This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
A virtual terminal lets store owners manually key in credit card numbers when they receive phone, invoice, or mail orders. The best virtual terminals also let you send invoices and create recurring payments, making them good for billing.
Secure virtual terminals are available from almost any payment processor and require no special equipment. Transaction fees are higher than in-person transactions, though—it’s usually 3.5% plus 10 cents to 15 cents per transaction.
The best virtual terminals are:
- Square: Best overall
- Helcim: Best for retailers
- Payment Depot: Cheapest option for established high-volume businesses
- Chase Payment Solutions: Best for B2B sales
- Payline Data: Best for medical businesses, educational services, and nonprofits
- PaymentCloud: Best for high-risk businesses
- Clover: Best for businesses that want to choose their merchant service
- PayPal: Best for freelancers, occasional sellers, and cross-border sales
Best Virtual Terminals Compared
Virtual Terminal Fee
Keyed-in Transaction Fee
In-person Transaction Fee*
3.5% + 15 cents
2.6% + 10 cents
Waived up to $250/month
Interchange plus 0.2% + 10 cents to 0.5% + 25 cents
Interchange plus 0.1% + 5 cents to 0.3% + 8 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Interchange + 8 cents
2.9% + 25 cents
2.6% + 10 cents
$10 (one-time payment)
Interchange plus 0.75% + 20 cents
Interchange plus 0.4% +10 cents
$15/month (payment gateway)
3.5% + 10 cents
2.3%–2.6% + 10 cents
2.39% + 49 cents to 3.09% + 49 cents
2.99% + 49 cents
*You can link a card reader to your virtual terminal to take advantage of swiping cards when possible.
Calculate Your Estimated Virtual Terminal Fees
Find out how much you would pay in monthly merchant payment processing fees with our recommended providers.
Guide: This calculator assumes that you are using a virtual terminal on your laptop/desktop computer with a card reader to accept payments. Please indicate below your estimated monthly sales volume for card-present transactions (payments using a card reader) and card-not-present transactions (payments accepted online and over the phone).
Square: Best Overall Virtual Terminal for Small Business
Square is an excellent choice for small businesses, from startups to shops with a physical location and an online store—even restaurants and salons. You’ll find a variety of tools, from a free POS to affordable payroll processing. Of all the products we’ve reviewed, here and elsewhere, it encompasses the most aspects of small business life—and does it well.
With 4.48 out of 5 in our review, Square maintains its lead and stays ahead of the pack in scoring. It topped our scores for feature set, checking off our full list of tools for handling one-time and recurring bills, managing customers and invoices, and taking payments. It’s easy to use on both web and mobile, although the limited customer support hours brought down its score in ease of use.
The features below are just a few that make Square our top virtual terminal. Discover more in our full Square Payments review.
The downside to Square’s extensive feature set, especially for those businesses that do high-volume sales, is the transaction fee, which is the highest on our list. If you have consistent sales of over $5,000 per month, do a price comparison against Payline Data, Payment Depot, or Helcim, which offer interchange-plus pricing. (Payline Data has a monthly calculator on its website so you can quickly compare pricing.)
As you consider costs, however, keep in mind all the tools Square provides that you may otherwise have to pay for. As your business grows and you’re processing over $250,000 annually, you can apply for lower, custom rates through Square. Here are the standard fees:
- Keyed-in (virtual terminal) transaction fees: 3.5% + 15 cents
- In-person (swipe, dip, tap) transaction fees: 2.6% + 10 cents
- Invoice transaction fees: 2.9% + 30 cents
- Ecommerce transaction fees: 2.9% + 10 cents
- ACH/bank transfer fees: 1% with $1 minimum
Square comes with free POS software for handling inventory and managing customers. It integrates with the virtual terminal, so you can itemize sales, calculate taxes, input discounts, and save customer information. Most of the other virtual terminals on our list are more basic, requiring you to manually input the items and prices unless you tie it to a POS system. Chase, in particular, says it will integrate inventory, but does not provide a POS system.
