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Virtual Terminal Credit Card Processing Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Virtual terminals are a solution that allows small businesses to accept payments remotely or in-person from your computer — either with or without a card reader.

    Frank Kehl
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Virtual T

Perhaps you run a service business that primarily interacts with clients over the phone, a retail or restaurant business that regularly takes phone orders, or you just want to offer your customers more ways of settling billing with you. These types of businesses (and plenty more) may find that a virtual terminal is a savvy choice.

If you are wondering how to use a virtual terminal for credit card processing — or need more information to determine if it’s even a good option for you — stick around. In this post, we’ll explore what’s involved with virtual terminal transactions, and we’ll arm you with plenty of information so that you are more equipped to make a wise decision for your business.

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What Is A Virtual Terminal?

A virtual terminal is a software application (usually web-based these days) that allows you to enter credit card details manually via an internet browser and submit a transaction for processing. This solution lets you accept payments remotely or in-person from your computer — either with or without a card reader.

Note that if you plan to use a virtual terminal to accept in-person payments, you’ll want to add a card reader to your setup. Card-present transactions are inherently more secure than just typing in a customer’s card number, and they cost much less to process.

Pictured below is an example of a secure virtual terminal from Stax by Fattmerchant. As you can see, it’s pretty straightforward. You simply plug in details and wait a moment for processing to complete the sale.

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You might also notice that Stax’s virtual terminal is included as a feature of its web-based Stax Pay credit card payments processing platform. Traditional virtual terminals tended to be stand-alone services. Today, they’re more often included as a feature of a provider’s integrated payments platform, combining online and in-person payment processing options into a single, cloud-based service. An integrated payments platform allows you to run your business and accept payments from any computer, smartphone, or tablet.

What Kinds Of Businesses Need Virtual Terminal Payment Processing?

What kinds of companies can benefit from taking payments via a virtual terminal? In general, any business where a traditional countertop terminal or point of sale (POS) system is either impractical or too expensive will find it advantageous to use a virtual terminal. Here are some examples:

  • Food Delivery Services: Customers can prepay over the phone before food delivery.
  • Remote Freelance Work: Web designers, graphic artists, writers, and other pros who work remotely can settle billing over the phone.
  • Local Professionals (e.g., Doctors, Attorneys, Accountants): Take payment over the phone to book clients, settle a running tab, or process from across the counter.
  • Auto Mechanics: Your customers can pay you over the phone and pick their car up after hours, and you can collect what’s due during regular business hours, too.
  • Other Delivery Services: Whether you own a local pharmacy, deliver wine and spirits, or something else, taking phone orders is an excellent option for smaller delivery-based businesses.

If none of these apply to you, some situations may still arise where a virtual terminal will come in handy. Some merchants enjoy the fact that a virtual terminal enables them to forgo hardware to compensate for limited counter space. While mobile payment processing apps are also an option, some folks live and die by their laptops (so to speak), so a virtual terminal makes the most sense for their business needs.

And every other merchant who typically processes via swiping, dipping, or tapping may need to take payment over the phone once in a while. If you already have a credit card processor, chances are there is a virtual terminal somewhere on the dashboard with which you can manually enter credit card details through a web-based form. Square is one of these companies. Here is an example of Square’s virtual terminal screen. As you can see, it’s a very straightforward form that requires credit card data and allows you to enter a note about the sale:

Virtual Terminal

While Square offers a pretty simple setup that automatically comes when you sign up for free, other credit card processing companies, especially traditional merchant accounts, may vary slightly in their approach. We’ll explore the different features a virtual terminal may offer, discuss the costs involved, and share a few processing companies that provide top-notch virtual terminals.

Is A Virtual Terminal Also A Payment Gateway?

It’s easiest to think of a virtual terminal as nothing more than a “virtual” version of a standard countertop credit card terminal. The virtual terminal’s interface screen allows you to type in your customer’s credit card information and details about the purchase. This information is then sent over the internet to your provider’s payment processing network, where the transaction is (hopefully) approved and funds scheduled for disbursement.

