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Does your business need to accept card payment? Are you losing customers because you don’t have a card machine? If yes – then it is time to put an end to that and start growing your business.

 

This is a comprehensive guide to face to face card payments. In this guide you will learn:

 

  • Different types of card machines
  • Top card machine providers
  • How a card machine works
  • Features of a card machine
  • Top card machine manufacturers

 

Okay lets get started…

 

 

 

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.  Our 2020 PDQ machine guide provides everything you need to know about card payments in order to find best provider for your business.

 

 

What is a PDQ Machine?

 

A PDQ Machine which is also known as a is a point of sale (POS) machine, card payment machine, card machine, card terminal and card reader allows your business to accept card payments from customers.

 

accepting credit and debit card payment transactions

 

What does a PDQ credit card machine stand for? 

 

PDQ simple stands for Process Data Quickly. (and it’s a pretty quick method of taking credit, debit or contactless payments. Beats handling cash & counting the coins.) 

 

 

We live in a cashless society. Businesses need a card payment solution more now than ever.

 

Card Machines have been around for a long time. The current chip and pin credit card machine is a relatively new in the UK market. Before the introduction of chip & pin technology in 2003, customers had to sign for every payment made by card. Retailers then had to verify the signatures with those signed at the back of the card. We have come a long way now since then with the popularity of contactless card payments and mobile card readers such as iZettle and Sumup.

Most customers no longer carry cash. We now live in a cashless society.

 

 

A recent survey by YouGov reveals that two-thirds of the customers carry less than £20 in cash. In comparison 93% of customers always carry a debit or credit card with them. Not being equipped with a credit card machine to allow customers to make payments means your business will lose out on a huge number of customers.

 

Why you should get a card machine for your business?

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 payments quick and efficiently.

 

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Top 20+ UK card machine providers for small businesses.  

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Each card machine provider have their own pros and cons. Depending on your business needs, size of business and volume of transactions one provider may suit you vs the other. Lets go ahead and look at the top UK providers below.

 

Top 20 Credit Card Machine Providers For Small Businesses Reviewed: Company, Cost, Fees and Support for UK Businesses.

 

 

  1. Worldpay

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Worldpay is Europe’s biggest merchant account provider. They have a wide variety of card payment solutions. Cost vary depending on your needs. There is no joining fee and their pricing policy is upfront and simple once you are in touch with them. Worldpay is trusted and used by more than 3 million businesses in the UK alone.

 

Their online dashboard offers 24/7 support. You can access your account and view all your transaction information anytime you wish. They process payments from different card companies across 116 countries, and are PCI DSS compliant. You can negotiate a smart point of sale system to be included in your merchant account package.

Worldpay Website

 

  1. Sagepay

Sagepay is a popular merchant account provider in the UK and provide competitive rates. A credit card usually incurs a 2.5% fee with Sagepay whereas debit cards have a small fee of 40p per transaction. There is no hidden fee involved. Accepting credit card payments has a 2.5% transaction fee. Debit card payments cost 40p per transaction. 

 

You can take advantage of several payment options they provide: face-to-face, phone and online. Their card machines are PCI DSS compliant. Payments accepted are transferred securely to you within two days.

Sagepay Website

 

  1. Payment Sense

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Payment Sense has created a market for itself in the UK and serve 50,000 businesses.  As one of the only merchant service providers in the UK to offer capped rates small businesses find them affordable and supportive. Businesses can expect to receive their card machine within three days of applying online or over the phone.

 

Their fees are competitive and fixed so you won’t get any surprises at any point in your contract with them. PaymentSense have a variety of online tools that you can use for fraud screening, creating invoices and reporting. They offer 24/7 customer support for to all UK clients which has helped them become a trusted merchant account provider.

 

PaymentSense offers a start package from £8.50/month and a pro package which costs £16.60/month.

Paymentsense Website

 

  1. Paypal

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Paypal is popular with small businesses that are just starting out who want to take payments online. Set-up is easy and transaction fees can be as low as £1.9%. 

 

Another great feature of Paypal is that it can accept payment in 25 different currencies and it is integrated with eCommerce solutions such as Shopify, PrestaShop, Magento and WooCommerce. They have also recently launched its mobile credit card machine called Paypal Here. With Paypal Here your business can accept card payments anywhere you have an internet or 3G connection.

Paypal Website

 

  1. Takepayments

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Small businesses who are looking for a short-term contract with no joining or exit fees will find Takepayments to be a good choice . Takepayments offers 12-month contracts and can provide you with countertop, portable or mobile card machine. They allow transactions in person, over the phone or online, giving you complete control over all  payment methods.

 

Takepayments can set up a merchant account for you in few minutes. Likewise, if an issue arises, they are quick to ship you a new card machine or offer you great support, so you don’t miss out on any important transactions for your business.

 

It is one of the only providers in the UK which has local staff that can drop in and sort out any issues that you may have.

