Nearly every day it seems like we hear from future 360 Payments customers asking us about the features and benefits of a virtual terminal – and with good reason! Having a virtual terminal as a backup to your usual terminal can be a lifesaver if that terminal goes on the fritz. You can even use a virtual terminal as your sole credit card processing system – although there are some pros and cons to that approach (keep reading). Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might choose to use a virtual terminal.



Better Safe Than Sorry



Like we mentioned earlier, even if you usually use a physical terminal in your place of business, it pays to have a backup plan. Should that trusty terminal stop working on you, you’re still going to want to be able to take payments from your customers. A virtual terminal (which is simply an online portal that allows you to manually key in customer credit card details to process transactions) is a great choice to have waiting in the wings. Since it can be accessed from any computer (or phone or tablet) with an internet connection, you’ll be able to keep making sales seamlessly while you wait for your credit card company to fix your terminal (hint: call us if you’re fed up with poor service when this happens).



Seamless Data Storage and Organization



A virtual terminal can also help you keep your customer records organized. Most systems will allow you to input additional customer data aside from their credit card information when you process a transaction. You’ll then be able to use this information to set up recurring payments, research customer demographics, send newsletters, and follow up via phone. The next time a given customer wants to make a purchase, the checkout process will be expedited because all of their information is already in your system. This leads to a better service experience for both you and your customer.



It Probably Won’t Cost You Too Much!



If all this sounds good to you, talk to your credit card processor about adding a virtual terminal to your account. Most likely it won’t cost you too much money – and it might even be free. It never hurts to have a backup to your traditional method of accepting payments, and you never know when it might come in handy. If your processor does want to charge you an arm and a leg to add a virtual terminal to your account, it’s time to look for another provider.



A Word of Caution



You might be thinking, “Why wouldn’t I just use a virtual terminal for everything then? This sounds great!” Not so fast. Remember that with a virtual terminal you’re keying all of the credit card information in manually. You’ll pay a higher price for this from most credit card processors due to the increased risk of fraud, and it’s much easier to make a mistake. Talk to your processor about your business needs before you make the call to throw your terminal out the window. If you really do need to key in all your transactions, there are ways you can reduce your costs and fraud risk. We’ll cover these tips in future posts.



Get a Credit Card Processor Who Can Help



While setting up virtual terminal is quite simple, you’ll still want to talk to your credit card processor to make sure you fully understand all the features and benefits of it. If your processor won’t give you the time of day, we’d love to help you! Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’ll help you find the virtual terminal that’s perfect for you.



PS – What are interchange fees, anyway? This post will show you.



PPS – Have you considered payment integration? Here’s why you should.