This functionality is essentially no different than how a countertop terminal or mPOS app works, except that most countertop terminals can also transmit information over a landline telephone connection. In fact, the app on your smartphone or tablet for accepting mobile transactions is essentially a virtual terminal. However, it might include some additional features (such as the ability to receive tips).

Virtual terminals are often confused with payment gateways, which are essential for eCommerce. While both products include the same functionality, gateways include many extra features on top of processing a transaction. Also, gateways are designed to allow customers to process their own sales, whereas virtual terminals require the merchant’s input to complete a transaction. Today, virtual terminals are primarily used by mail order and telephone order (MOTO) businesses that either don’t have a website or don’t accept online sales.

The 8 Best Virtual Terminals For Small Business

The best virtual terminal providers are usually also the best merchant services providers for your business. While often proprietary, virtual terminals don’t vary much in terms of features or capabilities from one provider to the next. Instead, you should focus your search on companies that offer flexible contracts, fair pricing, and excellent customer support.

1. Stax By Fattmerchant

Stax by Fattmerchant



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Stax by Fattmerchant is one of the few merchant account providers on the market to offer membership pricing, saving high-volume businesses a lot of money on processing costs. With this pricing type, you pay a single monthly “subscription” fee that covers all the costs of maintaining your account. In exchange, you’ll only pay the standard interchange fees plus a small (and prominently disclosed) fixed per-transaction fee. Unlike most other providers, there’s no percentage markup — something that can become very expensive for large-ticket sales.

Stax offers a virtual terminal as a built-in feature of its Stax Pay integrated payments platform. This platform combines a payment gateway, analytics and reporting tools, and other ancillary features into a single, cloud-based system that allows you to run your business from any device with a web browser. The virtual terminal feature in Stax Pay includes support for electronic invoices, recurring billing, a QuickBooks integration, a customer information database, and many other functions. Naturally, you can also accept in-person transactions with a compatible card reader.

This type of pricing, combined with the many features available through the Stax Pay platform, makes Stax very appealing to most businesses. However, we’d caution you that the company’s pricing will only save you money if you already have a fairly high monthly processing volume. Payment processing subscription pricing is $99/month, while Stax Pay starts at $49/month, which will be too expensive for low-volume merchants. Also, Stax only serves US-based businesses at this time.

Pros

  • Transparent membership pricing
  • No percentage markup rate for transactions
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • No early termination fee

Cons

  • US-based merchants only
  • Not suitable for low-volume businesses

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2. Payment Depot

Payment Depot



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A close competitor of Stax, Payment Depot also offers membership pricing that can save your business hundreds of dollars per month in processing costs. The main differences between the two companies are that Payment Depot provides a more affordable low-end subscription ($79 per month) but lacks an integrated payments platform similar to Stax Pay. However, this isn’t a major concern, as the company partners with several third-party vendors to bring you all the same services and features for one monthly fee.

Among those features is free access to the VPOS (Virtual POS) virtual terminal provided by Authorize.Net. VPOS allows you to manually enter transactions or accept in-person sales via the BBPOS Chipper 2x card reader. This reader costs $99 and can accept magstripe, EMV, or NFC-based payment methods. Connection to your computer is via either Bluetooth or a USB cable. Unfortunately, it’s only compatible with Windows computers at this time.

Payment Depot also offers month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts and no early termination fees. If the company’s pricing doesn’t work out for you, closing your account and switching providers is fairly easy. You can also save money by paying your membership fees on an annual basis. Payment Depot’s $79 subscription plan makes it more affordable for businesses that don’t have a high monthly processing volume. At the same time, it could still be too expensive for very low-volume or seasonal businesses.

Pros

  • Free virtual terminal
  • Transparent membership pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no long-term contracts
  • Excellent customer service and technical support

Cons

  • Not cost-effective for low-volume businesses
  • Not available to high-risk or international merchants

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3. Square

Square



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Although it’s best known for its low-cost mobile payments system, Square now offers a complete lineup of products and services to accept any kind of transaction. Among those services is the Square Virtual Terminal, which is exactly what the name implies: a web-based “virtual” terminal for accepting credit card transactions on a personal computer. Well, some personal computers — at the time of this writing, taking card-present transactions with a card reader is only available for Macs and Chromebooks, and you’ll have to use either Chrome or Safari as your browser. Given Windows computers’ dominant market share, we expect that availability will expand to these devices in the future.

