Virtual terminals have been a lifesaver for many businesses around the globe, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Virtual terminals are programs that allow stores to accept payment by credit and debit card without the physical card. The software also accommodates other types of payment, including checks and cash, via wireless and wired connections to cash drawers.
Apart from allowing businesses of all types to accept payment remotely, the primary benefit of virtual terminals is the convenience the systems provide to customers. Virtual terminals put more control in the hands of customers while also providing faster and more accurate transactions. Retailers need to make sure the features provided in their virtual terminal merchant account and their links to merchant account services are a good match for their size and operation, today and in the future.
Virtual Terminals Are Impacting Business
Virtual terminals link to the business’s merchant account or payment service to complete credit card and debit card transactions. A merchant account is a line of credit that allows your business to accept your customers’ credit card payments. Once the funds have cleared, they are deposited into your business’s bank account, which typically occurs within 48 hours.
The contract for a virtual terminal merchant account may include relatively high fees and limitations, such as a minimum amount required for credit charges. The contract terms are often difficult to change, and they may not cover the cost of the hardware required to run the virtual terminal software.
By contrast, payment acceptance services integrate payment services with your store’s POS system without requiring a separate merchant account. In addition to being scalable to keep upfront costs low, the services usually charge fewer fees and involve less onerous contract terms.
How Your Retail Business Can Benefit from Virtual Terminals
Virtual terminals are used by a range of businesses beyond restaurants and retail stores including medical and other professional offices and mobile services such as pet groomers and lawn services. The benefits of virtual terminals for these businesses focus on meeting customer expectations and running more efficiently with the ability to:
- Link with customers and complete transactions anywhere an internet connection is available.
- Accept the payment types that are most popular with customers, including credit and debit cards, checks, and cash.
- Automatically store customer payment information to facilitate their future purchases.
- Send customers their receipts via text or email in addition to printed receipts via wired or wireless connections to mobile printers.
- Allow customers to split bills and use more than one payment type.
- Save on hardware costs and ongoing maintenance because the virtual terminals run on standard computers, tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.
Aspects to Consider When Choosing a Virtual Terminal Solution
The first step in selecting a virtual terminal merchant account is to assess your business’s needs. Once you know where you are, you can decide where you want to go.
What are your customers’ most popular payment methods today, and what will be their preferred payment options in the future? Technology continues to evolve and improve, so whichever virtual terminal approach you opt for today has to be adaptable to accommodate not only upcoming innovations but also the unexpected market and industry conditions of the future.
Perhaps the most important aspect of virtual terminals for restaurants, retailers, and other businesses is their ability to save your company money. Some virtual terminal vendors charge high transaction fees in addition to initial setup fees and monthly fees that reduce the per-transaction fee. There are additional hidden fees like the management expense of fraudulent charges, disputes, chargebacks, and guarantee funds.
Ensure that the virtual terminal service you use supports the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) which offers the highest level of protection for internet transactions and other digital payments.
Consider the quality of the virtual terminal vendor’s customer support; this can be the difference that keeps a small technical hiccup from becoming a major outage and a revenue-losing disaster. Virtual terminal vendors are often highly automated operations that may not make 24/7 support services a high priority.
Make sure the virtual terminal you choose supports the features your store needs such as recurring billing, online invoicing, or API integration. Most importantly, the virtual terminal must be fast, simple, and accurate for your business’s customers so that they’ll return to your store for their future needs.
Virtual Terminal Merchant Account Agreement Considerations
As with any contract, you must be sure you understand all the terms and conditions of your agreement for merchant account services. You also need to confirm that the contract terms are not hindering your ability to conduct business or to grow your operation. For example, the service must support payments made with digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, and the agreement must be flexible enough to accommodate future payment innovations.
The data provided by your merchant account service should help provide you with an up-to-date picture of your current revenue streams and costs. This allows you to more accurately project your business expenses, revenue allocations, and investment of profits. Not only does this give you a clearer view of your business’s current financial status, but it also helps point the way to the most promising opportunities for expansion.
The most efficient way to integrate the information from your virtual terminal merchant account is by combining it with a cloud-based POS solution that serves as the technology foundation for your business. With cloud-based POS, you have a multi-channel operation ready to go, providing your customers with a seamless experience whether they’re buying online or in person. In addition, the money your business saves as a result of using virtual terminals is returned to customers in the form of lower prices and enhanced services.
Virtual terminals make customers happy and save restaurants, retailers, and other businesses money. It’s hard to ignore a technology that adds up to a win-win for you and your customers.
When you partner with talech for your retail technology needs, we devote our time to identifying your business challenges like providing the best virtual terminal to use with merchant accounts. We use this information to work with you to apply an innovative POS solution that levels the playing field. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.
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