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Get Started with Virtual Terminal

Square Virtual Terminal

Accept and record payments on your computer.

Square Virtual Terminal allows you to quick charge or build itemized carts without any hardware—all from your laptop or desktop computer. Virtual Terminal is ideal for remote billing or taking card payments over the phone. You can also connect Square Terminal with Virtual Terminal to create a seamless and wireless in-person checkout experience.



There are several ways to accept payments with Virtual Terminal:

Payment Type Fee per transaction
Manually-entered card payments 3.5% + 15¢
Card on File payments 3.5% + 15¢
Swiped card payments 2.6% + 10¢
Manually entering Square physical or eGift cards 3.5% + 15¢
In-person payments when you connect Square Terminal with Virtual Terminal 2.6% + 10¢ per transaction per tap, dip, or swipe. Pay 3.5% + 15¢ when you key in a credit or debit card number manually.
SMS Payment Links Variable rates — customers can pay via their digital wallet or Afterpay.
Record cash payment* -
Record cash payment* -

*There is no fee to accept other tender types. When you accept other tender types, Square doesn’t process any funds and functions only as an organisational tool. Money for these transactions is exchanged directly between you and your customer and will not be transferred by Square.

Note: No Square hardware is required to manually enter payments or accept card on file payments for once-off or recurring transactions using Virtual Terminal. A Square Terminal is required for in-person payments through Virtual Terminal.

Learn more about how processing fees and rates work.

Accept Payments with Virtual Terminal

To manually enter card payments, card on file or gift cards and record cash or other tender transactions:

  1. From the Virtual Terminal Overview page, select Take a Payment.

  2. Under “Transaction details,” click the drop-down menu to enter a custom amount or select an item from your item library. You can also choose from the “Frequently used” section.

  3. Optional: Add a new or existing customer to the sale or an optional note.

  4. If applicable, add a discount or tip. 

  5. Once you’ve confirmed your transaction details, click Next.

  6. Under “Payment details,” choose your payment method. You can also Split payment across multiple payment methods.

  7. Review the transaction details, then click Charge.

  8. After you see “Payment Recorded,” you can print or send a digital receipt to your customer via email or SMS.

Keyboard shortcuts

Checkout even faster with our keyboard shortcuts on Virtual Terminal.

  1. Start typing in an amount or enter the name from your item library. Automatically add it to the sale by pressing Enter or Return.

  2. Once you've completed building your cart, press Enter from the "Add an amount or item" field to proceed to the payment details screen.

  3. Press Tab until you reach the payment type, then press Enter twice.

Additional Payment Methods

Accept Swipe Payments from a Computer

To swipe a card payment with a Square Reader for Magstripe:

  1. From the Virtual Terminal Overview page, select Take a Payment.
  2. Plug your Square Reader for Magstripe into the headphone jack of an Apple or Chromebook computer using Safari or Chrome.
  3. Under “Transaction details,” click the drop-down menu to enter a custom amount or select an item from your item library. You can also choose from the “Frequently used” section.
  4. Optional: Add a new or existing customer to the sale or an optional note.
  5. Under “Payment Method,” select Swipe Card.
  6. Swipe the card or click Charge, then swipe.

Once you see Payment Successful, you’re all set and can print or send a digital receipt to your customer via email or SMS message. You can review and confirm this payment was successful from Transactions in your online Square Dashboard.

Watch our YouTube Video to learn how to set up Square Reader on Virtual Terminal.

Accept Split Tender Payments with Virtual Terminal

You can split a transaction into multiple payments of any tender in Virtual Terminal. When checking out a customer:

  1. Go through the checkout flow from Virtual Terminal.
  2. Add an optional note to the sale and select the reporting location. Click Next.
  3. Click Split payment in the top-right corner.
  4. Enter the first payment amount. You can select from Manually enter card, Customer card on file, Manually enter gift card, Record cash payment or Record other payment. You can also connect Square Terminal with Virtual Terminal for contactless in-person payments.
  5. You also have the option to edit the split or cancel a completed payment should you need to change the amount or payment method. If you cancel one of the payment methods, ensure you complete the sale otherwise, it will be voided entirely. To cancel, click Reset split in the top-right corner.
  6. If the payment failed, you can review the payment details to try again.
  7. Continue processing the split payment amounts until the entire sale has been completed. You can send the customer a digital receipt via email or text message for the completed sale.

Note: Split payments do not currently support tips. To include a tip in a split payment, add it to your cart as a custom amount before selecting the “split payment” option.

Recurring Payments with Virtual Terminal

Streamline and automate your recurring payments right from your computer with Virtual Terminal. Save time, get paid on time, improve your cash flow and enhance customer relationships by easily scheduling recurring custom amounts or itemized sales for your repeat customers.

