Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Credit Card Processing with Virtual Terminal

Credit Card Processing with Virtual TerminalBusinesses contacting us with requests for information on our services often seem to confuse virtual terminals with payment gateways. They are not quite clear on what each services does. Additionally, many of them still process payments key-entering the card information into a point-of-sale terminal's keypad, rather than do it through a virtual terminal. But then, that should be expected, considering tha t they don't know what a virtual terminal is.

So with this article I will try to provide the missing information and hopefully, make your decision making process a bit easier.

Virtual Terminal Basics

So virtual terminal is an internet-based service that enables businesses to take credit card payments by key-entering the transaction information, through a browser form, directly into the merchant account provider's payment system.

Once a payment processing account is established, the business gets a direct access to the processor's back end. Multiple user accounts can be created, each with a separate log-in. Then each user can access the service from anywhere web access is present and process payments or refunds, but also to only request transaction authorizations, without actually submitting the payment for clearing and settlement. You may want to do this if you need additional time to research the transaction.

If your business accepts payments on your own website, you will get the virtual terminal as part of your payment gateway package, at no additional charge. The most widely used gateway is Authorize.Net, which UniBul Merchant Services offers for free.

Reasons for Using Virtual Terminal

More than anything else, it is convenience. If you accept credit card and / or check payments over the phone or in the mail, there just isn't a more convenient tool to enable you to do that. You manually manually enter the information into a payment form within your browser and click submit. It is mush easier than using a telephone keypad.

The reason some businesses still use the phone option is mainly habit. It is absolutely fine to do it this way, however a virtual terminal is much easier.

Virtual Terminal Cost Considerations

Virtual terminal fees vary by vendors and processors. Here are some guidelines to look for:
  • Set-up fee. You should not be paying any set -up fees, whatever your prospective processor tries to convince you.
  • Monthly service fees. Again, virtual terminals can come on their own or as part of a payment gateway package, which affects the pricing. It ranges anywhere from $0 to $30, but you should evaluate it as part of the whole pricing agreement.
  • Processing rate. The processing rate can vary widely, but the more confusing thing is that there are multiple pricing models. You should select an interchange-plus model, where the processor charges you no more than 0.50% + $0.10 above interchange. Alternatively, you can consider a flat rate pricing structure.

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