How to Process and Track Credit Card Transactions Online using a Virtual Terminal

Merchant Warehouse |

December 8, 2010

Tracking Online Transactions

Virtual terminals consist of web-based programs that enable any business with access to the Internet to authorize credit card charges. They are specifically designed for use by any business, but are particularly popular with two kinds of companies. The first kind is “Internet-only merchants” that accept the vast majority of their transactions online.

The virtual terminal also enables a second kind of business, the mail and phone order (MOTO) kind, to process credit card transactions. The phone kind of order entry provides instant feedback regarding the status of a customer’s credit card, and that alone can dramatically improve customer service, and the hand-written or e-mailed order also provides a customer-created backup.

For Companies Big and Small

Virtual credit card terminals are designed with highly secure, browser-based interfaces that allow merchants to authorize, process and manage all of their credit card transactions, using any computer with an Internet connection. You do not need any physical credit card terminal at all if you do not deal with “card present” (retail environment) sales.

Today’s virtual terminals reduce complexity and expenses, making them suitable for businesses of all sizes. They are commonly used in utility companies, mail order businesses, call center operations, newspapers and magazines, insurance companies, charities and most home-based firms, as well as most Internet service providers. The strength of the technology is a major benefit, but the manner in which orders are placed also provides several levels of both security and quality control.

Quality Service, Virtually

With virtual credit card terminals, you can manually enter all credit card transactions for mail or phone order sales, automatically bill customers for recurring charges, refund money to a customer’s credit card, check transaction status, run various reports and acquire historic transaction info from any Internet-connected computer anywhere, in almost any part of the world. There is direct, human oversight over these operations, too, allowing for ongoing quality and fraud control.

When you compare them to the normal POS systems, they surpass the POS with how fast and accurate they actually are. The other features of virtual credit card terminals include address verification service, customer and merchant email notifications, automatic item sub-total and tax calculations, automatic shipping calculation and coupon/rebate calculator. Virtual terminals have lower fees associated with overhead and functionality, offsetting the slightly higher credit card processing rates for card-not-present or non-swipe card business transactions.

Where to Get It

Unlike other software packages, the virtual credit card terminal software that your merchant account firm provides you does not require payment of any fees for licensing, upgrades, maintenance or programming. The cost for its use is completely “submerged” into the authorizing and processing rates of the credit card transactions. If you decide to invest in a third-party application, make sure it is compatible with your payment gateway before installation and use.

These days, all merchants accept credit card payments and this is due to the overwhelming number of consumers making their purchases using “plastic.” Merchants that choose to live in the Stone Age by deciding against accepting credit card payments are risking the very livelihood of their businesses. Nowadays, accepting credit card transactions is easier than ever. Merchants now have the means, the access and the tools that they need to process all credit card and electronic payments from any and all sources. For the virtual company that makes its living on the World Wide Web, the virtual terminal is its cyber-cash register.