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What Is a Virtual Terminal?

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Amad Ebrahimi
Amad has worked in the eCommerce and online marketing world since 2002. He started as an eBay seller, then slowly graduated to building & marketing his own websites and consulting others to do the same. He founded Merchant Maverick out of frustration with all the misinformation and shady tactics that he encountered when trying to find a merchant account for his and his client's businesses. He's the man behind most of the merchant account reviews, and articles posted on Have any questions related to credit card processing? Talk to him.
Amad Ebrahimi
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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.


    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?

      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!

        shabih Ahmad

        we r registered society need virtual terminal please help

          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!

            Arun Kumar Arya

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

              Chloe Bahal

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


                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)??

                  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.


                    Thank you Tom 🙂


                      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.

                        Tom DeSimone

                        Hi Virgil,

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


                          Any reseller can offer this.

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