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Virtual Terminal FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions about Virtual Terminal.


How is Virtual Terminal different from using Square Invoices?

You can use both Square’s online invoices and Virtual Terminal to bill your customers via the online Square Dashboard.

  • Invoices: Ideal for sellers who don’t need to instantly collect payment, want to bill their customers via email, or set up recurring payments. Customers will receive an emailed invoice and enter their payment card details on their end. Learn more about sending Square Invoices.
  • Virtual Terminal: Suited for sellers who want to immediately charge their customers using a computer, either in person or remotely, for orders received over the phone or email.

Can I accept Afterpay with Virtual Terminal?

Yes! If you’re eligible to accept Afterpay, you can send your customer a payment link. Payment links are a secure payment method customers can use to pay right from their mobile device using their debit or credit card—including mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay—or via Afterpay where available.

Payment links are for taking Afterpay payments in real-time, like while you’re on the phone with the customer. The link will expire if you close the window or if the customer doesn’t pay as soon as the link has been opened.

What are the fees to accept payments on my computer?

There are no additional fees to swipe credit cards on your computer beyond Square’s processing fee. The fee for swiping a card on Virtual Terminal is 2.6% + 10¢ of the total amount being charged. If you’re manually entering the card details, the fee is 3.5% + 15¢ due to the higher risk involved in accepting this type of payment.

Learn more about Square’s processing fees and why fees for manually-entered transactions are higher.

How do I charge a card using Virtual Terminal?

You can take a payment with Virtual Terminal by manually entering the card details or by swiping a card on your Apple or Chromebook computer using the Square Reader for magstripe.

Alternatively, you can use Square Charge for Desktop to process payments directly through your desktop (available on Mac OS version 10.11 or higher only).

What payment details do I need to collect from my customer to manually enter a payment?

You’ll need the following information to accept a manually entered payment with Virtual Terminal:

  • Card number
  • Expiration date
  • Billing Zip Code

We also provide you a field to include a note for your records, with a length of up to 60 characters. If your customer has requested a digital payment confirmation, you can provide their email or mobile number. This will be used to automatically send your customer a customized digital payment confirmation of the transaction.

Note: The note field is for your records and you should not record personal, card or other sensitive information in that field.

Can I add items, taxes, and discounts to a sale with Virtual Terminal?

Yes. You’re able to add existing items from your Item Library to a sale, including modifiers, taxes, and discounts. You’re also able to apply discounts and taxes to a single-use custom amount or item using the Itemized Sale option.

Can I add a tip to a sale with Virtual Terminal?

Yes, when taking an itemized sale or a Quick Charge payment in Virtual Terminal, you can click Add Tip, then select an amount of 10%, 15%, 20%, or add a custom tip amount. To enable Tipping in regions where Tipping is available, from the Virtual Terminal Overview page, click on Settings > Checkout. Toggle on Collect Tips and then make any desired changes to settings and click Save. “Add Tip” will display in the payment page and be clickable once you add in an amount to the cart.

Can I split a payment with Virtual Terminal?

Yes, you can split a payment so your customer can pay by multiple payment methods. You can also record cash or other tender payments for record purposes.

If I split a payment with Virtual Terminal, will I be charged for each credit or debit card?

Yes, there is a per transaction fee for split payments on card. You will not be charged if you are recording the split payments as cash or other tender payment methods.

Can I add a tip to a sale using split tender payments with Virtual Terminal?

No, the Add Tip feature is not available when splitting tender payments. Simply add the tip to the original payment amount before splitting.

Can I add service charges to a sale with Virtual Terminal?

Yes. You can create or add service charges to Virtual Terminal payments to cover additional fees on top of the original amount and add them to your payment links. Service charges can include shipping costs, bag fees, or handling expenses, and they can be customized to include a default or percentage amount.

To create service charges for Virtual Terminal payments:

  1. From your online Square Dashboard, go to Settings > Account & Settings.
  2. Click on Business information > Service charges and choose Create a service charge to enter the service charge information:

  • Enter the name for your service charge (e.g. packing fee)
  • Enter the percentage or amount
  • Choose whether or not the service charges will be taxable
  • Choose the location(s) where this service charge will apply, click Save and select Add.

To add the service charge you created to the sale:

  1. From your online Square Dashboard, select Virtual Terminal > Take a payment. If you don’t see Virtual Terminal, select Payments > Virtual Terminal > Take a payment.
  2. Choose if you want to charge an itemized sale or process a Quick Charge. Under “Transaction details”, choose the purchased items, or manually enter the amount to be charged. Note: You can edit taxes to be charged for each item by clicking on the item name.
  3. Select Add service charge.
  4. Choose the service charge you created, or Create service charge.

Important: Make sure to let your customer know about any service charges before you proceed.

