Graphic of hands putting together a credit card as if it were a puzzle.

Interviews with Things: Virtual Terminal

Part of our ongoing conversations with the technology that makes our work possible

Cash register photo by David Carboni on Unsplash.

This week we sat down with Virtual Terminal, a key asset in any merchant’s processing arsenal. Take a look at how Virtual got started, how they benefit merchants, and their surprising dream job. 

Gravity Payments: Welcome to the blog. We’re thrilled to have you.

Virtual Terminal: I’m thrilled to be here.

GP: Excellent. I know our readers are excited to learn more about you, so I’ll just jump in. How did you get your start?

VT: Ha, well, it’s a bit embarrassing, but it was nepotism pure and simple. My uncle worked at Stanford and he got me my first job back in the dial-up internet days. Things just took off from there.

GP: The world runs on connections. 

VT: Indeed. That’s true in more ways than one. 

GP: For our readers who don’t know, tell us what you do. For work, I mean.

VT: Right. Well, I basically let a business owner process a credit card payment online through their computer or phone. All they need is an internet connection. I’m a really good backup solution for a standalone terminal or integrated point-of-sale system. 

GP: It sounds like you’re much more than a backup solution to us.

VT: [Self-deprecating laugh.] Sometimes, yes. 

GP: Can you tell us a bit about how you work?

Vintage cash register.
“I always wanted to be one of those old-fashioned cash registers.”

VT: Constantly. [Smiles.]

GP: That’s why there’s coffee!

VT: Indeed. [Laughing.] Seriously, though, my job is pretty simple. A customer or business owner will log into a web page and use a browser to process a payment. 

GP: You make it sound so easy. But I know there’s more to it than that. For example, what’s the difference between a virtual terminal and a payment gateway?

VT: People are always getting us mixed up! A payment gateway is typically used for e-commerce transactions. Virtual terminals like me are usually used by the business owner. 

GP: Ah, it finally makes sense! Okay, so how about you tell us why business owners love you. 

VT: Well, not as much as I love them (truly, I love my work) but — I do allow business owners to:

  • manually enter transactions — securely 
  • access an account from anywhere
  • perform authorizations
  • integrate with a payment gateway 
  • and lots more.

GP: Okay our time is almost up, but can you tell us what business owners you typically work with?

VT: There are a lot but the most common are the ones who accept payments via mail order or telephone, or those who work from home. Others include: nonprofits, government agencies, churches, schools and universities, membership associations, and more. 

GP: Oh, my. That’s a lot. Two more questions: What did you want to be when you grew up?

VT: [Laughs.] I always wanted to be one of those old-fashioned cash registers. I LOVE the sound they make. Cha-ching!

GP: Any parting words? 

VT: Support your local independent business, of course!


Cash register photo by David Carboni on Unsplash.