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PDQ Machines – The perfect solution to taking card payments – Updated September 2019


Does your business need to take credit card payments from customers? With a merchant account you can accept payments in person, on the go or online. Check out our comprehensive 2019 PDQ machine guide on provides everything you need to know about card payments in order to find best card machine for you business.


What is a PDQ Machine?

What does a PDQ credit card machine stand for?  PDQ stands for and is an abbreviation of Process Data Quickly.

A PDQ Machine is a payment point of sale terminal.


Credit card terminals have been around for a long time now, the current chip and pin machine is a relatively new introduction in the UK market. Before the introduction of chip & pin machines in 2003, customers had to sign for every payment made by card. Retailers had to verify the signatures with those signed at the back of the card. We have come a long way now with the popularity of contactless card payments and mobile card readers such as iZettle and Sumup.
A recent survey by YouGov reveals that almost two-thirds of the customers carry less than £20 in cash. In comparison 93% of customers carry a debit or credit card with them always. Not being equipped with a chip and pin machine means you are likely to lose a huge number of customers.


Looking to take payment with the use of your phone or tablet? Click here to find out who the best mobile card reader providers are…


How does a PDQ Machine work?

Before the launch of chip and pin technology older card machines would read information on a magnetic strip. This occurred when it was swiped. Swiping credit cards though a card machine was very common. The card terminal would then check the customers had enough balance in their account and if the signatures matched with what was on record.


Present day chip and pin technology allow customers to buy securely in a matter of few seconds. Each cardholder has a unique 4-digit PIN code that they input into the card terminal. This PIN code acts similarly to the magnetic strip. The cardholder is no longer required to provide a signature to complete the transaction using a card machine. All the customer needs to do is insert their credit or debit card into the card machine and input their pin. The transaction will then go through if the pin is correct. A receipt is then produced by the credit card machine.


With the emergence of contactless payments most customers now simple tap their bank card (if enabled for contactless payments) into the PDQ machine and the transaction will go through. Contactless card payments have a £30 transaction cap. Any transaction over the £30 limit will need the customer to input their pin.


Why you should get a card machine?

Getting a business card machine will enable you to take card payments from all the major debit and credit card  providers such AMEX, Mastercard and Visa. It will also allow you to accept contactless making taking payment quick and efficient for your business.


How do I get set up with a PDQ Machine?

As a business, you cannot use a PDQ card machine until you have set up a merchant account. You will need a unique merchant account number to accept payments from customers. Your merchant account number is linked to your PDQ machine. This ensures that all the payments are going to your merchant account. Most banks offer merchant account services. You are only required to buy and install the card machine.


Setting up a PDQ terminal is easy. For example with a mobile machine once you get your terminal through the post you are giving a merchant ID number. The credit card terminal will also come with a power cable and power supply. Before installing the card terminal you must use the power supply to charge the device. Once fully charged you are prompted to input your unique merchant ID number into the terminal. When entered the card terminal will automatically begin to download the latest software the card machine requires to work. Once updated you will need to setup a unique 4 digit pin pass-code that you will use to authorise certain functions such as refunds. Once this is complete your machine will display a ready status and is ready to use.


For portable, desktop and WiFi card terminals the process is similar. However, further steps such as connecting to your WiFi, local network (enthernet cable) or telephone line may be required.



What are the different types of PDQ Card Machines?


There are three types of card terminals/ PDQ machines: portable, countertop and mobile. Watch the video below for a quick 45 seconds explanation.

Mobile Card Machines / Wireless Card Machine


mobile pdq card machineThe mobile chip and pin card machine is ideal for tradesman, delivery businesses, pop up store owners and anyone business that needs to take payments on the road. Mobile card machines are fast, secure and provide businesses with a flexible ways to accept card payments. They allow businesses to accept payments anywhere with 3G coverage or WiFi.


Benefits of a mobile card machine

  • Accept payments on the go
  • Accepts all payment options
  • Take Secure payments
  • 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth and WIFI Connectivity
  • Designed for mobility
  • Accepts NFC Payments


Portable Card Machine

contactless card machineThe portable card machine is the perfect solution for pubs, cafes and restaurants. Portable card terminals can work within up to 100 metres from its base. The device connects via Bluetooth and allows business owners to take the card terminal to a customers to take payments.


Benefits of a portable card machine for small businesses

  • Accept payment from a fixed point
  • Easily connected by phoneline or internet
  • Accept contactless, Chip & Pin, Apple Pay & Android Pay
  • Cashback and gratuities options available
  • Full PCI Compliance highly secure card machines



Countertop Card Machine

ingenico credit card terminal ict250

Countertop card machines operates from a fixed location so are therefore less flexible than the mobile and portable card machine. It is widely used by retailers, small supermarkets and shopping outlets to take credit card payments. The card machine must be connected to an internet connection or a telephone line to work. It is a cost-effective solution for businesses that take payments from a fixed premise such as a shop counter.


Benefits of Countertop/ Desktop Card Machine

  • High Security
  • All Payment Options – Chip & Pin, Contactless, NFC
  • Small & Compact for easy handling and use
  • All connectivity & communication – modem, Ethernet, GPRS or 3G
  • Brand promotion options on the terminal.



Compare chip and pin machine prices for small businesses by filling in our quote form. Get a quote within 24hrs.

Still trying to figure out where to start? Do not waste any more time. Simply fill out our quote form and we will connect you with the leading credit card machine supplier in the UK.



The countertop card machine usually sits next to the till or cashpoint and has a fixed point. It’s connected by broadband and widely used by most traditional retailers.


