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What Are Virtual POS Terminals and Why Are They Essential to Small Businesses?


If you run a small business that doesn’t even have a brick and mortar presence, getting a virtual POS terminal might be worth checking out.

Of course, there are a number of ups and down that you’ll have to take into account, just like when choosing a payment method provider or an e-commerce platform.

The Basics of a Virtual POS Terminal

In short, virtual POS terminals are just like regular POS except they don’t require any physical hardware. You can access these systems online from your smartphone, tablet or computer. So you’ll have an easier time and cost-efficient way of setting up this payment method than you’d have purchasing a physical POS terminal.

But how will I process the payment if there’s no card terminal to read the chip? Well, this is where things get tricky yet efficient. If the cardholder is present at your physical location, they can input their card’s details manually on your computer or tablet. On the other hand, if the cardholder isn’t present, they can communicate their card details to you via the phone or in person.

Advantages of Using a Virtual POS

A virtual POS is extremely easy to set up and you won’t have to purchase any additional hardware.

The only transaction fees you have to be aware of are those charged by the payment solution provider. And it’s a great option for processing payments over the phone or online.

A virtual POS can accept credit and debits cards with loads of options such as recurring payments, bill splitting, and QR code processing if the device you’re accessing the platform from has an integrated camera.

One more noteworthy thing about a virtual POS is the advantage of not having to provide maintenance for hardware. You also don’t have to print out receipts, as you can just send them out by email. Furthermore, as long as you have a reliable internet connection, you won’t get any of the errors associated with physical POS units.

Disadvantages of Using a Virtual POS

https://www.freepik.com/premium-photo/businessman-keeps-credit-card-talks-mobile-phone_6927216.htmYou’ll need to sift through numerous payment providers to get the best possible deal for your type of business. Some offer a monthly fee on top of a cut from your sales. Others also offer an initial set-up fee on top of the previously mentioned taxes. If you’re lucky, you’ll find one that only charges per transaction and nothing more.

The amount of effort you’ll be putting in is more significant than with a physical terminal. You’ll have to manually input a user’s credit card details for every transaction except for the recurring ones. This might be especially bothersome if you have plenty of customers.

You need to be careful when it comes to security, as not all vendors provide the utmost security levels of PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). As a result, you’ll have to ask each provider a lot of questions regarding encryption and data processing.

What to Look for When Choosing a Virtual POS Provider

If you want to accept credit cards without a physical POS, check to see if the provider offers customer support.

It’s not uncommon to run into issues until you get used to a virtual POS, so having someone who can answer your questions and solve issues 24/7 is of utmost importance.

Another thing you’ll need to focus on is the technology provided. Ask the payment provider if they have a free trial so that you can see if the system takes a lot to load or how much time it takes to process a payment.

Finally, you’ll want to collaborate with a provider that has experience with your industry and type of business. Reliable providers can help you out on specific needs and will greatly reduce your workload as a result.