Virtual Terminals for Processing Credit and Debit Cards

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Libby James
Merchant Services Expert

Libby James is co-founder, director and an expert in all things merchant services. Libby is the go-to specialist for business with more complex requirements or businesses that are struggling to find a provider that will accept them. Libby is regularly cited in trade, national and international media.

Virtual Terminals for Processing Credit and Debit Cards Explained

Are you looking to accept credit and debit card payments for your business but don’t have a physical card terminal? No worries! With virtual terminals, you can securely process card payments online or over the phone. In this article, we’ll provide you with a user-focused, friendly explanation of virtual terminals and how they can benefit your business. Let’s dive in!

What Are Virtual Terminals and How Do They Work?

Virtual terminals are online payment processing systems that allow businesses to accept credit and debit card payments without a physical card terminal. They serve as a virtual counterpart to traditional point-of-sale terminals, enabling you to process card transactions from anywhere with an internet connection.


When using a virtual terminal, you can manually enter the card details provided by your customers or securely capture them through an encrypted online form. The information is then transmitted to your payment gateway, which verifies the transaction and securely processes the payment. This seamless process ensures that your customers’ payment data remains protected.

Advantages of Virtual Terminals for Businesses

Virtual terminals offer several advantages for businesses, making them an attractive payment solution. Here are some key benefits:


Flexibility: Virtual terminals allow you to accept payments from anywhere, whether you’re in a physical store, working remotely, or operating an online business. This flexibility enables you to serve your customers wherever they are, expanding your reach and convenience.


Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to traditional card terminals, virtual terminals often have lower setup and maintenance costs. You don’t need to invest in physical hardware or pay for additional phone lines. This affordability makes virtual terminals an accessible option for businesses of all sizes.


Enhanced Security: Virtual terminals prioritise the security of your customers’ payment information. They utilise encryption technology and comply with industry standards to safeguard sensitive data. By processing payments securely, you build trust with your customers and protect your business from potential fraud.


Streamlined Operations: With a virtual terminal, you can simplify your payment processes. The system automates tasks like transaction recording, generating receipts, and tracking sales data. This streamlining saves time and allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.

How to Set Up and Use a Virtual Terminal

Setting up and using a virtual terminal is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide:


Choose a Reliable Payment Service Provider: Select a reputable payment service provider that offers virtual terminal services. Look for features like robust security measures, competitive pricing, and excellent customer support.


Account Setup: Sign up for an account with the payment service provider and complete the necessary registration process. Provide the required business information and banking details.


Integration: Integrate the virtual terminal with your website or CRM system if needed. This integration enables a seamless payment experience for your customers.


Configure Payment Settings: Set up your preferred payment options, such as card types accepted and currency preferences. Customise your settings according to your business requirements.


Process Payments: To process a payment, enter the customer’s card details manually or securely capture them through an online form. Verify the information, and submit the transaction for processing.


Track and Manage Transactions: Monitor and manage your transactions using the reporting and analytics features provided by your payment service provider. This data can help you gain insights into your sales performance and customer behaviour.

FAQs about Virtual Terminals

Commonly Asked Questions
Is it safe to process payments through a virtual terminal?
Yes, processing payments through a virtual terminal is safe when using a reputable payment service provider. They employ robust security measures like encryption and comply with industry standards to protect sensitive payment data.
Can I use a virtual terminal for recurring payments or subscriptions?
Absolutely! Virtual terminals support recurring payments and subscriptions, making them ideal for businesses that offer subscription-based services or products.
What types of businesses can benefit from virtual terminals?
Virtual terminals are beneficial for a wide range of businesses, including e-commerce stores, service providers, non-profit organisations, and even brick-and-mortar retailers. Any business that needs a flexible and convenient payment solution can benefit from using virtual terminals.
How long does it take to set up a virtual terminal?
The setup time for a virtual terminal varies depending on the payment service provider you choose and the complexity of your business requirements. Typically, the setup process can be completed within a few business days.

Merchant Advice Service (MAS)

We can help you navigate the world of virtual terminals and choose the right payment solution for your business. Our team of experts specialises in providing tailored guidance and support. To learn more about how MAS can assist you, visit our Merchant Accounts page.



Virtual terminals provide a versatile and cost-effective solution for businesses looking to accept credit and debit card payments without the need for a physical terminal. They not only offer enhanced security and streamlined operations but are also particularly beneficial for small businesses aiming to expand their reach. 


By choosing a reliable payment processor, businesses can ensure smooth credit card processing, keeping transaction fees transparent and manageable. Whether you’re accepting card payments online via web browsers or manually entering type of card details, virtual terminals cater to your needs, eliminating the hassle of monthly fees and fostering trust with your customers. 


It’s essential to ensure that your bank account is linked correctly with your chosen payment processor, and to be aware of the card issuer’s policies. With the rise of e-commerce and the need for businesses to adapt to the digital age, making the switch to virtual terminals could be a game-changer.

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Libby James

Libby James Co-founded Merchant Advice Service alongside David Bird in 2016. Her finance background, coupled with retail and customer service experience, gave Libby the drive to bring transparency and non-biased advice to the world of merchant services. Having come from the heavily regulated mortgage and insurance industry, Libby found it puzzling that other financial sectors lacked regulation and transparency leaving customers confused and unable to make informed decisions when it came to accepting card payments. This was soon to become Libby’s obsession!

With the help of some of the industry’s best, Libby began to research acquiring banks, complex terminology/regulation, and the problems customers experience within merchant services and payment gateway markets. She spent years on sourcing solutions for complex clients, which previously others were unable to assist with. Libby established relationships with brokers and banks which would soon form the cornerstone of Merchant Advice Service. As a result Libby has been featured in high-profile publications across the web.

Libby is proud to be the entrepreneur’s champion, supporting start-up businesses regularly. Her industry insights can often be found on LinkedIn where she provides free of charge advice and money saving pointers. It’s safe to say she has her finger on the pulse of everything card payments related.

Libby speaks of her experience in founding and running Merchant Advice Service…

‘Merchant Advice Service is one of my greatest achievements to date. We help business owners to overcome card processing issues which can become detrimental to their business. We assist SME’s in finding suitable card payments solutions, helping them create their vision. Each and every day is different, exciting and fore filling. As technology advances I can’t wait to see the way in which the merchant services market advances, and I’m pleased that our business will play a part in educating company owners along the way.’

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