Like most Square products, the virtual terminal is free, easy to set up, and user-friendly. Plus, it’s fully integrated into Square, so inventory gets updated, and changes in your online store are also reflected in the virtual terminal. If you integrate with QuickBooks or other accounting software, the information from the virtual terminal is tied in as well.
The free mobile app comes with a card reader, so you can take advantage of the lower in-person transaction rate.
In addition to features, Square stands out in chargeback protection by waiving chargeback fees of up to $250 each month. Square itself does not charge fees, but other payment processors, such as PayPal or the financial institution in question, may. Payline Data and Payment Depot have comparable chargeback programs.
What Square Is Missing
If you do high-volume sales, Square may be cost-prohibitive, even when considering POS software and membership fees charged by some payroll providers. We suggest checking out Payline Data, Payment Depot, and Helcim. In addition to virtual terminals, some offer free POS software with specific plans.
Square does not deal with high-risk businesses. We recommend PaymentCloud if you have a high-risk business. For other options, check out our recommendations on high-risk merchant account providers.
Finally, if you already have a merchant account or payment gateway, they won’t integrate with Square. Clover would be your best bet in this case.
Helcim: Best for Retail
Helcim is on our list of best merchant services and is No. 1 for best retail credit card services. You will find other providers in our list that offer interchange-plus pricing, however, Helcim’s structure is a little different, with automatic volume discounts and no monthly fees. As such, it’s a better choice for growing retailers with high-volume (but lower-ticket) sales because merchants do not need to apply for better rates as their transaction volume increases.
Since our last update:
Helcim launched Helcim Bank Payments, in March 2022, allowing merchants to accept ACH and EFT payments with Helcim.
Earning 4.33 out of 5 on our evaluation, Helcim lost points for not catering to high-risk businesses (check PaymentCloud for that) and lack of 24/7 support. Nonetheless, Helcim earned high scores in all categories. The virtual terminal handles phone sales, invoices, and recurring payments. Like Payment Depot, Helcim also has a chargeback reimbursement program.
Discover more about Helcim’s strong features for retailers in our Helcim review.
Helcim’s free monthly plan and automated volume discounts set it apart from the rest of the payment processors on our list. Card-not-present transaction rates, including virtual terminals, range from Interchange plus 0.2% + 10 cents per transaction (if your sales average more than $5,000,000 a month) to 0.5% + 25 cents (for average sales of $2,500 and below a month).
This is considerably cheaper than Payline Data’s 0.75% + 20 cents, but more expensive than Payment Depot’s interchange + 15 cents (although note that you have to pay at least $59 in monthly fees).
Helcim offers a simple virtual terminal that lets you put in credit card information. You can also store it to look up later. All the services on our list share this feature, but many of those we evaluated did not. In addition to one-time sales, you can easily send invoices or set up recurring payments to automatically bill customers at a schedule of your choosing.
The virtual terminal also works on any device, making it a great tool for taking payments on the sales floor as well as at the register. You also get a mobile app and a free POS system that can work on your existing smartphone, iPad, or tablet. Finally, it accepts ACH payments, something you don’t find with some of the payment processors on our list, like PayPal.
Helcim tokenizes credit card information in the card vault so that sensitive card information does not touch your system, providing better security for your customers. The platform itself is PCI-compliant, which is necessary for businesses. In some cases, like with Payline’s Start Plan, you need to provide that compliance yourself. Helcim’s Fraud Defender analyzes each transaction before it happens to give you a score on perceived risk. You can even set it to automatically decline transactions below a certain score. It does not always charge for chargebacks, and when it does, the cost is comparable to that of PayPal.
What Helcim Is Missing
Unlike Square, Helcim does not seem to tie inventory to its virtual terminal. It’s also not suited for high-risk businesses unlike PaymentCloud. You cannot use Helcim’s virtual terminal with a different merchant account—for that, look at Clover.
Like all interchange-plus merchant services (including Payment Depot), Helcim has an application and approval process. It’s designed for existing businesses that already have a steady processing volume. If you’re just starting out, you’ll likely want a service that’s designed for new businesses, like Square, which doesn’t have an approval process.
Payment Depot by Stax: Cheapest Option for High-volume Sales
If you do high-volume sales, then a payment processor with interchange-plus pricing can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars, even when considering a monthly fee. Payment Depot is one of our top picks for the cheapest credit card processing companies, and that includes virtual terminals.
We’ve also liked Payment Depot for general merchant services and restaurant payment processing. While it does not work for high-risk businesses or businesses outside the US, it is worth considering for any business with high-ticket sales. It offers a choice of free third-party virtual terminals and makes our list for the strength of the payment processing.
Since our last update:
Payment Depot is now Payment Depot by Stax and updated its terms of service in February 2022, naming Stax as its merchant services provider. With this, pricing has been updated to match Stax’ low interchange plus 8–15 cents per transaction with a lower subscription plan that ranges from $59–$99 per month.
Payment Depot earned 4.15 out of 5 in our evaluation. The virtual terminals generally don’t include inventory—check Square for that. Like most on this list, it loses points for not supporting high-risk businesses. It lost the most points for its steep monthly fee. However, chargeback protection is included in its membership price, and it fares well for ease-of-use, integrations, and reputation.
Payment Depot Pricing
The best thing about Payment Depot’s price is that there is no percentage markup. You only pay a flat fee of 8 cents to 15 cents per transaction, plus the interchange price that every processor charges. No other virtual terminal on our list does this. (Some, like Square, Chase, and PayPal fold the interchange charge into their rates.) If you process high-dollar-value transactions, you could save thousands of dollars. It also offers a calculator to help you determine how much you’re paying.
Plans run from $59 to $99 per month, depending on your monthly processing, and the transaction fee goes down with higher plans. These are the highest monthly fees of any option on this list, but plans include a free virtual terminal and may include equipment as well.
Discover all the great features Payment Depot has to offer in our review.
Payment Depot Features
Unlike most of the products on this list, Payment Depot does not have its own virtual terminal, but gives you a choice of several, depending on your plan. Usually, you get Authorize.net or SwipeSimple. For higher plans or specific situations, you may do better with PayTrace or NMI. Your sales representative will help you find the best one, along with POS software and equipment.
Because of the choice of virtual terminals (something you also find with Payline and Chase), the specific features will vary. However, Payment Depot itself integrates with QuickBooks, POS systems, and other software. It reprograms your POS equipment for free.
We give Payment Depot kudos for customer support. I sent a question via the contact form and got a call minutes later. The support person was friendly, helpful, and did not try to hard-sell me anything. Other FSB reviewers have had similar experiences, and the user reviews also call out the great service.
While we prefer Chase Merchant Services for B2B sales, Payment Depot also offers credit card processing with Level 2 and 3 rates. It does this through PayTrace, which requires you to upgrade to a higher membership plan.
What Payment Depot Is Missing
Unlike the virtual terminal providers on our list that have straight rates, Payment Depot’s charges vary by interchange rate, which is determined by the financial institution issuing the credit. Thus, you may see variations in your credit card fees. This is also true with Helcim, PaymentCloud, and Payline. While the interchange-plus pricing model is a more affordable option for high-volume businesses, it makes the fees a little more unpredictable.
Payment Depot itself does not have a virtual terminal, POS software, or inventory management. Rather, it integrates with third-party systems, some of which it may provide free with higher plans. Nonetheless, consider that you will need to pay for such software if you go with this provider. Naturally, for the best virtual terminal system with a POS, we suggest Square.
Chase Payment Solutions: Best Virtual Terminal for B2B Sales
We recommend Chase Payment Solutions for businesses that do B2B sales as well as for those that need the support of an established bank, including checking, credit cards, and even loans. Square now offers banking, but Chase has hundreds of years of banking history and 5,100 branches in over 100 countries. As the sixth-largest banking firm in the world, it has a lot to offer businesses looking to grow.
Chase maintains its fourth spot on our list, although earning a lower overall score for this update, 3.93 out of 5, after points were adjusted to reflect keyed-in transaction fees and the chargeback fee of $12–$25 (where Square waives it, for example).
That said, Chase offers excellent features and is one of our top picks for the best small business checking accounts. It also works with some high-risk businesses where Helcim and Square do not.
Chase Payment Solutions Pricing
Chase provides payment processing for its business customers, so you have to start with a Chase Business Checking account. This comes with a $15/month fee unless you keep a daily balance of over $2,000, purchase over $2,000 on your Chase Ink business card, take in over $2,000 in deposits from Chase Merchant Service transactions, or link to a Chase Private Client checking account.
The transaction rates vary by platform, but for virtual terminals, they are 3.5% + 10 cents per keyed-in transaction, which is slightly less than Square’s keyed-in rate. Like PaymentCloud (and possibly Payline Data), there may be room to negotiate for better rates. Some influencing factors are volume of sales and whether or not you process B2B sales, which are more secure and usually have lower rates.
Get more details about what the provider offers for your business in our Chase Payment Solutions review.
Chase Payments Solutions Features
Chase lets you have a choice of payment gateways, which means you can also choose a different virtual terminal. However, Chase has its own—Orbital Virtual Terminal. It lets you process purchases and refunds. It also allows splitting of shipments, something we did not find in other virtual terminals, but which makes it well suited for sales that might need a deposit.
Unlike many of the virtual terminals on our list, Chase supports Level 2 and Level 3 card processing, which can get you better rates. You may also be able to process international currencies and electronic checks like PayPal. All you need to do is discuss this when setting up your account.
Another advantage Chase has over other merchant services is that, with a Chase bank account, you can get your funds the same or next day. Square charges extra for this, while PayPal will send money immediately but only to your PayPal account.
What Chase Merchant Services Is Missing
Like Clover and PaymentCloud, you may have to sign a long-term contract. This is not true for every case, but if you want quick month-to-month service, consider Square, which has similar rates.
Chase does not have a POS system like Square and Helcim do, but integrates with most POS software. It does have card readers and POS terminals, some of which can also be purchased on Amazon and elsewhere.
Payline Data: Best Virtual Terminal for Medical, Nonprofit & Educational Services
Payline Data services a wide range of businesses but has a particular focus on the medical industry, with HIPAA-compliant tools, ACH transfer, and special pricing. It also has special considerations for nonprofit and educational services. Like Payment Depot, Payline also offers strong fraud and chargeback protection.
For this update, Payline Data surpasses PaymentCloud in our rankings, although its overall score of 3.84 out of 5 did not change. Again, it earns much of its score on the strength of Payline as a payment processor.
However, while the virtual terminal works as well as most and can handle invoices and recurring payments, it is not as fully featured as Square or Clover. The system also charges you a one-time fee for using its virtual terminal feature on top of a $10–$20 monthly subscription.
On the other hand, it offers interchange-plus pricing, which makes it a better deal than most for high-volume businesses.
Payline has a monthly fee in return for which it offers low interchange-plus pricing. The fees run $20 for online transactions and $10 for in-person transactions. The virtual terminal has a one-time fee of $10, after which it costs nothing. Payline has a free one-month trial.
For online and virtual terminal sales, it charges interchange + 0.75% + 20 cents (a significant increase from 0.4% + 20 cents since our last update). Compare this to Payment Depot, which has only a 8 cents to 15 cents transaction fee but a higher monthly membership.
Payline stands out from the rest, however, in its special pricing for medical facilities, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions.
- Transaction fee for medical: Interchange + 0.2% + 10 cents
- Transaction fee for nonprofit, educational: Interchange + 0.1% + 10 cents
Read our Payline Data review to learn more about Payline’s features.
Payline’s focus on medical, nonprofits, and educational services goes beyond reduced rates. The virtual terminal is HIPAA-compliant to protect patient data, something we did not see in other virtual terminal software. It also has invoicing software.
Nonprofits and educational services can benefit from the ACH transfer capability, which was not found in most terminals. An additional benefit for nonprofits is they get a free hosted payments page.
Payline uses Verifi for chargeback protection. In addition to data to help you discover fraudulent transactions, it alerts you to chargebacks faster and gives you 72 hours to resolve the dispute before it becomes a chargeback.
The Payline Data website says it provides payment processing for high-risk businesses; however, according to a Payline rep, it actually refers high-risk merchants to PaymentCloud, which is on this list. It adds a 0.1% per transaction fee for high-risk charges.
Payline Data offers virtual terminals through CardPointe, NMI, Transax, and Authorize.net. All provide tokenization and PCI compliance. Some offer customer management and allow for subscriptions, recurring payments, and electronic invoicing.
What Payline Is Missing
Payline does not handle international sales. For this, consider PayPal or Chase. It also does not handle inventory, which you can find in Clover, Square, and PayPal.
Its customer support hours are limited: 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Central time, Monday–Friday. The online support consists of a brief FAQs page with no how-to guides. In general, we’ve been able to get in contact with Payline customer support and sales representatives easily.
PaymentCloud: Best Virtual Terminal for High-risk Businesses
Like several of the virtual terminals on our list, PaymentCloud also rates high on other lists like best merchant services. While it can serve traditional merchants, PaymentCloud specializes in high-risk merchants, whether those in industries like CBD sales or those with a greater risk of chargebacks, like Mail Order Telephone Order (MOTO) businesses.
This is also the reason why pricing is not publicly disclosed, although I know from experience that it’s easy to reach a PaymentCloud representative to ask for their rates.
PaymentCloud landed at the sixth spot of our rankings for this update with an overall score of 3.81 out of 5. While it offers solid features and also cater to low-risk merchants, PaymentCloud stands out for its ability to support all kinds of payment methods (including e-checks, international payments, and virtual terminals) for almost all types of mid-risk and high-risk businesses.
On the other hand, it charges a $15 gateway fee on top of a paid monthly plan. And, while PaymentCloud works with you to prevent chargebacks as much as possible, it will cost $25 when it does occur.
PaymentCloud is the only virtual terminal on our list that does not have any publicly disclosed pricing. However, this does not come as a surprise—most high-risk merchant account providers do not disclose pricing because rates are customized to each business. A quick call with a PaymentCloud representative, however, gave us an overview of their rates:
- Monthly fee: $25–$30
- Medium-risk transaction fee: 2.69%–3.29%
- High-risk transaction fee: 2.95%–4.25%
- Payment gateway fee: $15 per month (average)
- Chargeback fee: $25
- Early termination fee: Waived
It negotiates with its partner banks to get you the best rates it can; plus, it does not charge application, setup, or annual fees.
PaymentCloud offers more than what’s covered here. Learn more about why we recommend it for high-risk businesses in our PaymentCloud review.
PaymentCloud is different from most others on our list because instead of having its own virtual terminal (like Helcim and Square), it actually connects to third-party solutions like Authorize.net. Just as PaymentCloud is supportive and hands-on through the merchant service application process, the company is also very hands-on with setting up virtual terminals and making sure the solution works with any existing software you may use.
If PaymentCloud isn’t quite right for you, check out our other high-risk merchant account providers, many of which also provide virtual terminals.
PaymentCloud has relationships with over 10 banks that can handle high-risk customers. When you sign up, you go through a step-by-step application process to make sure you have all the documents needed to get approved by one of their partner banks. It can take longer than other virtual terminals, such as Square or PayPal, which are sign-up-and-go, but that’s because of the nature of being a high-risk business.
It provides PCI compliance, fraud protection, data encryption, and multiple security verifications such as Visa 3D Secure, Mastercard SecureCode, JCB International J/Secure, and American Express SafeKey.
Like PayPal and Chase, PaymentCloud accepts electronic check payments and credit and debit cards. Some of the virtual terminals on our list, like Square and Helcim, process ACH transfers instead.
What PaymentCloud Is Missing
Like most of the virtual terminal providers on our list, PaymentCloud does not have a POS system, although it will integrate with one. Its pricing is not transparent, so you need to call and undergo an application process.
Clover: Best Virtual Terminal for Choosing Your Own Merchant Service
Clover is a highly popular POS system because it’s offered by so many merchant services. As such, you can shop around for the payment processor that works best for your business. In fact, Payment Depot offers Clover products. You will also find Clover on our list of the best mobile payment processors.
Its system comes with a free virtual terminal which you can subscribe to without the hardware at $14.95 a month. It provides you with Clover software, dashboard, and end-to-end encryption of all payments you accept over the phone, in person, or through an invoice. .
For this update, Clover’s overall score slightly improved to 3.76 out of 5. It’s a feature-rich system and, with the right merchant service, extremely affordable. Clover lost points for requiring a monthly fee to access the virtual terminal feature, and for not monitoring its resellers, so you get a mix of great and terrible. However, the virtual terminal integrates with the POS system, handles invoices and recurring payments, and is generally easy to use.
Clover’s pricing is difficult to pin down because it has hundreds of resellers, many of whom offer discounted or even free Clover systems. The transaction rates similarly vary. When purchased directly through the Clover website, POS prices are from $0 to $44.95 per month, depending on your system, plus transaction fees of 3.5% + 15 cents for keyed-in transactions, which is on par with Square.
Read our Clover review to discover more about what it can do for your business.
Like the other virtual terminals on our list, you can access Clover from any device over the web and process payments or refunds on the spot. It only processes credit or debit, unlike Square and Helcim, which handle ACH payments, or PayPal and Chase, which can accept echecks. You can also request payments via email and receive payments online.
Clover is unique in that you can use its virtual terminal with hundreds of different payment providers. (Chase and Payment Depot, on the other hand, require you to use them as a merchant service and select a virtual terminal.) Like PaymentCloud and Chase, Clover can integrate with some CRM software, such as Zoho.
It provides needed security features like AVS and CVV recording, PCI compliance, and some fraud tools. You can store card information on your system for recurring transactions. Any other fraud protection is dependent on the merchant service. However, it does offer $100,000 in liability protection in case of a data breach, something we did not find with any other virtual terminal provider.
What Clover Is Missing
It’s important to note that most of the complaints about Clover are not about the terminal or the Clover systems so much as the payment processor. Clover does not monitor its resellers, so it’s vital that you do your homework. Many tempt you with free systems in return for long-term contracts that are expensive to break, for example. While this does not apply to a virtual terminal, per se, Clover systems are keyed to your merchant service, meaning if you change providers, you need to change hardware.
PayPal: Best Virtual Terminal for Solopreneurs & Occasional Sellers
PayPal is by far the most recognized payment processor in the world with easy integrations that let you put a payment button just about anywhere. It offers many types of payment solutions including cryptocurrency wallets and peer-to-peer payments like Venmo. This makes it popular for solopreneurs, occasional sellers, and hobbyists who have low sales volume and would not mind the flat rate payment processing fees.
However, while it can be mostly used free from monthly fees, using advanced merchant features such as virtual terminals will cost you at least $30 per month to use. That said, PayPal is undeniably a trusted name in the payments industry and makes our lists for mobile credit card processing and merchant services.
For this update, we gave PayPal’s virtual terminal a score of 3.60 out of 5. It’s a simpler tool, lacking inventory and POS like Square, although you will get these free with a regular PayPal Zettle account. It does have the advantage in international scope and its many integrations with other popular small business software.
PayPal takes a big hit for not processing ACH payments and imposing additional fees for invoicing and recurring
PayPal charges $30 per month for use of the virtual terminal, which fails in comparison to Square, which offers similar tools (POS, payment processing) for free. However, Square’s transaction rates are slightly higher with PayPal offering 3.09% + 49 cents per transaction for standard virtual terminal rates. It also offers a discounted transaction fee of 2.39% + 49 cents for nonprofits.
If your business regularly accepts large volumes of sales, you should consider providers with interchange plus pricing rates such as Payline Data, Payment Depot, or Helcim.
Read our PayPal review for more details about its full set of features.
Like with Square, when you sign up for PayPal, you have access to a lot of free tools, such as the free POS software, Zettle, and its mobile app. It’s also remarkably easy to add a PayPal button to online stores, social media, and more.
PayPal also comes with an application that lets your customers make installment payments rather than paying in full. Combine all these with international payment processing, you have a system that can take payments in any currency and through any venue.
It’s a simpler terminal than you can find with Square or some of those offered by the interchange-plus pricing services like Payment Depot, Payline, or Helcim. However, it does not integrate with PayPal’s POS solution, limiting its ability for inventory tracking or itemizing sales. That said, you still have access to these tools through PayPal and a multitude of other third-party apps.
Two of PayPal’s strengths, of course, are its international reach—200 currencies, with an international exchange—and how quickly you can access your funds. If you have a PayPal account or credit card, you will be able to use your profits in minutes. Transferring money to your bank takes four or more business days. Compare this to Chase, which also does international payment processing and can transfer funds into your Chase account the same day or next.
What PayPal Is Missing
There have been complaints by users that PayPal is quick to hold funds that it deems suspect such as if you have a sudden increase in sales or go well beyond your average sales earnings. It’s also been known to freeze accounts without warning, a potentially disastrous thing for a business that depends solely on PayPal for processing.
PayPal charges nearly 50 cents per transaction in addition to the percentage. If your sales are generally small and frequent, you may find this more expensive than Square, and for high-volume sales, you’ll probably benefit from an interchange-plus payment processor like Helcim, Payment Depot, or Payline, who all charge a monthly fee as well but offer much lower rates.
How We Evaluated Virtual Terminals
We’ve looked at dozens of payment processors that offered virtual terminals and narrowed them down. All of our picks also include invoicing and recurring payment tools. From there, we took a close look at the pricing, toolset, and ease of use to come up with a list that offers the best value for the price while being easy for most managers and employees to work day-by-day.
We found Square to be the best virtual terminal for small businesses. It beat the competition for pricing and has excellent sales and inventory features. Its fees are higher than you’ll find with interchange-plus companies like Helcim, but it offers free tools and can grow with your company.
Click through the tabs below for our full evaluation criteria:
30% of Overall Score
We awarded premium points for providers that offer low transaction fees. In addition, we also considered additional charges for accessing the terminal, chargeback fees, and merchant accounts.
25% of Overall Score
These cover payment types, recurring billing, inventory and customer management, and chargeback protection. We gave greater weight to invoicing and chargeback protection.
25% of Overall Score
We looked for mobile apps, dispute management, and in-person payments. We also considered when customer service was available.
20% of Overall Score
This score takes into account usability as a whole, from affordability to stability of the software, account freezes, processing limits, and whether it integrates with other applications. Finally, we included input from real-world users.
Virtual terminals are a great addition to any business, allowing you to take orders over the phone or by email. Most payment processors offer these for free or with a small monthly fee. The best handle multiple payment types, including cryptocurrency and ACH transfers, and have some form of fraud or chargeback protection that goes beyond PCI compliance.
Overall for small businesses, we like Square. It provides reasonable rates, has a free POS system and a virtual terminal, and is super easy to use. Plus, its wide range of products, including payroll, makes it a solid choice for growing businesses. Best yet—it’s free to use! You only pay a by-transaction rate. Sign up for Square today.
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