What is a Virtual POS terminal

As a digitalized replacement for conventional cash registers, point-of-sale (POS) terminals are used widely at various retail outlets and stores to process debit and credit card payments. Normally, a POS terminal has the capability to read and verify a customer’s debit/credit card information, transfer funds from the customer’s account, record the transaction, and print a receipt. A virtual point-of-sale terminal is a web-based replacement for physical POS machines.

Most online retailers nowadays use virtual POS terminals to accept credit/debit card payment over the internet. As the virtual POS terminals are hosted online, the e-tailers can access them anytime and anywhere. The e-tailers can further access the online POS terminal on both computers and mobile devices. But the customers lack any option to access the virtual POS terminals. The merchants can access the virtual POS terminals and authorize card transactions manually through a dashboard.

Understanding Important Aspects of a Virtual POS Terminal

A Web-Based Version of POS Machines

As noted earlier, a virtual POS terminal is a web-based edition of a physical POS terminal. Like a POS machine, a virtual POS terminal also processes debit and credit card payments efficiently. But a virtual POS is just a web application which is there on a web server. Hence, the merchants can access the virtual POS systems through browsers on both computers and mobile devices. They can even access and use the web-based solution seamlessly without requiring specific hardware and software.

Customers Cannot Access It

Despite emulating POS machines, a virtual POS terminal comes with features to simplify and facilitate online payment. It enables merchants to process online debit/credit card payments. The merchants even have option to input the debit/credit card information of customers directly through a web-based payment form. However, the customers cannot access the either the virtual POS terminal nor the web-based payment form.

Only Authorized Merchants Can Access It

As noted earlier, the customers lack any option to access the web-based POS terminals directly. Only  authorized merchants can access the virtual POS terminals. The merchants have to log in into the accounts created with the service providers to manage online card payments. They can submit customers’ debit/credit card information through a web-based payment form. Likewise, they can manage and process card payments through a dashboard.

Not an Alternative to Payment Gateways

Like payment gateways, the virtual POS terminals also help merchants to accept and process debit/credit card payments. But the payment gateways accept card information directly from customers, whereas the virtual POS terminals are not accessible to customers. Only merchants can access the web-based solution, enter card information manually, and authorize the card transactions. Hence, the merchants need both virtual POS terminal and payment gateways to process online payment efficiently.

Facilitates Off-Site Commerce

A large percentage of merchants take advantage of virtual POS terminals to receive orders through emails, telephones, and similar off-site sales option. Each time a customer places order through email or phone, the merchants ask him to provide his credit card number and expiry date. The subsequently submit the card information and process card payment manually through the web-based payment form. The virtual payment solution helps merchants to drive sales by received order through emails or telephone.

Provides Useful Features

The virtual POS terminals require merchants to submit card information and authorize card payments manually. Like physical POS terminals, the virtual POS terminals also have the capability to validate card payments in real-time and generate reports. Some web-based POS terminals even provide merchants with option to collect insufficient funds automatically. At the same time, the merchants can access the virtual POS terminals on varied devices without investing in specific hardware or software.

On the whole, a virtual POS terminal is a web-based version of POS machines. These web-based solutions help merchants to boost sales by receiving order over telephones or through mail orders. Nowadays, the payment terminals provided by certain Fintech companies comes with built-in virtual POS terminal capabilities. The Fintech companies can also provide Point of sale finance to merchants who use virtual POS terminals. However, the merchants also have option to avail virtual POS terminals independent of payment gateways.

What is a Virtual POS Terminal?
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