The Virtual Terminal Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Right One for Your Business

The Virtual Terminal Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Right One for Your Business

Payment technology has advanced significantly ever since we started trading goods for money. Pen and paper methods have been upgraded to cash registers which have been transformed into modern point-of-sale or POS systems with tools to run almost every aspect of your business. 

One such payment technology worth knowing about is the virtual terminal. Today’s ideal virtual terminal solutions handle card-not-present transactions and other features that go way beyond simple payment processing. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at virtual terminals and the benefits they offer. We’ll also give you a rundown of the things you need to consider when choosing a virtual terminal for your small business. Let’s get started.

What is a virtual terminal?

A virtual terminal is a software application that businesses can use to accept electronic debit card or credit card payments without a physical card reader. You can take card payments via virtual terminals over the phone, by mail, email, fax, and even accept in-person payments. Most virtual terminals are web-based and can be accessed from a browser like Chrome or Safari on any compatible device like your tablet or computer.  

How does a virtual terminal work?

When a merchant uses a virtual terminal to process payments, there are several steps involved: 

  1. The merchant enters the purchase and card information into the virtual terminal, typically via a web browser. 
  2. The virtual terminal sends the credit card information to your payment processor via an internet connection. 
  3. The payment processor either approves or rejects the payment. If unsuccessful, you’ll need to try again. If successful, the transaction is approved. 
  4. When the transaction is approved, the cardholder’s financial institution transfers the funds to the payment processor, which then transfers the funds to a corresponding merchant account

Benefits of using virtual terminals for credit card processing

The main benefit of using a virtual terminal to process card payments boils down to the fact that it allows you to capture more sales. More payment options make the customer experience more convenient, which in turn leads to more sales. If you can accommodate multiple payment options, you’ll likely capture more shoppers as well. 

Tips on choosing the right virtual terminal to process payments

While the core functionality of all virtual terminals is the same, many include additional features and tools to help you run other aspects of your business. When shopping for a virtual terminal for your business, take note of the following key considerations: 

1. Billing and payment options

Your virtual terminal provider should be able to handle more than just card-not-present transactions. When selecting a provider for your business, keep an eye out for other useful capabilities. 

Some virtual terminals have other features to help you get paid, too. Service providers, in particular, may want to look for a virtual terminal with invoicing tools. SwipeSimple’s virtual terminal has an invoicing feature plus the option to schedule recurring payments, which works well for a membership- or subscription-based business model. 

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2. Tech stack compatibility

When choosing a virtual terminal, you’ll also want to think about how it’ll fit into your existing systems. Take stock of your hardware and software, and start by browsing through their integration options. You might find a simple solution that works with your existing solutions. 

Remember that your tech stack may change, especially if you have growth goals. So look for a virtual terminal with a wide range of integrations and compatible platforms. 

3. Digital receipts

More and more consumers prefer digital receipts as compared to wasteful paper-printed ones. In fact, less than half (42%) of American consumers still use paper receipts, according to one survey

Infographic Virtual Termina

This trend is good for merchants because it offers them an opportunity to collect customer data and potentially, market to them in the future. Some virtual terminals have a feature that allows you to send digital receipts via email or SMS text message. 

4. Marketing and CRM

Virtual terminals with marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) features may find their way to the top of your list. It’s always a good idea to collect data about your customers so you can learn more about them and send them personalized recommendations. And your virtual terminal can help you gain an even better understanding of your customers. 

SwipeSimple has lots of standout features for marketing to your customers. You can collect customer information and edit their profiles. SwipeSimple will track their purchase history so you can make hyper-targeted campaigns and recommendations. 

Moving forward with your virtual terminal

Choosing the right virtual terminal for your business is just one of many tasks when it comes to setting up your payment processing needs. The combined Payment Depot and SwipeSimple solution will give you access to a powerful mobile app, and competitive subscription-based pricing — minus the cancellation fees. 

Contact our award-winning support team today to learn more about how to take your business to the next level with Payment Depot and SwipeSimple

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