Payment Terminal – A piece of hardware that allows a merchant to swipe or key-in credit card information as well as any other information required to process a credit card transaction.
Point-of-Sale (POS) System – A piece of hardware similar to a payment terminal that has functionality tailored to the business’s need. For example, a grocery store POS system would have a pre-loaded product list for easy checkout.
Mobile Payments – The umbrella term for accepting credit card transactions from mobile devices. Methods include QR-Code based acceptance, Near Field Communication (NFC), and Card-Present transactions swiped on a piece of hardware (dongle) plugged into a phone.
Virtual Terminal – A Virtual Terminal is a piece of software or web-based application that allows you to accept transactions from your computer. Virtual Terminals are typically used for card-not-present transactions and are taken over the phone or via mail order.
Payment Gateway – A Payment Gateway is the connector between a payment application (Virtual Terminal, POS System, shopping cart) and the card processing networks. Typically, a Payment Gateway can be “integrated” into these payment applications using an Application Programming Interface (API).
Integrated Solution – For companies that are accepting payments through an online shopping cart or through their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, an integrated payment solution is preferred. This allows the Payment Gateway to directly connect to your system without having a separate application to accept payments. This minimizes manual labor associated with payment acceptance and increases the accuracy of the reconciliation process.