What Is A Virtual Terminal?

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 anywhere.

Virtual terminals are a great one-stop payment solution for businesses since they are built not only to accept card payments remotely, but for online invoicing and recurring billing as well. However, they can be more time-consuming to use than a card reader, making them much better suited to certain types of businesses. A few examples of this could include, but are not limited to, freelancers like photographers or graphic designers who often work remotely, or professional service providers like doctors, lawyers, and tax consultants who see their clients in office but also often take payments over the phone.

You can use a virtual terminal by accepting payments remotely, over the phone, and keying in the credit card numbers directly into your computer or mobile device. It’s also easy to use a virtual terminal for in-person payments by wirelessly connecting your computer to your Square Terminal.

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)
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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. This payment method currently works with Mac and Chromebook devices. 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. With virtual terminal transactions you can input card details and finalize sales with a few clicks.

What can I do with Square Virtual Terminal?

With Virtual Terminal, you can take over-the-phone payments by keying in cards, however, you can also take in-person payments by wirelessly connecting to Square Terminal, a checkout terminal that integrates with your computer.

You can use Virtual Terminal to:

  • Accept payments.
  • Issue receipts.
  • Set up an item library of goods and services, taxes, and discounts.
  • Create recurring payments.
  • Automatically sync transactions with accounting software as well as other Square solutions, like Square Point of Sale, Square Invoices, and more.

How much does Square Virtual Terminal cost?

Square Virtual Terminal is 2.6% + 10¢ per swipe, dip, or tap with a card, contactless, or via Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. Keyed-in debit or credit card payments taken over the phone are 3.5% + 15¢ per typed-in transaction.

Payment processing fees will vary depending on how the transactions are processed. You can keep track of your sales, connect with customers, track inventory, and much more from your Square Dashboard, free with every Square account.