Frequently Asked Questions –
Online Virtual Terminal
What is a Virtual Terminal?
An online transaction terminal hosted on the Online Payment Gateway’s transaction server and used for the manual entry of the data for credit card processing transactions pushed through from the merchant’s side as opposed to the customer or cardholder’s side. Internet Merchants simply gain access to their Terminal by logging in using their web browser. They can then perform live online credit card transactions using their Internet merchant account. The Internet merchant enters a transaction manually and the Virtual Terminal will process the transaction in real-time just like a physical card terminal would. Just as with an automated Shopping Cart, data entered into the Terminal is transmitted to the credit card acquirer. The transaction amount is then authorized by the bank in real-time, and the transaction is settled.
What makes a Virtual Terminal different from a Shopping Cart?
A Virtual Terminal is not integrated with the merchant’s website. Rather, it is a terminal apart from the website that allows the merchant complete access to their merchant account giving them the freedom to charge customers’ credit cards manually. If they wish, the Internet merchant can have a Shopping Cart linked to their website through the Online Payment Gateway for automated charges and still use a Virtual Terminal to enter charges and credits manually.
The key difference is that, with a Virtual Terminal, orders can be taken from pre-collected forms or telephone orders and entered manually. In this case, a Shopping Cart is not used. An Internet merchant is however able to have an automated Shopping Cart via the Online Payment Gateway and a Virtual Terminal working in conjunction, using both to process their online credit card transactions.
Does the Processor supply a Virtual Terminal with the Merchant Account?
In most cases, a Virtual Terminal will be supplied with an Internet Merchant Account. However, in some cases, after underwriting a particular account, the Processor determines that Virtual Terminal access would warrant too much risk.