Pricing for the Square Virtual Terminal couldn’t be any simpler. You’ll pay either 3.5% + $0.15 per transaction to manually enter a sale or 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction to swipe or dip a physical card. Like most of Square’s other services, there are no additional monthly fees or long-term contracts.

While you don’t need a card reader to use Square Virtual Terminal, the lower processing rate for card-present transactions is reason enough to invest in one if you plan on accepting in-person payments. Square isn’t too specific on its website about compatible hardware, but most likely, you’ll want to use the $49 Square Reader for Contactless and Chip, which connects via Bluetooth and accepts both EMV and NFC-based payment methods.

Square’s Virtual Terminal is an excellent choice for small businesses that only process several thousand dollars a month in credit/debit card transactions. At higher processing volumes, the company’s flat-rate pricing can actually hurt you, and you’ll be better off getting a full-service merchant account. As with any other payment service provider (PSP), account holds, freezes, and terminations are also more frequent. You’ll want to take this risk into account when signing up.

Pros

  • Pay-as-you-go billing
  • No monthly fees
  • Predictable flat-rate pricing

Cons

  • Account stability issues
  • Card-present payments not available on Windows PCs

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4. Clover

Clover POS



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You probably wouldn’t think of Clover as a good choice for a virtual terminal, as the company is best known for its popular line of countertop terminals and point of sale (POS) systems. However, Clover now offers a No Hardware Plan that includes a fully-featured virtual terminal and does not require you to purchase any of Clover’s physical devices.

With this plan, you can email invoices to your customers, generate sales reports, and send paperless receipts. You also have access to the Clover App Market, allowing you to add additional features, such as inventory management, employee scheduling, and more. All online transactions cost a flat 3.5% + $0.10 per transaction. There’s also a $9.95 per month subscription fee, which you’ll pay whether you process any transactions or not.

We prefer to see companies offer their virtual terminals for free. However, the ability to add additional apps from the Clover App Market makes the monthly fee a worthwhile trade-off for businesses that will be relying on the Clover Virtual Terminal for most (or all) of their transaction processing.

Pros

  • No Clover hardware required
  • Month-to-month billing
  • Includes integrated invoicing feature
  • Includes access to Clover App Market

Cons

  • Requires monthly subscription fee

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5. Dharma Merchant Services

Dharma Merchant Services



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One of the most transparent and ethical companies in the payments processing industry, Dharma Merchant Services offers a complete range of products and services for just about any business. While the company uses Fiserv as its back-end processor, its sales practices are very different from most other providers. All account fees, processing rates, and contract terms are fully disclosed on the Dharma website, saving you the hassle of having to negotiate with the company’s sales team to get the best offer.

Dharma uses month-to-month billing and interchange-plus pricing exclusively, giving you the flexibility to switch to a different provider if things don’t work out. That’s unlikely to be the case, however, as the company has one of the most enviable reputations in the payments industry. Every Dharma merchant account comes with a free virtual terminal, which is included as a feature of the company’s MX Merchant integrated payments platform. Dharma’s virtual terminal includes a Quick Payments option that allows you to key in a transaction manually. This feature also integrates with a customer database, so you can process sales to repeat customers even faster.

While Dharma is an excellent choice for many businesses, it’s not for everyone. The company freely admits that its pricing will not be affordable for merchants processing less than $10,000 per month. Also, it does not accept most high-risk merchants, referring them to PaymentCloud (see below) instead. Finally, its card reader is rather expensive (currently $119), especially since it can only process magstripe payments. We’re hopeful that Dharma will introduce a new card reader with EMV and NFC capabilities in the near future.

Pros

  • Interchange-plus pricing offered exclusively
  • Month-to-month billing with no early termination fees
  • Discounted pricing for qualified nonprofit companies
  • Outstanding sales transparency and highly ethical business practices

Cons

  • Not cost-effective for businesses processing less than $10,000 per month
  • Does not accept most high-risk businesses

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6. CDGcommerce

CDGcommerce



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CDGcommerce is one of the few providers we’ve found that offers a full-service merchant account at a price that even small businesses can afford. The company provides various pricing options, allowing you to choose between flat-rate, interchange-plus, or membership pricing plans.

Regardless of which pricing plan you choose, you’ll have access to a virtual terminal that’s included at no extra charge. Virtual terminal support is either through Authorize.Net’s VPOS terminal or the company’s proprietary Quantum Gateway. You can also integrate your account with a variety of other third-party gateways if you choose. Rates for card-not-present transactions processed over the virtual terminal start at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction under the flat-rate pricing plan; lower rates are available with either an interchange-plus or membership pricing plan. We recommend that you review all pricing options to determine the most cost-effective plan for your business.

CDGcommerce has been around since 1998 and has consistently been one of our top-rated providers. In addition to its flexible contract terms and affordable pricing plans, the company has a great reputation for offering high-quality customer service and support.

Pros

  • Free virtual terminal
  • Offers flat-rate, interchange-plus, or membership pricing
  • Month-to-month billing with no early termination fees
  • Excellent customer service and support

Cons

  • Only available to US-based merchants

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7. Durango Merchant Services

Durango Merchant Services



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While all of the providers we’ve discussed above are excellent choices for low-risk merchants, it’s harder to find a company that will accept high-risk merchants. One of the best companies we’ve found that specializes in serving the high-risk community is Durango Merchant Services. The company works with various acquirers and processors to get you approved for an account but offers its own proprietary merchant services and customer support.

One of these services is the Durango Pay gateway, the company’s proprietary payment gateway. Durango Pay includes a virtual terminal as one of its features, allowing you to accept orders and payments over the telephone, even if you don’t have a website. You’ll get access to various features, including support for recurring billing and a customer information database. As a high-risk provider, Durango also includes a robust set of security features, including anti-fraud services that can flag (or even block) suspicious transactions.

The one downside to working with Durango — or any other high-risk provider — is that its complex relationships with its numerous back-end processors make it impossible to disclose any pricing information on its website. Instead, you’ll have to contact Durango’s in-house sales team and get a pricing quote that’s customized to your business. Although you can expect to pay higher rates than a comparable low-risk business, the company’s prices are fair and haven’t generated any complaints from merchants.

Pros

  • High-risk specialist
  • Offers offshore merchant accounts for some international merchants
  • Fair pricing and excellent contract terms
  • Dedicated account manager for customer service

Cons

  • No pricing disclosures on the website

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8. PaymentCloud

PaymentCloud



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PaymentCloud, another reputable high-risk specialist, is more focused on the retail sector than Durango Merchant Services. The company includes a free credit card terminal with each account, although you can choose a card reader instead if you plan to use a virtual terminal to enter card-present transactions. Your specific virtual terminal will be determined by your choice of payment gateway, with the company offering Authorize.Net, USAePay, and several other third-party options.

Like other high-risk specialists, PaymentCloud works with a wide variety of processors and banks (including some offshore options) to get your business approved for an account. As a result, there is no standardized pricing available that the company can advertise on its website. Instead, you’ll have to reach out to its sales department and obtain a customized quote. Fortunately, PaymentCloud does not charge an account setup fee for the extensive underwriting process required to establish a high-risk merchant account.

Pros

  • High-risk specialists
  • No account setup fee
  • Free terminal or card reader with an account
  • Excellent customer support

Cons

  • No publicly disclosed pricing

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Looking For One Of These Credit Card Virtual Terminals

As we’ve said before, the best way to get a quality virtual terminal is to sign up with a reputable provider rather than focusing on certain features of a company’s virtual terminal or choosing a provider based on name recognition or how popular it is in Google searches. Two providers, in particular, stand out for apparently being popular with merchants — despite not offering the best way to get a virtual terminal.

PayPal

A perennial favorite among online sellers, payment service provider PayPal is one of the oldest and most established names in eCommerce. While the company offers a virtual terminal, you’ll need to sign up for the PayPal Payments Pro service plan to access it. This plan costs $30 per month, which is quite expensive for a payments service that otherwise doesn’t charge a monthly fee. Processing rates for virtual terminal transactions are also high, costing 3.09% + $0.49 per transaction. Unless you plan to take full advantage of PayPal Payments Pro’s other features, this probably won’t be a cost-effective way to get a virtual terminal.

