The advantages of virtual terminals

In an increasingly contactless world, more and more business is being done remotely. Merchants need to keep up with their customers, and a virtual terminal for credit card payment processing can help them expand their options and grow their business.

Enabling greater convenience, mobility and efficiency, virtual terminals optimize business operations. These modern systems make it faster and simpler to accept, track and record payments, extending merchant flexibility, increasing sales and improving service. All businesses, even those that still rely heavily on cash transactions, such as CBD shops, can benefit from being able to collect customer payments online and over the phone. 

But before getting into what you can do with virtual terminals, let’s first learn what they are. 

What’s a virtual terminal?

A virtual terminal is like a traditional point of sale system, but without the physical terminal. Or the physical card. Or the physical customer. It’s a credit card terminal on the internet.

A virtual terminal is a specialized web-based application accessed through a web portal that facilitates various types of payment, such as credit and debit cards, ACH and eCheck. They are ideal for online invoicing and remote billing, as they allow you to process a credit card without the card being present. This means you can take digital payments instantly, from anywhere and with ease.

Virtual terminals enable merchants to accept payments over the phone, online and by mail, so you can go beyond in-person transactions. By expanding payment solutions options and streamlining the process, virtual terminals help you close sales without requiring customers to go through extra steps.

How does it work?

Virtual terminals function much the same way physical terminals do. Rather than swiping a card, though, the merchant logs into the virtual terminal through a payment gateway and keys the customer’s credit, debit or checking account information into an online account form. The data is then automatically sent to the payment processor for credit card authorization to complete the transaction.

While that may seem complicated, it’s actually a simple process that happens electronically and almost instantly. Businesses don’t need any additional costly hardware or software, just a computer or mobile device with a compatible operating system and a web browser. 

Once a card transaction is approved, the money usually reaches the merchant’s account in a day or two.

Advantages of virtual terminals

Virtual terminals help your business be more efficient and effective. You can charge customers, record sales, send online invoices, schedule recurring payments and much more. 

Here are three primary advantages:

Increased flexibility

Using a virtual terminal permits you to accept payments by phone or over the internet. No matter when or from where your remote customer wants to buy, it all gets processed the same way.

With a virtual terminal, you can offer flexible payment plans, set up automatic shipments and store information for future billing. You can send one-time or scheduled invoices by text or email and save significant bookkeeping time by generating automatic reports.

You won’t have to endlessly wait for, incessantly follow up with and exhaustingly chase down customers for payments. They can pay when they buy, where they are and how they want. 

Improved sales

Using a virtual processing platform means your business can collect payments without a point-of-sale system or physical credit card terminal. By providing additional payment methods – especially for industries that may need alternative payment solutions, like CBD businesses – virtual terminals allow you to cast a wider sales net and serve a larger potential customer base.

You’re able to process payments with a laptop, smart device or contactless terminal, freeing you to conduct business from anywhere, at any time. Being mobile-friendly and fully remote means you can make sales on the go – during a delivery, at a trade show or pop-up event or wherever you have an internet connection. 

Virtual terminals simplify the payment process for sales made by phone, mail and at off-site events. They can also optimize e-commerce, helping your business integrate with online shopping platforms and cash in on a global market predicted to be worth nearly $5 trillion by 2021.

Enhanced security

Virtual terminals can be a safer and more responsive way for merchants to accept credit card payments. Some customers are not comfortable giving their payment details over the phone, so a secured website may be a better choice.

Maintaining transaction records digitally, instead of saving paper receipts that can be damaged or lost, delivers advanced protection, assuming your computer is equipped with updated cybersecurity features. Virtual terminals can securely keep customer payment information on file for future, card-not-present transactions and they can also store electronic signatures to guard against chargeback fraud.

Virtual terminals typically use AVS and CVV information to process credit card transactions, and business owners or account administrators can set these security settings to limit fraud risk and control who is authorized to access the system. A good payment processor will protect card data, provide the latest financial security tools and follow PCI compliance procedures.

How FLEX Payment Solutions can help

Many merchants still prefer to swipe a physical card. But with fewer in-person transactions happening and more people buying remotely, a virtual terminal for credit card payments can offer businesses expanded options to serve customers, simplify processes and streamline operations. Flexible, fast and convenient, supporting sales and strengthening security, virtual terminals easily allow your customer to make purchases, your business to process payments and you to get paid.

FLEX has extensive experience in credit and debit card processing and a unique regulatory background. We strive to supply custom, compliant payment solutions, as well as unmatched customer service, to all legal enterprises to save you money and help your business grow.

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