A guide to accepting payments online with virtual terminals

Though your customers may not be able to explain what a virtual terminal is, there’s a good chance they expect you as a business to accept payments with it. Whether you’re an online or brick-and-mortar operation (or both), a virtual terminal allows businesses to accept payments virtually anywhere, anytime.

Think of a virtual terminal as the digital equivalent of a physical point-of-sale (POS) system that you use to swipe cards. The difference is you don’t need specialized software or a card reader. Instead, virtual terminals let you accept payments wherever you have an internet connection, opening up the possibilities of where and how you can do business.

Read on to learn how your business can get started easily by accepting payments online with a virtual terminal.

How does a virtual terminal work?

Virtual terminals allow businesses to accept online and offline payments. In other words, virtual terminals can handle transactions made in person, over the phone, via fax or mail orders, and/or when the customer is not present.

How virtual terminals work is relatively simple: After a customer places an order, the business enters their card information and address details into the virtual terminal. Once the payment has been accepted and processed, the business gets paid, and the customer receives the product.

For example, with PayPal Virtual Terminal, merchants can enter a single transaction or multiple transactions with the corresponding customer details and billing information. After the merchant submits the payment, PayPal processes the transaction. If the payment is successful, the merchant is immediately credited for the amount paid. Learn how to use PayPal Virtual Terminal.

The benefits of a virtual terminal for your business

There are many reasons why businesses use virtual terminals. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Capture offline sales. Receive credit and debit card orders by phone, fax, mail, online, and/or when the customer isn’t present. You can also authorize payments, capture funds, void transactions, and issue refunds.
  • Save money on hardware and software. No expensive equipment or software to install — just use your computer.
  • Ship fast. If you choose PayPal as your virtual terminal, you can automatically create a packing slip.
  • Receive funds fast. After the transaction is approved, the payment usually shows up in your account in minutes.
  • Get reports and understand your analytics. Another benefit of using PayPal Virtual Terminal is it’s pre-integrated into all of PayPal's reporting systems so you can review and analyze your data.

Who should use a virtual terminal?

Many businesses can take advantage of using a virtual terminal, including merchants like:

  • Pet care
  • Remote freelancers and consultants
  • Travel agencies and service providers
  • Professional services
  • Childcare providers
  • Food service and delivery
  • Restaurants
  • E-commerce stores

Is a virtual terminal secure for your customers?

Wondering how a customer’s credit card is protected when using a virtual terminal? Simple: Virtual terminals verify a customer’s credit card and billing address to prevent credit card fraud. To process a transaction, businesses need to collect the cardholder’s name, credit card number, expiration date, CVV or security code, and billing address.

PayPal Virtual Terminal — Get Started Now

Ready to accept payments anywhere, anytime? Learn more about PayPal Virtual Terminal and the fees involved.

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