To accept recurring payments using Virtual Terminal, add a customer with a valid email and Card on File. The processing fee for card on file payments for 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction.

Note: The first charge in the recurring series will occur immediately in Virtual Terminal. All subsequent charges will occur via recurring invoices which you can manage from your online Square Dashboard > Invoices. Your customer will receive a digital receipt for this and all subsequent recurring charges.

Learn more about scheduling recurring payments with Virtual Terminal.

You can view and manage your recurring payments at any time from your online Square Dashboard. To do so:

  1. Go to Invoices.
  2. Click Recurring.
  3. Select a recurring series from the list to view, edit, or end.

Learn more about scheduling recurring payments with Virtual Terminal.

Connect Square Terminal to Virtual Terminal

Virtual Terminal on your laptop or desktop computer can wirelessly connect to one Square Terminal or many Square Terminal devices at a time for contactless in-person payments.

Learn how to connect Square Terminal to Virtual Terminal.

Send SMS Payment Link

Send a link via SMS for your customer to complete checkout using Square Online Checkout or Afterpay.

Learn how to send a payment link via text message using Square Terminal.

Configure Virtual Terminal Settings

Overview Page for Virtual Terminal

The Virtual Terminal Overview page will show you all of the transactions you’ve taken at a specific location. You can switch between locations using the location drop-down menu.

To filter your transactions, use the “Filter Activity” drop-down menu to see only certain line items based on Transactions and/or Refunds. You can also filter by date.

If you select a specific transaction, you’ll be able to view more details, as well as send the receipt or issue a refund.

Settings for Checkout

Go to Settings > Checkout from the Virtual Terminal Overview page to configure default transaction and tipping settings for Virtual Terminal.

You can customize the payment method types you accept, and arrange them in the order you’d like them to be displayed. The payment types you enable and disable will be reflected on the payment details in Virtual Terminal.

You can also choose to Collect Tips, and add your default tip amounts. Toggle Smart Tip Amounts so that charges under $10 add whole number tip amounts to the tipping flow, and charges over $10 add percentage tip amounts to the tipping flow.

When done changing your settings for Virtual Terminal, select Save.

Customize Transaction ID on Your Customer’s Statements

When a customer makes a purchase from a Square seller, the transaction will show on their billing statement with an identification descriptor. By default, these descriptors begin with SQ followed by your BUSINESS_NAME.

Virtual Terminal has a customizable Statement Identification field to personalize this descriptor per order. Simply enter in your 20-character descriptor during checkout to help your customer easily identify a past transaction at your business.

If you are interested in this feature, contact Square Customer Success so we can activate it on your account.

Give Team Member Access to Use Virtual Terminal

You can configure your Team Management settings to grant access to Virtual Terminal. Before you can get started, you’ll need to create at least one team member.

Team members who wish to save customer information and charge a card on file using Virtual Terminal must have the following permissions enabled for their permission set:

  • View, Edit, Create and Delete Customer Directory Data
  • Add and Remove Customer Cards on File
  • Use Virtual Terminal

To give a team member access to Virtual Terminal:

  1. Go to Staff > Team > Permissions from your online Square Dashboard.
  2. Select the permission set the team member is assigned to.
  3. Check Use Virtual Terminal. If applicable, check Add and Remove Customer Cards on File and View, Edit, Create and Delete Customer Directory Data to allow this team member to save and charge cards on file using Virtual Terminal.
  4. Click Continue > Select the access points that the team member can use their permissions at.
  5. Click Save.

Note: Changes made to permission sets apply to all team members assigned to that permission set. Learn more about managing permission sets and permissions.

After you grant Virtual Terminal access to your team member, they’ll receive an email with instructions for setting up their account. Team members will be able to see only the account elements to which you have granted access.

Note: Permissions are only available through Square’s Team Management.

Accept Payments with Square Charge for Desktop

Never miss a sale again with Square Charge for Desktop, a free app that lets you process digital payments quickly and easily without a web browser.

Note: At this time, Square Charge is only available for Square sellers and Apple Mac users running version 10.11 (El Capitan) or newer.

Learn more about Square Charge for Desktop, including how to take a payment or how to use keyboard shortcuts to make processing payments even faster.

Save Customer Information with Virtual Terminal

Square’s Customer Directory and Card on File features make it easier to save and charge returning customers using your online Square Dashboard.

When you accept a payment using Virtual Terminal, you’ll be given the option to save the customer’s name and payment card to their profile in your Customer Directory for future payments. You’re also able to securely store a customer’s card on file from your Customer Directory.

Learn more about: Point of Sale

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