For businesses such as restaurants, cafes, bars, etc. a portable card machine is the best option. This machine relies on wireless or Bluetooth technology and will only work within the range of a central wi-fi spot. A portable PDQ machine is ideal for the hospitality industry. It enables payments to be made with a little bit more flexibility when compared to the countertop machine which are fixed to a counter.


A mobile card machine is best suited to sellers who are mobile and are travelling on the road between customers.


Modern card machines have a contactless card payment facility. This allows buyers to make a payment of up to £30 by simply tapping their contactless credit card on the machine.


How much does it cost to have a PDQ Machine?


When you have a PDQ machines there will be several costs in your merchant account contract agreement which you should be aware of. These costs may vary depending on whether you decide to buy or lease your payment terminal.


The pdq card machine is needed by your business to take physical card payments by credit and debit card. The first costs that you will face are the setup costs. This will differ depending on several factors such as how many terminals you will need and the length of your contract. As a business depending on the number of card machines you need you may be able to negotiate a discount with the merchant accounts provider.


What are the cost of purchasing a PDQ card machine?

If you decide on buying a PDQ card machine outright the cost will be anything between £150 – £600 depending on features required. When purchasing instead of renting you should note that you will be required to pay maintenance fees. Should anything go wrong with the card machine it is the suppliers responsibility to fix. Usually the card terminal will come with a 12 – 24-month warranty from the manufacturer. If you decide on a mobile card reader solution such as iZettle, Paypal Here or Sumup prices for the card readers range from £25-£100.


What is the rental cost of a Credit Card Machine?

Credit card machine rental cost can very. If you decide to rent a PDQ credit card machine from a provider you will usually be tied into a 24-month contract. Monthly cost when hiring a PDQ machine is usually between £20-£30. Businesses will usually have to agree to a card terminal hire agreement. Once this agreement comes to an end it will become a rolling contract until the merchant decides to either renew or cancel.


What are the transaction cost fees associated with taking card payments with a chip and pin machine?

PDQ machines for Small Businesses 1Merchant account providers charge a transaction fee every-time you use a card machine to take a credit or debit card payment. The fees are usually defined before you agree to your contract. They can vary depending on the type of business you are. Charges for taking credit card payment can range from between 2.5% – 5% of the purchase. For debit card payments it can range from 5p to 25p per transaction.


What are the cost of a merchant account for high risk businesses?

Merchants such as gambling, software and travel companies have higher transaction fees. This is due to them being compared considered “high risk” compared to other businesses. Factors such as number of charge-backs and order cancellations determine whether a business is classified high risk . Prices vary and can be negotiated with the merchant account provider.


Should I buy or rent a Card Machine?

As a business you have the option of buying a PDQ machine outright. You also have an alternative to rent through companies who offer merchant accounts. There is a slight difference between card machines. Some machines will accept debit/credit card and some may only accept certain debit cards. Knowing which cards you want to accept can help you make the right choice of terminal.


Buying the PDQ machine allows you to own it, but it may not be the best option for you. Renting allows you more flexibility since you do not have to pay for its maintenance or repair. If anything goes wrong, your provider is liable to supply you with a new PDQ machine.


One reason why renting a PDQ machine is a better option than buying is due to advancements in technology. If you bought your machine you face added costs if new changes are introduced to chip and pin technology. Such a cost may be having to purchase a newer model in order to make use of new features. A similar situation happened with businesses when they were forced to switch from swipe to chip and pin. They had to incur the costs of getting a new machine as their swipe machines became more obsolete. If you are renting, you can just switch to an updated version for a small charge.


What are the advantages of a PDQ Machine?

The first thing to consider is that customers today expect to pay by card. Not having a card terminal can lead to huge loss in sales. Any cost that you incur due to acquiring a card terminal/PDQ machine are made up for quickly through new sales opportunities. Customers tend to spend more money when buying on card than they would with physical cash. When paying in cash, customers can physically feel the amount being spent – psychologically this makes us cautious to spend. Whereas with card payments, the customers are not handing out cash and often tend to spend more. For these obvious reasons, as a business, it is advantageous to have a PDQ machine.


Security provided by PDQ machines are also a big benefit for businesses with a credit card processing terminal. No longer do you have the worry about keeping huge sums of cash payments secure. You can be assured that the majority of money your business takes goes straight to your bank. PDQ machines process secure transactions in seconds, with accuracy and safety.


MoneyCharity states £1.2 billion worth of card transactions take place every day. Can you imagine losing out on sales by not offering customers access to a most convenient form of payments? Any business that is starting out would make a wise choice to get hold of a PDQ machine by signing up with an independent payment processor. It is a relatively straightforward process, and you can get started today.


Additional Feature of a card payment machine

Mail and Telephone / Customer Not Present Orders is a function that allows business to complete orders when a customer is not present. It can be completed through a payment terminal by manually entering a customers card number when asked to present the card during the purchase process. So instead of inputting the card and entering the pin details a business can enter the card number and security code when prompted into the terminal to complete the purchase.


Gratuity is a feature that allows your customers to leave a tip whilst making a payment on the card machine. As part of the payment process the customer has the option to decide if they want to leave a tip or not.


Pre Authorisation allows businesses to gain access and secure funds from customers without completing the transaction. This is often used by hotels during the booking process or when you are checking in. It is used to ensure funds are available is any charges are incurred during the stay such as room service costs. The transaction is then fully completed at the end of the stay at checkout.

PDQ machines for Small Businesses 2

If you have done a little bit of research, you will find that majority of the high street banks in the UK provide merchant account. Yet they charge a higher fee as compared to other payment providers or ISO’s.



It is well worth knowing the difference between different independent sales organisations (ISO). Each of them has a different focus and hence a different fee structure. You will need to assess which merchant account provider suits your business requirements and budget.



Save 40% Comparing Card Processing Fees. Get a Free Card Reader Quote Today!

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