So you are considering buying a virtual terminal for your business? But how do they work, what are the costs and where can you get one?

This review is the top guide to virtual terminals including all the benefits, how they work, all costs and the top providers. Ready, let’s go!

What is a Virtual Terminal?

A virtual terminal is an online application which allows businesses take card payments using a device connected to the internet. Usually the customer is not present when the payment is processed. They will be on the phone or will have mailed in. These types of transactions are referred to as ‘MOTO’ (mail order telephone order), as opposed to face-to-face and online transactions.

Unlike traditional POS terminals which have limited functionality, virtual terminals can handle recurring payments. The business is in control of the entire process. They can also help retail businesses to find new online customers.  

When it comes to reducing costs and added security, look no further than a virtual terminal. They are a great alternative to having an expensive card machine. The lack of a physical card at processing gives an extra layer of security to the business and customer.

How do they work?

A virtual terminal is an advanced technology which can be used by following the process outlined below.

  • Log-in to online terminal: enter secure password and proceed to the payment function.
  • Enter information: input the personal details and payment information received via phone, mail or even fax. 
  • Process Payment: once confirmation is received, print a receipt or email receipt to customer.
  • Get paid: once approved, the customer account is charged with business receiving the corresponding funds.
  • Go again: businesses can quickly process an unlimited number of transactions.

Virtual Terminal Costs?

The cost of a virtual terminal will vary and will depend on the merchant services provider and the package offered. Usually an extra fee will be charged for the service. The fees which you can expect are outlined below.  

Virtual Terminal Costs
Company Rental Fee Transaction Fee Monthly Transactions
Secure Trading £10 upwards 10p 100
CardSave £9.95 upwards Plan dependent 350
PayPal £20 upwards 1.9% – 3.4% + 20p 100+
WorldPay £7.50 upwards 2.75% + 20p + 10p 100+
PayPoint £10 upwards Plan dependent 100
SagePay £15 upwards Plan dependent 1,000*

* An additional £25 per month

If the virtual terminal costs are not included as part of a package, it is important to shop around. Usually, providers are flexible and open to discussing tailored-pricing, depending on monthly transaction volume.

Benefits of Virtual Terminals?

The best virtual terminals have many benefits for businesses. A number of these are listed below.

  • The business controls the entire transaction process and access to the terminal application.
  • It is a user-friendly interface and requires little training to operate.
  • A virtual terminal allows the business to swipe the payment card in-person.
  • Businesses can setup a recurring payment schedule that suits them.
  • It does not require data storage or a PCI DSS compliance requirement.
  • Grants access of online customer base to traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses.
  • Easily integrated into existing merchant services package.

Virtual Terminal Providers?

A wide range of companies provide virtual terminal services with a mixture of features. A list of the leading players below is below. 

  • Secure Trading
  1. Easy integration available.
  2. High-level fraud and transaction protection.
  3. Customisable payment forms.
  4. Real-time response to payment authorisation.
  5. Payments auditing through transaction viewer.
  • CardSave
  1. Well-known provider serving more than 60,000 businesses.
  2. Excellent Customer Support available.
  3. Transaction reporting and analysis tools provided.
  4. Choice of add-ons including WorldPay Benefits Club.
  5. 24/7 UK Customer Support.
  • PayPal
  1. Accepts major debit and credit cards from 200 markets.
  2. Phone and mail support available.
  3. Fraud protection and regular card verification checks.
  4. Full integration with card reader possible.
  5. Fast payment into bank account.
  • WorldPay
  1. Quick and easy to access with no technical setup.
  2. Payment compliance through ‘Saferpayments’ programme.
  3. Real-time reporting and risk management available.
  4. User-friendly interface provided.
  5. Enables merchants to free-up payment terminal. 
  • PayPoint
  1. Used by businesses across Europe.
  2. System programmed for multiple log-ins.
  3. Gives merchants access to repeat payment technology.
  4. Competitively priced service. 
  • SagePay
  1. Integratable into existing SagePay software.
  2. Designed with small businesses and call centres in mind.
  3. Business able to implement fraud prevention ‘self-check’.
  4. Payments can be accepted in a wide variety of currencies.