COVID-19 resources
Alise Bailey, Editor
Square

If your business often needs to take bookings and payments over the phone, then a virtual terminal is just what you need to complete payments. A virtual terminal can make it easier than ever to get paid even when customers aren’t present, by allowing you to take payments from your computer.

What is a Virtual Terminal?

A virtual terminal is just like your physical credit card machine, except that it’s hosted online. This means you can turn any computer into a fully-fledged credit card machine, so you can accept payments anytime and (if a laptop is your weapon of choice) anywhere.

Virtual terminals are a great one-stop payment solution for businesses. However, they can be more time-consuming to use than a card reader, making them much better suited to certain types of businesses.

What types of businesses can use a virtual terminal?

Any business can use a virtual terminal. Virtual terminals do require information to be typed in before a sale to be completed, however. Depending on your virtual system of choice, this can range from name, address, currency, phone number and invoice number. Square’s Virtual Terminal requires the following to complete a sale in seconds:

  • Order amount
  • Card number
  • Expiration date
  • CVV
  • Billing zipcode
  • Notes (optional)
Get Started with Virtual Terminal

Easily accept card-not-present payments.

While it’s quick and easy to use, it still requires more time to complete a payment this way than using the Square Reader, where customers can just swipe, dip, or tap and go. So businesses that take orders over the phone, like catering businesses, or take payments that confirm bookings, like professional services, that can best benefit from a virtual terminal.

Do I need any hardware to use a virtual terminal?

The beauty of virtual terminals is that they’re accessible from any computer. Card details can be input and sales finalized with a few clicks. This means you don’t have to pay for extra hardware. If you have a computer, you can accept card payments. Simple.

How much does Square Virtual Terminal cost?

The Square Virtual Terminal is just 2.6% + 10¢ per swipe, and 3.5% + 15¢ per typed-in transaction. You can keep track of your sales, connect with customers, track inventory and much more from your Square Dashboard, free with every Square account.

Alise is an editor at Square, where she writes about how to start, run, and grow a business, highlighting our sellers around the world.