Payanywhere

Unlike PayPal, Payanywhere doesn’t charge you for its virtual terminal. However, it does have a sneaky habit of automatically converting your processing account into a full-service merchant account once your processing volume exceeds $100,000 in a twelve-month period. This merchant account comes complete with expensive tiered pricing, numerous monthly and annual fees, and an onerous three-year contract. Surprise! Naturally, there are a lot of complaints from merchants alleging that the company’s sales agents failed to explain this possibility when setting up their accounts. This is an especially raw deal considering that you won’t have any opportunity to negotiate the terms of your “upgraded” account. Unless you’re quite sure that you’ll never exceed the processing threshold that triggers the conversion to a merchant account, we recommend that you avoid Payanywhere.

4 Benefits Of Virtual Terminal Credit Card Processing

Virtual terminals offer all of the security and fraud protection features of a countertop terminal or POS system, but at a fraction of the cost. Here’s an overview of the main benefits of using a virtual terminal:

  • Potential Cost Savings: Because most providers include a virtual terminal for free with your account, you can put together a very low-cost alternative to spending hundreds of dollars on a countertop terminal or POS system. All you’ll usually need is a browser-equipped device with an internet connection. Because credit card processing requires very little bandwidth, it’s a great way to repurpose an old laptop or tablet. If you also need to accept card-present transactions, a card reader can usually be purchased for less than $100.
  • Security Features: Virtual terminals are just as secure as physical terminals or payment gateways, using the same tokenization and encryption methods to protect your customers’ card data from hackers during the transaction approval process. They also meet the same PCI compliance requirements as other payment processing devices and software. Additional security measures, such as address verification (AVS) and the use of CVV numbers, are also available and should be used whenever it’s appropriate.
  • Fraud Protection: With the rise of eCommerce, credit card fraud has become a bigger problem. The best way to avoid liability for credit card fraud is to always enter credit card information directly into the payment form and never copy the numbers down anywhere else. Of course, even with good security, sometimes breaches happen. However, if your company has a PCI-compliant virtual terminal, the liability shifts away from you if a breach occurs.
  • Chargeback Protection: Another type of risk that every merchant should be aware of — no matter how you process — is chargebacks. Whether your customers don’t remember the purchase, change their minds, or aren’t happy, they can request a reversal of funds called a chargeback. Chargebacks can cost a merchant the price of the sale and extra fees. Because a merchant doesn’t capture the electronic data on the chip or stripe, a card-not-present transaction has an elevated risk of “friendly fraud” as well. Friendly fraud is when a customer likely knows they purchased from you, but they call their credit card company directly to deny the purchase. As a merchant, you can reduce chargebacks through open communication and follow up and promptly address any complaints or customer service issues from your customer. For more helpful tips on protecting yourself from the dreaded chargeback, read The Small Business Guide To Preventing Chargebacks (& How To Fight Chargebacks When They Happen).

What Should You Look For In A Virtual Terminal Merchant Account?

Most virtual terminal merchant account services on the market include several common features, and there isn’t much to distinguish one from the other. However, there are several not-so-standard features that you might want to look for, especially if your business needs them. These include the following:

  • eCheck/ACH Processing: Accepting a lot of card-not-present transactions over a virtual terminal can get pretty expensive due to the high interchange fees charged for these types of transactions. However, some providers offer the ability to accept ACH or echeck payments through their virtual terminal. Most ACH transactions are billed at flat fees (usually between $0.15 and $1.00) or as a percentage of the transaction (up to 1%). There might also be a fixed monthly fee to add this feature if it’s only offered as an optional service.
  • Customer Information Database: A good feature to have is the ability to store your customers’ payment method information so that they don’t have to re-enter it every time they make a purchase. Most modern payment gateways include this feature, and as virtual terminals are increasingly offered as a feature of a gateway or integrated payments platform, it’s easier to get this feature in your virtual terminal as well.
  • Recurring Billing Support: Again, this has become a standard feature on most payment gateways, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a virtual terminal that has it. Just be careful about pricing, as some providers still consider recurring billing an optional feature and charge you extra to add it to your account.
  • Inventory Management: Obviously, it’s a good idea to make sure an item is actually in stock before making a sale. Early, stand-alone virtual terminals didn’t always include this feature, but you definitely want to have it today if you sell physical goods.
  • Security: Keeping your account protected from fraudsters and cyber thieves is getting harder every day. Fortunately, virtually all merchant services providers prioritize offering strong security features to protect your account (and their bottom line). Protecting your customers’ credit card data is of the utmost importance, particularly if you’re taking it down over the telephone and manually entering it into a virtual terminal. Look for tokenization features and point-to-point (P2P) encryption at a minimum. Providers are also introducing algorithm-based security features that try to detect potentially fraudulent transactions or possible chargebacks before they happen.

