What Is A Virtual Terminal?

Virtual terminals are the online equivalent of the credit card terminals used in physical stores. It is a software program that is hosted over the web, usually on the servers of a service provider, and they can be accessed through web browsers. Without virtual terminals e-commerce wouldn’t exist, because they allow consumers to purchase products online by entering their credit card information into a form that is web based, after which they can make electronic payments. In addition to credit cards, virtual terminals can also be used to handle ACH payments.

Virtual Terminal Advantages

Virtual terminals are quick and simple to use, requiring no technical knowledge. They are also flexible, since merchants and customers can process transactions through any computer which has access to the Internet. Because sensitive data is transmitted during a purchase, encryption is used to protect the information of the customers. It’s convenient for merchants as there are no hassles or regulations which need to be followed with regard to storing credit card data, as virtual terminals are automatically compliant.

Virtual terminals are popular among small online businesses that need order forms, and they are also used by mail order companies. Any merchant who offers services that require the details of an order to be entered manually can benefit from virtual terminals.Some merchants process most of their orders using automated systems, but may sometimes need to use manual entries.

How Virtual Terminals Work

A customer who wants to purchase an online product or service uses a web browser, such as Internet Explorer, to go to a secure webpage with an order form. They fill out the form with their payment information, and then they press the “submit” button. At this point the order will enter the system. A request will then be transmitted to the payment processor to accept the order.

The payment processor will then contact the issuing bank, which will accept the order and return an approval to the payment processor.  After a few seconds the order will be completed, and the funds will be placed in the merchant’s account within a week.

Virtual terminals are a must have tool for virtually any business that plans to sell products online, particularly digital products. These terminals can be used in conjunction with other software tools that allow orders to be reviewed and managed. Because of their simplicity, ease of use and cost effectiveness, virtual terminals are useful for both merchants and their customers.