What is Virtual Terminal Payment Processing?

shutterstock_179053619At one time, cashiering was straightforward, with a button-based cash register stationed at a specific place in an establishment. Thanks to mobile technology, however, retailers now have the ability to move equipment around, accepting payments from the sales floor or at trade show booths. Virtual terminal payment processing is serving as a popular compromise between mobile payment processing and POS. Using a tablet and a few pieces of equipment, a merchant can be set up to accept payments inexpensively. If a merchant prefers, a laptop or desktop computer can be equipped with a credit card reader for accepting payments. Virtual terminals also offer businesses the ability to accept payments via mail or over the phone, with no physical card required.

Virtual Terminal Defined

A virtual terminal acts as the online version of a credit card processing terminal, providing a merchant the ability to accept payments without expensive equipment. Whether this payment is via credit card or Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments, the virtual handle securely handles these transactions. Traditionally, virtual terminals were ideal for businesses that handled transactions by mail order or phone, since the information could be entered manually into a form for payment submission.

In recent years, however, processors have found ways to attach credit card swipe capability to virtual terminals. Flagship Merchant Services offers merchants a credit card reader that attaches to a smartphone or tablet for free payment acceptance on the go. This is perfect for businesses that regularly have a presence at events.

Virtual Terminal in Store

Cayan has taken the concept of virtual terminal payment acceptance to an even greater level of convenience with the MerchantWARE Virtual Terminal. The software lets merchants turn any internet-connected device into a credit card processing terminal for its bricks-and-mortar business. This affordable option lets businesses create a POS solution much more affordably than it could with traditional equipment.

With this option, a business can use an existing device to accept payments in store, saving money on equipment. This is an ideal solution for a business that does a large portion of its business by mail or phone but also wants the ability to accept payments in person when applicable. However, even in instances where a retailer’s primary payment acceptance is on site, a virtual terminal is an affordable alternative to traditional POS.

Recurring Billing

As more businesses gravitate toward recurring billing as a payment model, virtual terminals are a great way to set up ACH payments. Information can be stored for monthly billing purposes and easily updated when needed. With reporting, virtual terminals can help businesses track income and determine which areas need to be improved for better business success.

One of the best things about virtual terminal payment processing is its easy setup. Almost as soon as the merchant has decided to begin using the service, it can accept its first payment. This makes it appealing to small businesses and startups, who can benefit from the ability to start making income immediately. A merchant is given a portal through which it can login and enter payment details for customers, as well as view updated account information and reports.

There are a variety of solutions for accepting virtual terminal payments, with each one having its own features. If you need the ability to accept personal checks and ACH payments through your virtual terminal, you can easily find a payment processing solution that accommodates that, while if in-store payment acceptance is a priority, those solutions exist, as well. With no setup costs and the ability to accept payments using existing internet-connected equipment, you’ll be able to get started at little to no cost, making virtual terminal payment processing a great option for your business.

Posted on Monday, October 6th, 2014