What Is The Best Virtual Terminal For Small Business?

Whether you only occasionally need to enter a transaction manually or your business is 100% based on telephone sales, having a virtual terminal with strong security features is very important. Virtual terminals offer a secure method of completing a transaction without either the customer or their payment card being physically present. At the same time, combining a virtual terminal with a Bluetooth or USB-connected card reader can allow you to process in-person sales as well. Why pay hundreds of dollars for a traditional credit card terminal when you can hook up a card reader to an old laptop and gain the same functionality?

Regardless of how you use a virtual terminal, we’d caution you to pay close attention to your credit card processing rates. Manually keyed-in transactions have the highest interchange rates, primarily due to the higher risk of fraud involved when your customer isn’t physically present to confirm their identity. While providers offer various processing rate plans, card-not-present transactions will be more expensive to process under all of them.

There isn’t a single best provider to choose from when looking for a virtual terminal. With each provider’s virtual terminal being nearly identical in available feature sets, your best bet is to choose the provider that’s the best overall fit for your business. Processing rates, account fees, contract terms, and customer support will be more important in the long run.

For more information about credit card processing, cashless payment methods, and companies we recommend (and why), check out some of our other posts:

In Summary: The 8 Best Virtual Terminals For Small Business

  1. Stax by Fattmerchant: Best for high-volume merchants.
  2. Payment Depot: Best for high-volume merchants.
  3. Square: Best for low-volume or seasonal businesses.
  4. Clover POS: Best for eCommerce-only businesses.
  5. Dharma Merchant Services: Best for nonprofits.
  6. CDGcommerce: Best for most businesses.
  7. Durango Merchant Services: Best for high-risk eCommerce merchants.
  8. PaymentCloud: Best for high-risk retail businesses.
Frank Kehl

Frank Kehl

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
Frank Kehl has been researching and analyzing merchant services, payment gateways, and international money transfer services since 2015. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State and a Juris Doctorate from the Ventura College of Law.
Frank Kehl
View Frank Kehl's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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22 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Alfani Ngwewa

    I am selling African arts and paintings online I need the merchant account for my business . I am based in South Africa .

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

      Jessica Dinsmore

      Hi Alfani,

      I think Instabill may be worth looking into, considering your location. Our reviews are typically U.S. providers, but it looks like Instabill does support South Africa and eCommerce. Get in touch and see if they are a good fit. Good luck to you!

        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

        JJ

        We have a business located in the US that specialises in webhosting and electronics repairs. We are planning to relocate to Asia however would like to accept payments globally. We have not had much success in the US in securing a credit card processor. What is the best way forward?

        Warm Regards,
        JJ

          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

          Jessica Dinsmore

          Hi JJ,

          I’d suggest starting with our post on offshore merchant accounts, which also has links to several other helpful resources for you. Best of luck!

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

            Hardial Sahota

            Hi I am intrested in VT please help me with your contact number to reach you.
            My number USA +1440-550-9545 Hardial Sahota

              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

              Emily Hale

              Hi Hardial,

              If you are interested in setting up a virtual terminal to take payments, I recommend checking out some of the companies mentioned in the post. Some companies offer virtual terminals with their basic plan. Dharma and Payment Depot are two credit card processors that provide free keyed-entry into a virtual terminal along with their POS solution. Many mobile credit card processors, such as Square, also include a free virtual terminal. Best of luck!

