Many small businesses believe they need a credit card terminal to accept card payments. While a credit card terminal — otherwise known as an EFTPOS machine or card reader — makes sense for some businesses, many businesses can accept payments more easily using a virtual terminal. In this post, we talk about the benefits of a virtual terminal compared to a credit card terminal to help you determine which is the best choice for your business.

Virtual Terminal

Credit card terminal vs virtual terminal

Whether you need a credit card terminal depends largely on the type of business you run. If you process a lot of in-person payments – like in the retail or hospitality industries – a credit card terminal is likely the best solution for your business. However, if the majority of your customers pay online, a virtual terminal is a convenient, cost-effective alternative.

A virtual terminal allows you to receive manual payments from your mobile, tablet or desktop. It does the exact same job as a credit card terminal, only online. The difference is that you manually input credit card details, instead of asking customers to wave or insert their card.

A virtual terminal is the perfect choice for a wide range of businesses. For example, an online retailer who sells goods at a tradeshow or market a few times a year. Or an equipment hire business that occasionally takes manual payments when customers call or pop into the office.

If you have a credit card terminal collecting dust (and costing you money), a virtual terminal could be a better choice for your business.

Benefits of a virtual terminal

1. Cardholder privacy

One common mistake businesses make when receiving payments over the phone is writing down the card details before entering them into a credit card terminal. Whether it’s a sticky note, piece of paper, or document on your computer, writing down credit card details is risky and unsecure. It could also make customers reluctant to pay over the phone. A virtual terminal eliminates this risk, allowing you to enter card details directly into a secure online portal. You can also issue a digital receipt in a few clicks.

2. Cost effective

Unlike a credit card terminal, which usually incurs a monthly rental fee, there are no additional costs for taking manual payments via a virtual terminal. Manual payments are treated like any other transaction. The only difference is how you enter them.

3. Reliable

Most credit card terminals require a phone connection. While this is usually fine, network issues and outages do occur — sometimes for hours on end. If your credit card terminal is down, it could cost your business sales. A virtual terminal, on the other hand, just needs internet access, ensuring you never miss a sale.

4. Convenience

If you’re heading out to a tradeshow or event, you probably want to travel light. With a virtual terminal, you can take in-person payments directly from your phone, tablet or laptop. No carrying around extra devices – or, worse still, leaving them at home. A virtual terminal is ready when you are. Plus, it stores all your transactions in one place, so you always know how you’re tracking.

Get started free today

If you’re considering replacing your credit card terminal with a virtual terminal, you can get started free with Pin Payments. Pin Payments is a flexible payment platform that allows you to accept credit card payments, your way — online, in-person or over the phone. Sign up for an account and join thousands of small businesses who trust Pin Payments for fast, secure, convenient card payments.