Being able to assure your business method is the most convenient for your customer is a priority in modern business. Credit and Debit Cards being accepted is a start, but staying ahead of your competition will probably require a Virtual Terminal and the skills to manage one effectively.
Using a virtual terminal, merchants have to log in using any web browser, go to the menu where the transaction can be processed and enter the customer’s data to the data board. Now that we’ve explained the basics, what are the real benefits of the virtual terminal?
Why use a virtual terminal?
A virtual terminal can be seen as an online credit card machine. Being online, it can be seen as having several advantages over physical terminals.
- Portability – There’s no need to waste time searching for a terminal that may be limited to parts of the town or city, or even not there if living in a very small village. Virtual terminals allow you to make a payment anywhere as long as there is internet and the customer has their credit card on hand.
- No rental fees – In most other systems, you’d need some sort of equipment to process payments and that can lead to additional rental fees for your company to worry about (if you don’t buy the item outright.) Neither of these scenarios need be an issue, however, if you use a virtual terminal. The only equipment you’ll need is a good internet connection and a computer that meets the system requirements.
- Instant reporting – Real-time data transfers and reports are a major advantage of all types of credit card machines. Instant access to sales reports allow managers to properly update someone’s finances and this is even more important if your business is a small one where keeping track of every purchase, pricing and your stock is crucial for your business’ success. With virtual terminals, you can track all this information and help update all departments of your business by sharing the changes with them.
- Automated billing – With a virtual terminal, you can also set up automated billing for recurring clients you work with regularly.
Another major benefit is reducing cases of fraud, but that’s something we’ll expand on in a short while.
Best businesses for virtual terminals
If your business needs to process electronic payments but lacks access to a customer’s physical credit card, virtual terminals are the best system you could hope for. Most virtual terminal users used to consist of mail and telephone order storeowners.
Now, it’s become highly popular amongst all types of retail jobs as more merchant service providers offer card readers compatible with computers. This does mean they can’t collect customer payments or debit card payments, but this can often be a small drawback compared to the benefits depending on your line of work.
Call centres, charities, jewellers, home appliance, doctors and beauticians are amongst the many types of smaller businesses taking advantage of the benefits of virtual terminals to the fullest. If one of these is your trade, what are you waiting for?
Keep things secure and reduce fraud
Now, back to a point mentioned earlier. Online transactions carry their own set of strengths and weaknesses when it comes to fraud. It can be difficult to detect a genuine order when the customer doesn’t need to present a physical credit card, though there are still ways to counter the risk of fraud.
Merchants should always treat several signs as red flags when it comes to taking orders. Some of the main examples would include:
- Suspicious address – Some countries, such as Russia, have a high reputation for fraudulent transactions. Keep an eye on where your orders are going to, especially if international orders are rare in your business.
- Strange quantities or items – Very large, bulk orders are ones that should seem suspicious. If the only variation in the item is size or colour, be wary of it being false.
- Serial address orders – If you have many different credit card orders going to the same place, this should make it obvious that the customer may be a fraud. A couple of differences is fine for a general household. A dozen or so is a red flag.
- Strange address – An order that’s shipped to an anonymous location to hide the customer’s true identity if a definite sign of fraud. Be very wary when shipping to a commercial address beyond the standard.
After that, focusing on the checkout process is highly important. Things to look out for at that point would be:
- CVV Codes – Asking for a customer’s CVV code or billing ZIP code will be a big step in proving they’re genuine.
- AVS – An Address Verification Service will tell you if the address given by the customer matches that on their credit card.
- Tokenisation – This method hides the customer’s information in a virtual database vault whilst their public data is replaced with a substitute token. This form of data encryption makes it a lot more difficult for them to have their information stolen by scammers.
No matter what kind of business you have or what ambitions of success you hold, the first true step towards any of that is having the security to accomplish your goal.
Best terminal for you
After having talked so long about virtual terminals and why your business should seize the opportunity, a question still remains – What virtual terminal is right for you? There are several brands of virtual terminals such as Square, PayPal and Payline, each of which have their own talents in standing out depending on your line of work.
Square is best suited for businesses looking for a lot more extra features beyond the standard terminal service, being easy to set up and use with straightforward fees with no fluctuation. You can pick and choose what you need in your business, including a free online store, which makes it the best for more practical professions like construction work.
A major advantage for Square is that it comes with the virtual terminal as part of its standard package, rather than being an additional cost.
PayPal is the best for a business focused mainly on online transactions. They already have a virtual terminal built into their devices, which makes activating it incredibly easy. Along with this, the rate at which you would be paid is faster than the competitors, as is the ability to deposit funds.
Despite this, it does fall short compared to its rivals when it comes to being cost-effective, with its virtual terminal services being an additional monthly cost of roughly £23.
Payline can be considered a jack of all trades type of service compared to the other two. It focuses on acting more as a traditional merchant account provider, but also makes online payments far easier due to the focus put on its payment gateways. Like Square, it comes as part of the service rather than as an additional cost, but lacks the immediate fund deposits of PayPal.
One area where it excels is in its price, not adding any monthly fees or separate gateway fees. All that’s required is paying the base credit card company charge, a small additional percentage and a pre-transaction fee. Due to this, Payline is the best option for those looking for the cheapest alternative, even if not the fastest.
Once you’ve decided on your terminal, you’re ready to put all this planning into practice. You will soon be on the way to producing a convenient system to help boost the popularity of your business and perhaps turn a small business into a big one, whatever your trade may be.
Would you like to introduce a virtual terminal to your business?
If you’re looking to get your business ready to take payments over the phone or online, we can help. CheaperPay specialises in opening payment avenues in your business, because a customer that wants to pay a different way is a lost customer.
If you would like a free quote, or just more information on our services, please fill in the contact form at https://www.cheaperpay.me/request-a-quote/ and one of our accredited advisers will be in touch soon.