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8 Best Virtual Terminals for Credit Card Processing in 2024

Ivana Shteriova Ivana ShteriovaFinance Specialist April 02, 2024
April 02, 2024
Virtual terminals aren’t just for e-commerce and mail-order businesses – they’re also a great option if you don’t have the budget for POS hardware or want to accept multiple payment types remotely.

At least, that’s what good virtual terminals do. The truth is that many virtual terminals only accept keyed-in payments, so you don’t get the payment flexibility you need. Others deliver the basics but not enough to provide a viable alternative to a fully-fledged POS system. Unfortunately, because many credit card processing companies aren’t transparent about the software they offer, it can be hard to research your options before you commit to a lengthy contract.

I’ve researched dozens of payment processors to find the best virtual terminals for credit card processing on the market today. In the end, I discovered that Stax provides the most well-rounded virtual terminal despite offering one of the lowest-cost pricing models for high-volume businesses.

Short on Time? These Are the Best Virtual Terminals for Credit Card Processing in 2024

  1. Expert’s Choice
    LMS_Monogram Leaders Merchant Services
    Leaders Merchant Services is a popular choice with our readers
    Widely-used virtual terminal with state-of-the-art fraud prevention tools.
  2. Paysafe Lockup Off-Black RGB Paysafe Two virtual terminals and solutions for high-ticket and subscription-based businesses.
  3. staxx logo Stax Proprietary virtual terminal that integrates with Stax’s exceptional payment software.

What We Look For in the Best Virtual Terminals for Credit Card Processing

While virtual terminals can be a great tool to have, they’re not all created equal. Here are the key features I looked for during my research.
  • Multiple payment methods. All virtual terminals allow you to take keyed-in payments, but the best ones offer additional payment options like ACH transfers and eChecks, and even the ability to charge stored cards and log cash payments.
  • Competitive pricing. Virtual terminals usually charge an additional monthly fee, plus a higher markup and transaction fee for keyed-in payments. However, every option on this list offers competitive pricing that won’t eat up your budget.
  • Third-party integrations. Integrations make it easy to automate your business’s back office by syncing sales to your accounting software, updating your inventory in real time, and more.
  • Numerous customer support channels. Software tools aren’t infallible, so you need to know that someone’s available to help if things go wrong. Each virtual terminal on this list is covered by a great level of customer support, including documentation and developer tools.

A Note on Virtual Terminal Transaction Fees

Because you’ll have to input card details manually, almost every credit card processor will charge virtual terminal transactions at their card-not-present, or CNP, rate. Because of the increased risk of fraud, this rate is almost always higher than chip-and-pin, swiped, or contactless transactions – even if the customer is present.

If you’re planning to use a virtual terminal for your business, make sure you get an up-to-date fee breakdown before you sign any contracts. This will ensure you can budget accurately for your payment processing bill.

1. Leaders Merchant Services: Best Virtual Terminal for Payment Security

Leaders Merchant Services (LMS) offers the industry-leading Authorize.net virtual terminal, which has some of the best security and fraud detection tools on the market. Additionally, LMS offers one of the most competitive virtual terminal plans at $9.00/month and ~2.9% + 30¢/transaction. Not only are LMS and Authorize.net both PCI compliant, but Authorize.net uses state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption to keep all your information safe.

What sets Authorize.net apart from other virtual terminals is its Advanced Fraud Detection Suite. This scans incoming transactions for potential fraud based on four filters – transaction size, transaction velocity, IP address, and physical address. Each filter can be customized to suit your business’s specific sales patterns, and you can decide whether you want flagged transactions to be processed, held for manual authorization, or automatically rejected.

This level of security offers a great safety net for high-risk businesses, as it’ll help you to lower your chargeback transactions and keep your fraud rates low. Plus, it’s ideal for taking payments over the phone or online as it can be harder to detect the signs of fraud when the customer isn’t present.

Features and Benefits

  • Competitive rates. LMS’s custom pricing means you only pay for exactly what features you need, giving you access to some of the lowest CNP fees in the industry.
  • Multiple payment methods. The Authorize.net virtual terminal allows you to accept keyed-in card transactions and ACH transfers, giving your customers more ways to pay.
  • Extensive developer toolkit. If you have access to an experienced software developer, you can extend Authorize.net’s functionality by building custom integrations.
  • Card capture. You don’t need to make a sale to store a customer’s card details in your system. Ideal for service businesses that need to set up new clients in their database, Authorize.net’s virtual terminal allows you to capture card details and store them for later use.
See more great security features in our Leaders Merchant Services review.

Virtual terminal cost $25/month
Accepted payment methods Keyed-in cards, stored cards, ACH transfers
Virtual terminal integrations
  • 140+, including BigCommerce, Recurly, and JotForm
  • Custom integrations with developer kit
CNP transaction fees on cheapest plan ~2.9% + 30¢
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $9.00

2. Paysafe: Best for Global High-Ticket and Subscription Businesses

Paysafe provides a virtual terminal within its Merchant Back Office. Your account dashboard lets you view transaction history and statuses, generate various reports, and process MOTO payments.

Through Paysafe, you can also access the popular Authorize.net payment gateway and virtual terminal at a reduced cost. This option benefits you if you also need a payment gateway for online payments. It features buy buttons and simple checkout to streamline online selling. Authorize.net also offers additional security features for online payments.

Paysafe supports processing in over 120 markets and 40 currencies for international businesses. With its affordable fee of $16.00 and lower online transaction fees of 0.99% + 25¢ (debit cards), Paysafe is particularly beneficial for businesses processing high-ticket transactions globally.

Features and Benefits

  • Excellent for subscription businesses. Paysafe partners with Vindicia, a subscription management and payment recovery solution that can help you reduce churn from recurring billing and maximize revenue.
  • Affordable chargeback program. Paysafe’s Encytro Advantage program is a cost-effective solution for managing chargebacks, charging a flat fee of $29.95/month per location. This model keeps your chargeback costs low and predictable. The program entitles you to get up to $250 per covered chargeback.
  • Next-level security. Paysafe’s dedicated risk-management team and Enhanced Security package, which acts like an insurance policy against data breaches, offer additional protection and peace of mind in today’s challenging market.
  • On-the-go business management. With the Paysafe MobilePay app, you can manage your business from anywhere. You can also collect payments remotely, generate reports, access analytics, and more, which is convenient for entrepreneurs on the move.
Read our expert Paysafe review to see how it can help your business.

Virtual terminal cost $7.95/month
Accepted payment methods Credit and debit, ACH, EFT, digital wallets, bank transfers, Skrill, Venmo, and 250+ more
Virtual terminal integrations
  • 140+, including BigCommerce, Recurly, and JotForm
  • Custom integrations with developer kit
CNP transaction fees on cheapest plan 0.30% + ¢10
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $7.95
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3. Stax: Great Virtual Terminal for Payment Flexibility

Stax’s proprietary virtual terminal does what a lot of similar tools promise (and fail) to deliver – it provides a viable alternative to a physical POS suite. It combines this with up to 40% lower processing fees for high-volume businesses and access to a world-class range of other payment tools. Stax’s monthly subscription starts at $99.00 and gives you access to the industry’s lowest transaction fees of 0% + 10¢ (online), but you need to process over $8,000/month to experience savings.

In addition to accepting the standard keyed-in payments, you’ll be able to process ACH transactions and charge customer cards you have saved in your card vault. Plus, on Stax’s Pro plan and above, you can use the virtual terminal to create payment links that allow customers to pay via Google Pay and Apple Pay. Regardless of the plan you choose, Stax’s virtual terminal is included in your monthly fee.

Features and Benefits

  • Discounted access to a third-party virtual terminal. While Stax’s virtual terminal is included in your monthly subscription, you can also access Authorize.net’s virtual terminal and payment gateway at a significantly reduced rate.
  • QuickBooks Online Pro sync. With this optional add-on, transactions that run through the virtual terminal will be added to QuickBooks Pro in real time. This means that your payment information, invoices, and products and services will always be up to date.
  • Buy now, pay later schemes. Set up your own “buy now, pay later” schemes via Stax’s virtual terminal. You can set up and send digital invoices and schedule payments on stored cards, giving customers even more flexibility on how they can pay.
  • Third-party integrations. By connecting Stax’s virtual terminal to project management tools like Calendly, you can automate tasks like call scheduling, payment reminders, and more. You can automatically add new customers to your Mailchimp mailing lists, too.
Read more about Stax’s great software in our expert review.

Virtual terminal cost No extra fee
Accepted payment methods
  • Keyed-in cards, stored cards, ACH
  • Apple Pay, Google Pay (Pro plan and above)
Virtual terminal integrations
  • 15+, including QuickBooks Online Pro, Mailchimp, and Asana
  • Custom integrations with developer kit
CNP transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 10¢ (online)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $99.00

Payment Depot is a fit for small, high-volume businesses that process a lot of micropayments or high tickets. It has the same subscription pricing structure as Stax but with lower monthly fees, starting at $79.00, potentially saving you $400/month. Still, you’d need at least $8,000 in monthly card volume. Unlike Stax, it doesn’t offer proprietary software. Instead, you’ll get the fantastic SwipeSimple virtual terminal.

The SwipeSimple virtual terminal is included in your monthly Payment Depot fee, so you don’t need to worry about additional software costs squeezing your profits. On top of that, you’ll only pay the wholesale interchange rate and a low flat fee of 0% + 10¢ (online) for each CNP transactions, which makes using a virtual terminal with Payment Depot one of the best value options available.

Plus, if you’re looking to use a virtual terminal to avoid steep POS hardware costs, this credit card processor has you covered. Payment Depot offers a free Dejavoo terminal to all merchants, so you’ll be able to accept cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay in person. This means you won’t have to use your virtual terminal for in-person transactions, saving you money on the more expensive CNP transaction fees.

Features and Benefits

  • Multiple payment options. SwipeSimple’s virtual terminal allows you to take keyed-in payments and record cash transactions. You can also charge cards that customers have saved to their accounts. You can even create scheduled payments, payment plans, and subscriptions on the virtual terminal, making it even more convenient for customers to pay you.
  • Inventory management. The SwipeSimple virtual terminal has an item catalog that’s automatically updated whenever you sell an in-stock item. This helps you to streamline remote transactions by removing the need to manually search your inventory before each sale.
  • Custom discounts. By setting up discounts in your dashboard ahead of time, you can simply select the applicable discount from a dropdown menu when you run a sale – no need to remember discount codes or percentages.
  • Custom tips. In your SwipeSimple settings, you can set up three custom tip amounts. Whenever you send a payment link or invoice via your virtual terminal, customers will see a prompt asking if they want to leave you a tip.
See other ways you can save money in our in-depth Payment Depot review.

Virtual terminal cost No extra fee
Accepted payment methods Keyed-in cards, stored cards, cash
Virtual terminal integrations None, but Payment Depot integrates with 10+ e-commerce platforms, gateways, and accounting tools
CNP transaction fees on cheapest plan 0% + 10¢ (online)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan $79.00

5. Chase Payment Solutions: Best for Fast Access to Funds

Chase Payment Solutions offers two virtual terminal options. The free Orbital Virtual Terminal enables secure credit-card payment entry for phone orders and remote billing via a web browser. Alternatively, Chase integrates with Authorize.net’s virtual terminal for a fee. While Chase offers a free virtual terminal, it charges higher transaction fees of 3.5% + 10¢ for keyed-in payments.

However, Chase Payment Solutions excels for small businesses needing quick access to funds. With same-day deposits for in-person, mobile, and e-commerce sales (for BigCommerce) when using a Chase Business Checking account, your business can maintain a healthy cash flow. If you deposit to a third-party account, you’ll get your funds the next business day, which is still faster than most competitors.

Additionally, Chase provides various small business loans, including SBA loans, commercial financing, and business lines of credit. These financial products are designed to support the growth and operational needs of small businesses, offering the necessary capital to invest in future opportunities, stabilize sales, or expand operations.

Features and Benefits

  • Streamlined order management. Managing orders is simple with Chase. You can view transaction histories, cancel orders, and issue refunds easily from your virtual terminal, which is vital for maintaining smooth operations.
  • Industry-specific integrations. Chase’s integrations (such as Stax Bill for subscription management and HelpDesk for automating repetitive tasks) can help you enhance efficiency. It also integrates with industry-specific software like PayRent, which streamlines online rent collection, and PREto3, which manages childcare centers.
  • Business analytics software. Chase Customer Insights offers robust analytics, allowing you to track sales, identify trends, and compare your business performance against similar businesses from your industry or local area.
  • Processing discounts. Chase provides custom B2B pricing and reduced rates for high-ticket sales. With no monthly fee and lower transaction fees, Chase can help you cut your processing costs.
Read our in-depth Chase Payment Solutions review to learn more.

Virtual terminal cost Free or $25/month
Accepted payment methods Keyed-in cards, stored cards, ACH transfers
Virtual terminal integrations
  • 140+, including BigCommerce, Recurly, and JotForm
  • Custom integrations with developer kit
CNP transaction fees on cheapest plan 3.5% + 10¢
Monthly fee on cheapest plan N/A

6. Helcim: Affordable Virtual Terminal for New Businesses

Helcim is ideal for brand new businesses. With transparent pricing and no monthly fees, plus a virtual terminal that’s available at no extra cost, Helcim has a lot to offer businesses that need room to grow. Its virtual terminal is easy to use and intuitive, making it a good choice for businesses that don’t have a lot of experience with payment processing.

Helcim’s proprietary virtual terminal has everything you’d expect. It lets you take keyed-in transactionsfor 0.50% +25¢ (virtual) per transaction, which is lower than many competitors. Additionally, it lets you process ACH transfers and charge cards that customers have stored on file. You can also easily set up invoices and attach them to your virtual terminal transaction, which can save you time on administrative tasks.

Another option you’ll have is downloading the virtual terminal to your tablet or smartphone for taking payments on the go. Plus, if you need more payment options, you can seamlessly connect one of Helcim’s Bluetooth card readers to extend the virtual terminal’s functionality. Just bear in mind that Helcim’s card readers can’t be reprogrammed to work with another payment processor, and you don’t get any free hardware for signing up.

Features and Benefits

  • Payment links. Helcim’s virtual terminal allows you to request payments from customers via email or text message, making it even more convenient for customers to pay you.
  • Volume-based discounts. Helcim offers discounted pricing for businesses that process over $25,000 each month. This will help you to save money in the long run.
  • Customer portal. Customers can create an account to manage their payment method and invoices. Whenever you create a new invoice, customers will receive an automatic notification, so they’ll never miss an invoice again.
  • Recurring payments. Helcim gives you multiple ways to set up recurring payments in the virtual terminal. You can choose between flat payments, prorated payments, and even free trials, making it easy to build a payment schedule that suits your business.
Read our full Helcim review to see more great features.

Virtual terminal cost No extra fee
Accepted payment methods Keyed-in cards, stored cards, ACH transfers
Virtual terminal integrations
  • 5
  • Custom integrations with developer kit
CNP transaction fees on cheapest plan 0.50% +25¢ (virtual)
Monthly fee on cheapest plan N/A

Other Notable Virtual Terminals for Credit Card Processing

7. Sekure Payment Experts

Although not a payment processor, Sekure Payment Experts partners with various vendors to provide tailored processing solutions. Through its partners, the company gives access to multiple virtual terminals, including a free one for phone, email, or text payments. Options like Authorize.net, NMI, and Cybersource are available for a fee.

Sekure Payment Experts’ no-cost processing program shifts transaction fees, typically 4%, to card-paying customers, which could benefit small businesses on a budget. However, without the zero-cost processing plan, you will face higher transaction fees of 2.99% + 19¢ (in-person & online) on its interchange plus and 3.5% + 19¢ (in-person & online) on its flat-rate plan, which could be costlier for businesses with high transaction volumes​​​​.

8. Square

Square is optimal for small online businesses due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of setup. It offers a free proprietary virtual terminal, allowing you to instantly take payments in various ways, including in-person and remotely, without a monthly fee on starting plans. You can also use its virtual terminal via a desktop app, Square Charge, to process custom amounts instantly, but it’s only available on Mac devices.

However, Square’s pricing, although transparent, comes with higher fees for manually entered transactions compared to some competitors, like LMS. Its account termination policy, which allows it to terminate your account without prior notice or explanation, might not be favorable for some high-risk businesses. Still, if you want predictable processing costs and plenty of features for free, Square is a great option.

Choosing the Best Virtual Terminal for Credit Card Processing

As companies hunt for budget-friendly alternatives to costly POS equipment, they are increasingly turning to virtual terminals for processing payments. However, it’s crucial to recognize that every virtual terminal doesn’t offer the same features or ease of use. You should strive to pick a virtual terminal that lets you comfortably receive payments customized to your company’s requirements.

Leaders Merchant Services is ideal if security and low processing costs are your top priorities. LMS offers the Authorize.net virtual terminal, which comes with some of the most advanced fraud detection and prevention tools on the market. Additionally, it provides custom plans and lets you negotiate your rates, meaning you’ll only pay for what you need.

I recommend Paysafe for businesses processing high-value items or subscriptions within the US and globally. You benefit from two virtual terminal options: a free one and discounted access to Authorize.net’s virtual terminal. In addition, you’ll get access to a cost-effective chargeback management program and advanced subscription management capabilities.

Stax’s virtual terminal is one of the best in the industry. This proprietary virtual terminal is designed to work seamlessly with the rest of Stax’s software tools, making setting up digital invoices or payment links easy. Additionally, Stax’s subscription-based pricing model with low transaction fees can save you up to 40% if you’re a high-volume or high-ticket business.

Here’s what you need to know about the best virtual terminals on today’s market:
Best Feature Best For Monthly fee on cheapest plan Transaction fees on cheapest plan
Leaders Merchant Services Industry-leading fraud detection and prevention tools Small and high-risk businesses that need an extra safety net $9.00 ~2.9% + 30¢
Paysafe Two virtual terminals and support for international processing in 120+ markets Businesses that process high-ticket transactions (globally) and subscription businesses $16.00 0.99% + 25¢ (debit cards)
Stax Virtual terminal with seamless connection to Stax’s other proprietary software High-volume businesses that need modern payment software $99.00 0% + 10¢ (online)
Payment Depot Virtual terminal included in your monthly fee Budget-conscious businesses $79.00 0% + 10¢ (online)
Chase Payment Solutions Two virtual terminals, one of which free Businesses that need fast access to their funds or additional funding N/A 3.5% + 10¢
Helcim Intuitive virtual terminal that can easily connect with mobile card readers New businesses that lack experience with payment software N/A 0.50% +25¢ (virtual)


What is a virtual terminal for processing credit cards?

A virtual terminal is a browser-based application that allows users to accept payments by keying in card information. Certain options, like Stax’s virtual terminal, will also allow you to charge cards stored in a card vault or key in bank information to process ACH transfers.

What is the difference between a virtual terminal and a payment gateway?

A payment gateway is usually used for e-commerce, so it will have a customer-facing interface that allows customers to input their own card information or connect digital wallets. With a virtual terminal, merchants must input customer card information themselves. Some terminals can connect to invoicing software to generate and send customer invoices or payment links

Is it illegal to take card payments over the phone?

It’s not illegal, but it does come with some increased risks. If you take card payments over the phone, there are more systems involved (such as your telephone line or VOIP provider) that need to be secured against cyber attacks. On top of that, because you cannot see the cardholder and their payment card, it’s difficult to spot signs of fraud. Because of this, it’s best to use a virtual terminal with a payment processor like LMS that offers advanced fraud detection and prevention systems to keep your business safe.

How much does a virtual terminal cost?

This depends on the payment processor – for instance, some subscription-style processors include a virtual terminal in your monthly fee. Most of our top credit card processors in 2024 charge a small monthly fee to use a virtual terminal, but you’ll usually get a free POS device that evens this out. One thing to note is that virtual terminals take “card-not-present (CNP) payments,” so you’ll usually pay a higher per-transaction fee due to the increased risk of fraud.

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