  1. Click Add to add the service charge to the sale, then enter Payment details, customer information and choose payment method. Note: You can select Add additional service charge to add more than one service charge to the sale and repeat the process.
  2. Click Charge to charge the total amount, including applicable taxes and service charges.The service charge will show as a line item in your customer’s invoice and receipt and in your report details.

You can enable or disable service charges from your online Square Dashboard by selecting Virtual Terminal > Settings > Checkout, and toggling on or off the “Allow service charges” option.

Does Virtual Terminal work with Card on File?

Yes, you can securely store and charge a customer’s card on file using Virtual Terminal by manually entering or swiping your customer’s card.

Square’s processing fee for Card on File payments is 3.5% + 15¢.

Can I schedule recurring payments with Virtual Terminal?

Yes, you can schedule recurring quick-charge or itemized sales using a customer’s Card on File. Learn how to schedule and manage Recurring Payments with Virtual Terminal.

How do I charge an international card using Virtual Terminal?

When you are processing card payments on the Virtual Terminal, if the card was issued in the following countries: United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, you will need to enter a postal code.

Note: Payments will not be processed without a valid postal code.

Postal codes are used as an additional form of security to verify the card is being used by the cardholder or authorised person.

Can I use Virtual Terminal to swipe, dip, or tap payments?

You can manually enter and swipe credit card transactions from the Virtual Terminal Overview page in your online Square Dashboard by selecting Take a Payment. Swiped payments can be processed using a Square Reader for magstripe with an Apple or Chromebook computer using Safari or Chrome.

To accept chip and contactless payments with a Square Contactless and Chip Reader, download Square Point of Sale on an iOS or Android device.

Can Virtual Terminal payments be transferred using instant or same day transfers?

Yes, Virtual Terminal payments can be sent to your linked bank account using any of Square’s transfer options.

Can I swipe card payments while I’m offline?

No, your computer must have an internet connection in order to sign in to your online Square Dashboard and process a payment using Virtual Terminal.

Can I use an extension cable to make swiping easier?

Yes, you’re able to use an audio jack extension to help make swiping easier. Connect the Square Reader for magstripe to the extension cable, then connect the cable to your computer’s headphone jack.

The Square Reader for magstripe has a standard 3.5mm headset plug and there aren’t any variations in size.

Audio jack extenders or extension cables aren’t officially supported so we can’t guarantee compatibility, but some merchants have had success with the following:

  • iPhone – iPod A/V Extension Cable
  • Card reader adapter
  • Sescom iAdapt iPhone/iPad TRRS Plug to TRRS Jack Adapter

Sellers have also found laptop stands useful to make swiping easier.

How do I see transactions processed through Virtual Terminal?

Payments processed using Virtual Terminal will be included in your sales reports. Visit the Sales section of your online Square Dashboard and click Transactions. You can also view full transaction details, including the payment source, by exporting your Transactions CSV.

Can I customize how a transaction shows up on my customer’s card statement?

Yes, you can customize the Statement Identification field, also known as Billing Descriptor, for any transactions taken on Virtual Terminal. This Statement ID field has a limit of 20 characters, including spaces, to help you and your customer identify the transaction on their billing statements. If you are interested in this feature, please reach out to us so we can activate it on your account.

Should I provide an email or a mobile number for my customer?

You should only provide a customer email or mobile number if your customer has requested a digital payment confirmation. This email or mobile number will be used to automatically send your customer a digital payment confirmation of the transaction.

How can I process a refund for a transaction taken through Virtual Terminal?

You can process refunds directly from the Transactions section of your online Square Dashboard or Square app in the same way as any other payment. Learn how to process a refund.

Can my team member access Virtual Terminal if they do not have access to Square Dashboard?

Team members need to have access to the online Square Dashboard to use Virtual Terminal. Should you prefer limiting their access to taking payments, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Team > Team Members from your online Square Dashboard.
  2. Click the name of the team member whose permissions you’d like to update.
  3. Click Edit Role.
  4. If it has not been checked already, toggle on Access Dashboard.
  5. Tick Take Payments with Virtual Terminal. If applicable, check Manage Customer’s Cards on File and Use Customer Directory and Feedback to allow this team member to save and charge cards on file using Virtual Terminal.
  6. Click Save.

Troubleshooting FAQ

I am trying to swipe cards via Virtual Terminal but unable to accept payments. How do I troubleshoot this?

If you’re having issues swiping cards with Virtual Terminal:

  • Confirm you’re using an Apple Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, or Chromebook computer.
  • Confirm you’re using a supported browser, either Safari or Google Chrome.
  • Confirm you are using the Square Reader for magstripe.
  • Confirm you’ve allowed your browser access to your computer’s microphone, as this enables access to the headphone jack where the reader is connected.
  • Confirm your computer is connected to the internet.
  • Clear your browser’s cache.
  • Restart your computer, internet browser, and log in and out of your online Square Dashboard.