A virtual terminal payment gateway is an online tool that allows you to accept payments through your website. It’s like a credit card reader for an ecommerce store. The virtual terminal collects credit card information and shares it with your merchant account to complete a transaction.
Every company that sells products online needs a payment gateway to accept various types of payments. These payments can include credit cards, debit cards, google pay, ach payments or even cryptocurrency.
A virtual terminal integrates with your online store as when you install it on your website. Shopping cart platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce list the integrations that are most used with their site. Alternatively, some payment processors have their own custom code that they build with the payment gateway they’ve created.
At the point of transaction, a virtual terminal securely sends payment information to the parties involved. As a merchant your bank will receive this information and validate in less than a second. Once the transaction is approved, the confirmation appears on your customer’s screen as a checkout confirmation.
Unlike in-person terminals, an online payment gateway is free to install. You can easily access them through your payment processor. Besides the free integration, there may be a fee associated with each transaction. These fees are charges that occur every time someone makes a purchase. Oftentimes they’re bundled in with your overall payment processing fees which run from 2% – 5% of the purchase plus $0.10 per transaction.
The payment gateway fee you pay depends on your industry type. High risk industries pay a premium for their payment processing because banks take on added risk with their accounts. These types of industries include adult, CBD, firearms, and more. You find if your company is in one of these categories by looking at a high-risk industry list.
The best virtual terminal will have multiple key features that benefit both you and your customers. Be sure to find one that fits your business needs and helps increase shopping conversions and the overall customer experience. Moreover, as a merchant you’ll want one that helps organize your payment information, view past transactions, and creates reports.
Here is a list of the most important features to identify a top virtual terminal: