a processor, you are sometimes given a virtual terminal at no cost. Some credit card processing companies, including services from PayPal, will charge a monthly fee as high as $30.

If you have the option to add on a virtual terminal to your merchant account and payment gateway at no cost, it is worth doing so. A virtual terminal can be helpful for processing certain transactions, such as when custom pricing is needed for goods or services (e.g., a contractor can price a home renovation based on information, such as square footage, provided online by a homeowner), or for merchants who enter electronic check transactions for mail order/telephone order (MOTO) sales.

Still, because of the higher rates involved with keyed-in transactions, virtual terminals should be used when you must key-in a transaction.

Stationary and Wireless Terminals (add appropriate links to highlighted content below)

An online merchant account and payment gateway gives e-commerce store merchants invaluable flexibility. While virtual terminals are mainly used by merchants for phone and online sales, stationary merchant account services terminals are the best option for brick-and-mortar stores, and wireless terminals are an ideal option for merchants who need to process credit cards on the go. If you’re still not sure which merchant account services terminal is right for you, give us a call and we can help you choose the right option for your business.