The information can be captured by swiping or manually entering the card information, that is then automatically sent to the merchant service provider for verification and authorization. What has also changed over the last few decades, is the manner in which the information is transferred.
In earlier periods, information was sent over telephone lines, using the dial-up procedures, although this process, may still be in use, it has largely been replaced by transfer over IP networks. The IP Terminal functions in the same manner of the dial-up procedure except that it the transfer is done over the Internet instead of the phone lines. The process is much faster, and may also cost less.
Current terminals are now able to process much more than credit and debit card information. Some models can be programmed to process checks and gift cards. There are also terminal available with limited storage memory, where the information can be held temporarily, for later transmission, in case the transmission cannot be processed immediately.
A popular type of terminal is the wireless terminal which transmits the information over wireless CDMA, or General Packer Radio Service networks. These solutions are ideal for the use with mobile devices, and offer the ability to accept payments anywhere. A wireless terminal can give merchants an advantage by offering extended customer service, while it can also assist in the exploration of new sales opportunities.
Credit card data can also be transmitted with a PC with the appropriate software, or even smartphones or tablets, that include the reading devices. The credit card numbers may also be entered manually. When buying or renting credit card terminals, it is important to consider PCI DSS compliance. The data must be handled in a secure environment, and the terminal should be able to support the transmission of encrypted information.
Another cost-effective alternative, especially for online retailers, are virtual credit card terminals. The entire payment and processing process is completed over the Internet. As the growth of ecommerce continues, small and medium sized business that are involved in ecommerce transactions, but do not have the resource to handle dedicated payments services, and handle payments with nothing more than a browser and in Internet connection. Virtual terminals provide merchants with additional versatility and flexibility, as they can be combined or with other terminals, such as POS terminals and are they are quickly becoming the default option for many online retailers.