                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                Derrick Feaster

                My understanding is that everyone needs to be PCI compliant. The owners of the virtual terminal are PCI compliant, but that doesn’t mean I am PCI compliant when I use it, unless the PC I am using is properly networked and segmented.

                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                  Brad

                  Yes this is the frustration I have with the advertising for virtual terminals. I can’t see how a virtual terminal is pci compliant if the customer is using it on a unsecure network or computer. The computer could have a key logger or other malware on it to intercept the credit card number before it is processed. Or even recording software.

                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                    Benedict

                    Hello,I want to know if you can recommend good company that provides online payment solutions to Nigeria based company and NGO via International 2D payment gateway, MOTO and POS services?

                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                      Dakota Fillet

                      Hi Benedict,
                      Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of expertise on payment processors outside the US/Canada just yet. We have heard of a company called Paystack, though we have not reviewed them, so we can’t confidently give an assessment one way or the other.

                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                        Debbie

                        Can I ask how safe these are in terms of cyber security. What happens if there is a data breach? Where is the info stored etc?

                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                          Jessica Dinsmore

                          Hi Debbie,

                          Great questions! Generally speaking, if you’re using a virtual terminal and payment vault (with stored card information) that’s offered by a processor, they’ve already built in the security features. One that’s PCI compliant (they all should be) will allow you to put in the numbers and charge a card, but you won’t see anything but the last for digits of the card for security reasons. None of the information will be stored on your site or on your devices. It’s all encrypted, and sometimes tokenized, by the processor.

                          In the event of a breach, it would likely depend on who’s at fault. For example, if a store had an employee who exploited the system, the store would be liable, but if, say, a third party hacked the processor, the processor would be at fault. I hope that helps!

                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                            shabih Ahmad

                            sir
                            we r registered society need virtual terminal please help
                            7717703424

                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                              Jessica Dinsmore

                              Hi Shabih,

                              Thank you for your question! It looks like your business is located in India, so I think Instabill is going to be the best option for you. Best of luck to you!

                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                Arun Kumar Arya

                                Hi I am intrested in VT please help me with your contact number to reach you. My number 0091-9874114333

                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                  Chloe Bahal

                                  Hi Arun,
                                  I would recommend taking a look at Instabill.

                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                    Zia

                                    Regarding the new “chip” readers – when one has a card reader that hooks up to a virtual terminal, is this considered a POS terminal, ie – does the virtual terminal card reader need to be compliant with the new EMV requirements as far as liability goes (being that the card IS present)??

                                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                      Tom DeSimone

                                      Hi Zia,

                                      It depends. If the card reader just collects the card number and enters it into the form, then the transactions are being processed as “card-not-present” and it doesn’t matter if the chip is read. But some virtual terminals allow you to process transactions as “card-present,” which gives you lower rates but also means that you open yourself up to fraud liability if you swipe a counterfeit chip card after October 1st.

                                      Most of the time the readers used with virtual terminal just collect the card number and enter into the form, though, in which case it shouldn’t make a difference. You might want to contact your service provider to verify.

                                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                        Zia

                                        Thank you Tom 🙂

                                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                          Virgil

                                          Curtis that is an excellent explanation of a virtual terminal and how it works. Very well put. However a couple of updates are appropriate since this the time this article was written.

                                          First, signatures are available now with electronic signatures being captured in the same way card data is captured – instead of in this case you’re using an electronic signature pad via the computers USB port in addition to the card reader. Plus, our processer even takes it a step further by enabling remote signature capture, (via email), so a signature can even be obtained on phone orders.

                                          Sceond, in addition to MOTO merchants I would add these are ideal solutions for any business which captures transaction data from more than one terminal (e.g., due to having data from more than one department and/or more than one store location). This solution enables these businesses to consolidate all their transaction data into one central location, so with a couple clicks of a mouse they can view, print, export or otherwise access their data for any use, saving them significant time, work and money.

                                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                            Tom DeSimone

                                            Hi Virgil,

                                            Thanks for your comment. We love PayJunction for this same reason!

                                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                              Curtis

                                              Any Authorize.net reseller can offer this.

                                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

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