Virtual Terminals 101: What They Are and How They Work

August 20, 2018

Maybe you’ve been looking into new payment processing options, or maybe you’re just curious about the recent developments in the payments space. No matter how you landed on virtual terminals, we know that this payment option can sound a little more complex than something like a wireless terminal.

To help, we’ve created our very own “Virtual Terminals 101” guide, to help you understand what they are, how they work, and if they might be the solution for you!

What are virtual terminals?

Simply, a virtual terminal is a solution that turns your computer into a payment-processing device, so long as it has internet access. Merchants can use a virtual terminal to process a transaction once they’ve collected a customer’s information over the phone, web, by mail or even in person. Given that virtual terminals process payments by imputing customer information online, the customer and their card can both not be present and a successful transaction still take place.

How do virtual terminals work?

Virtual terminals are powered by a payment gateway, which is a solution that provides payment processing and authorization services through an online platform; Moneris’ is called the Moneris Gateway. This gateway creates a landing page for a merchant to manually input a customer’s payment information, and complete the payment. Electronic receipts are sent directly to the customer after the transaction completes, which can be downloaded and saved for future reference. Virtual terminals also process a variety of different online payment options, including different card types and brands, and allow for custom or bulk orders without the need to scan UPCs and itemize an order.

Would you benefit from one?

Like all payment processing solutions, your business’s unique needs and characteristics will define exactly the payment solution that works best for you. Payment processing does not come with a one-size-fits-all option, so it’s important to speak with your preferred payment processor about the perfect fit for you. Virtual terminals may benefit merchants who:

  1. Need to customize or process bulk orders without needing to itemize the payment,
  2. Are looking to utilize their computer for payment processing and do not require a physical terminal,
  3. Accept a lot of telephone or mail orders and who want to process online payments without setting up an ecommerce site.

If you’re interested in learning more about virtual terminals, make sure to take a look at our dedicated virtual terminal page, or read about other online payment solutions!

The information in this article is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal, business or other professional advice or an endorsement of any of the websites or services listed. 

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