In a day and age when physical cash is all but obsolete, it is exceptionally important for business owners to provide their customers with efficient and convenient ways to make payments using a debit or credit card.

Turn to the Virtual Terminal.

A virtual terminal allows people to make payments from computers and mobile devices. With the simple push of a few buttons, business owners can process customer payments via credit and debit cards in a matter of a few seconds. You can accept customer payment literally anywhere you have access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

There has been a bit of debate over virtual terminals. Some people are totally for them, and others are completely against them. If you are a business owner who is considering using a virtual terminal to process payments, yet you aren’t completely sure about the decision, consider the pros and cons of this type of payment processing and be your own judge.

Pros of Virtual Terminals

There are certainly several advantage to using a virtual terminal. They include:

  • Ease of payment: It doesn’t matter where you do business – it could be at a street fair or on a boat – you can easily accept payments from debit and credit cards when you use a virtual terminal.
  • No lost sales: Since so many people don’t carry cash, if you only accept cash, you stand the chance of losing a lot of potential sales. When you have the option of a virtual terminal to accept payments, you won’t miss out on as many sales.
  • Customer satisfaction: There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than not being able to get what they want. Imagine if you were shopping somewhere and you found something you really wanted, yet you couldn’t buy it because the merchant didn’t accept your method of payment. Talk about frustrating. Offering a virtual terminal increases customer satisfaction, which can help to increase business.


While the pros of using a virtual terminal are certainly many, and appealing, it is not to say that this form of payment processing is the bee’s knees. There are a few downsides to using a virtual terminal, and they include:

  • Loss of connectivity: Virtual terminals tend to lose their connection on occasion. If there is inclement weather or you are in an area where there is poor reception, you may not be able to process a payment. Poor connectivity could result in disgruntled customers and the loss of sales.
  • Failed payments: There have been cases reported where a virtual terminal indicates that a payment was accepted, only to find that it actually wasn’t long after the customer is gone. In these cases, there isn’t much you can do but swallow the sale. Thankfully, these are few and far between.


So, given the pros and cons, do you think using a virtual terminal is advantageous to your business or not?

Bridget Galbreath is writer who is well versed in a wide range of topics, including best practices for business.

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