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What is a virtual Terminal?

Simply put, a virtual terminal is a secure web page in your internet browser where you can process card payments online.


It is called “virtual” because it functions like a credit card terminal, but through a non-physical software application rather than physical terminal.

Usually, the virtual terminal is embedded on a page you can access when you’re logged in to your payment provider’s account online. You process the payment by manually entering the customer’s card details – which you may be given over the phone, a mail order form or through an online chat – and submitting it for processing. The customer’s card will then be charged, and the money transferred to your payment provider account or bank account, minus applicable processing fees.

Manual payments are usually completed without the cardholder present, for example if you take a booking, reservation or order for a product over the telephone. In order to take a manual payment, you need to have three things – a virtual terminal, computer or mobile device, and an internet connection.

PDQ Today provide Virtual terminals from several of our banks (the payment providers). If you need to take remote payments from the following list, then you need a virtual terminal:-


  • If you have customers who phone you to make a payment 

  • If you phone your customers to take payment

  • If your customers pay on your website (ecommerce)

  • If you send a link to your customers for payment in an invoice, or by text or email.

Advantages of virtual terminals

  • You can take payments quickly and easily without your customer being present. But if the customer is present, you will need a card reader that can perform a chip and PIN or contactless transaction instead, for security and verification reasons.

  • You don’t need to invest in expensive point-of-sale software or traditionally expensive credit card machines. If you don’t sell anything in person, you don’t even need to invest in a cash drawer.

  • There is more freedom and flexibility – transactions can be carried out anywhere, from any device and at any time, as long as you have an internet connection.

Disadvantages of virtual terminals

  • You need extra security measures in place to take card-not-present payments to avoid chargeback fees.

  • Keyed-in payments require more effort (typing needs attention to detail) than a card machine transaction that automatically processes a contactless or chip and PIN card.

  • Fees are typically higher for transactions where the card/customer is not present than for card machine payments.

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