Looking for a way to improve your cash flow? Here’s a solution: virtual terminal credit card processing. Allowing customers to pay for your goods and services by credit card over the phone is a boon for all businesses, whether you’re a sizable company with a busy eCommerce site or a small mom-and-pop shop with no website at all. And virtual terminal credit card processing not only helps you get paid faster, it also makes payments easy for your customers. Interested? Then keep reading.
Virtual terminal credit card processing not only helps you get paid faster, it also makes payments easy for your customers. Click To Tweet
What is a virtual terminal?
A virtual terminal is the web version of a physical, point-of-sale credit card terminal which can be accessed by any internet web browser. You connect to the virtual terminal by going to a particular web page designated by your payment gateway. From there, you’re able to input customer payment information and process credit card or ACH payments online.
How would my business use a virtual terminal?
Any business can take advantage of a virtual terminal—even if you don’t have a website. It is usually used in one of two ways:
- Businesses that operate an eCommerce business can use virtual terminals to supplement their online payment systems. Think of large companies like L.L. Bean or Dell Computer, both of which have high-traffic websites where people place orders. Those companies also have phone numbers for support teams, which people use to ask questions about products or services before placing an order. Instead of redirecting people back to your website after the call to order, support team members can simply and securely take orders right over the phone, while the customer is still on the line. Why take a chance that the order might slip away? The transaction can be completed within just a few minutes.
- Small companies that don’t have websites can use virtual terminals to collect payments on customer invoices. It’s a great alternative to the traditional method of mailing out bills and waiting for checks to arrive in the mail. Instead, you can mail out bills that encourage customers to pay by by credit card over the phone. They’ll simply call your office, give you their information, and pay the bill. A virtual credit card terminal is a great option for small merchants who mainly have a physical presence (like a storefront or an administrative office) and no website, but who regularly send out paper invoices for goods or services rendered.
How does a virtual terminal work?
Virtual terminal credit card processing is very similar to traditional eCommerce payment processing, except that virtual terminal orders originate over the phone, while online eCommerce orders start on your company’s website. Here’s how the virtual terminal works in a nutshell:
A customer calls your business, and a support representative answers the phone.
After talking with support, the customer decides to place an order, or wants to pay a bill.
Your support staff representative logs into the virtual terminal, accessible from any internet browser, on their computer. They input the customer’s credit card number, expiration date, and shipping information into a secure payment page online.
The payment gateway processes the payment behind the scenes, capturing the transaction request, and presents an approval or decline message to your support staff member.
The transaction is complete, and payment has been made! Your business receives the funds in your merchant account within a few days.
Some important things to note about an online virtual terminal:
You can accept credit/debit card and ACH payments via virtual terminal. With some gateways, you can even set up recurring payments for subscriptions.
You don’t have to worry about storing credit card data on your own network because the payment gateway stores it for you. The gateway you choose should comply with SAQ-D, Level 1 Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) regulations to ensure your payment environment is as secure as possible.
Also, some payment gateways (like BlueSnap!) give you access to advanced fraud-prevention tools. With the right level of protection, you’ll know immediately if a credit card is being used fraudulently, which minimizes the number of fraudulent transactions that actually get processed.
What are the advantages of virtual terminal credit card processing?
It’s more convenient for your customers.
Some customers may prefer to pay with a credit card, either to earn rewards or because it helps them better manage their spending. If you’re a B2B company, your customers might also find it more convenient (and easier) to use a corporate card.
You get paid faster.
Your existing invoice process is probably fairly lengthy—by the time you send out invoices, wait 30 days or longer to receive a check, and then deposit it in your bank account your accountant has probably asked “Is it here yet?” too many times to count. A slow payment cycle compounds the issue of slow-paying customers. Virtual terminal credit card processing speeds up the payment process, which is good for everyone involved.
You minimize the impact of unsuccessful payments.
If a customer has insufficient funds to cover a check, you’ll have to chase them down, dragging the payment process out even more. With credit card payments, you’ll know immediately whether or not the funds are available. If they are available, they’ll be on their way to you in just a few short days. If not, you can display an error message that directs the customer to try another card, resolving the issue right then and there.
Interested in learning more about BlueSnap’s virtual credit card terminal?
Large or small, website or no website, your business can start benefiting immediately from virtual terminal credit card processing with BlueSnap. It’s an integral part of our All-in-One Payment Platform, which means you’ll get to take advantage of our intelligent payment routing technology, world-class fraud protection, and award-winning subscription engine.
And in addition to taking orders over the phone, you’ll also have the ability to send secure payment links to customers via email along with your invoices and price quotes. Clicking on the link takes customers to a secure payment page, where they can enter in their own billing and shipping information. Not only does this method give shoppers greater peace of mind since they don’t have to give payment information over the phone, but it’s also another way for you to process transactions quickly and easily.