Takepayments Website

 

  1. First Data Merchant Account

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First Data has been in the UK card acceptance and processing business for 20 years. They provides in-depth merchant services providing countertop, mobile, portable, online and contactless solutions. They help to integrate payment terminals into your business website or on premises. They have a service GlobalChoice which allows businesses to make payments in their home currency. It has a Data Vault for securing data for future payments, and it is regarded as highly secure merchant service. First Data charges a monthly fee of £15 for 500 transactions or less.

First Data Website

 

  1. Global Payments

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Global Payments is an American merchant service provider which has its UK office based in Leicester. It holds 20% of the UK market since it acquired HSBC merchant services in 2009.

 

They offers payment solutions covering face-to-face payments and online payment. All major credit and debit cards are supported. They have flexible pricing and rapid card processing solutions. Their website does not mention fees, but you can contact Global Payments for more information.

Global Payments Website

 

  1. Elavon

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Elavon have been around for more than 20 years and is a leader in providing merchant services. They offer the latest payment technology. Their large customer base range from small to bigger enterprise level companies.

 

Elavon offers loyalty and gift card programs to their merchants. It is by far the number 1 payment processor for airlines as it provides tailored solutions for the industry. It automatically accepts Apple Pay as well.

Elavon Website

 

  1. Barclay Card

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Barclaycard provide payment solutions that will allow you to take payments in person, online or over the phone. They offer a range of payment processing options which include mobile, countertop and portable card machines.

 

  1. Handepay

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Handepay pledges to pay you £1000 if they cannot save your business money. They have an excellent 9.7 rating out of 10 on Trustpilot and claim to be the go-to provider for small businesses. Handepay don’t charge a fee for set-up or authorisation and there are no minimum monthly service charges.

 

  1. EVO Payments

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Evo Payments was founded in 1989 as an international payments company. They currently handle £80 billion worth of transactions worldwide yearly. They offer special solutions to UK customers. Price plans are tailored to suit different business needs, including all-inclusive bundles. Evo payments also provide a single integration for software developers.

 

  1. Cashflow

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Cashflow have been helping businesses process payments online for years. They cover many sectors and are never afraid to disrupt the payments industry. They provide a merchant account to help you receive payments, a payment gateway to enable online payments and a virtual terminal to help businesses accept mail and telephone orders.

 

  1. Lloyds bank Cardnet

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Lloyds Bank Cardnet process over 1 billion transactions a year. Serving 75,000 businesses Cardnet offers  online and face to face payment processing solutions to businesses of all sizes.

 

  1. XLN pay

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Offering cheap card machine solutions to small businesses in the UK. XLN Pay launched 15 years ago they have served over 500,000 customers. XLN Pay is the perfect solution for start-ups, small shops, hairdressers, cafes and tradesmen.

 

 

  1. Card Cutters

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Founded in 2009 Card Cutters provide card payment solutions to over 7,000 merchant in the UK and Ireland. Getting a card machine from Card Cutters or their sister company Global Card Solutions is easy. They offer small and larger businesses a reliable and efficient payment solution.

 

Small Businesses, sole traders, startups and entrepreneurs …Take payments through your mobile phone or tablet with a card reader.

If you are looking for a more compact, alternative payment solution check out our article on the top mobile card readers providers.

 

16. Izettle launched in 2011 Izettle provide a market leading mobile card reader solution which enable businesses to take card payments.

 

17. Sumup process millions of  transactions worldwide and provide payment solutions via the Sumup mobile card reader.

 

18. Paypal Here Card Reader is provided by one of the biggest providers of online payments Paypal. The card reader allowed Paypal to enter the offline payments market and cater to small businesses in the UK.

 

19. Square was founded by Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey. They provide the perfect card reader solution for small businesses.

 

20. Worldpay Reader is a perfect solution for small businesses who want to take payments. It’s provided by UK’s biggest merchant account provider. Many businesses are already reaping the benefits.

 

21. UTP Merchant Services provides a range of card machines and online gateway solutions to businesses. Competitive rates and first class customer support make them trusted by many retailers, pubs, bars and stores.

 

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Card Machine Provider Options – Compare rental cost, transaction fees, contract and support.

Monthly Terminal Rental Cost Tranaction Fee Joining Fee Minimum Contract Support
Worldpay £17.5 on standard contract. Other plans will differ. Flexible Pricing Plans No joining cost. £150 one off admin fee to get the card machine. 18 Months Contract 24/7 Customer service
Sagepay From £13 Per Month 2% No joining fee No minimum term 24/7 Customer service
PaymentSense 3.85p per transaction No setup fee N/A 24/7 Customer service
Paypal Zero Between 1%-2.75% One of cost of £45 + VAT for card reader No mimimum term UK Customer Service Team
Takepayments NA 0.6% - 2.5% Flat Fee No setup fees 12 Month contract 7 days a week customer service by phone & email.

 

Why your business needs a card machine today…

 

Credit card machines are essential to any business that wants to accept card payments. They offer a hassle free, convenient and secure way for companies large or small to take transactions. In our ever present cashless society any business that does not accept card payments is going to end up losing customers. Customers no longer demand but expect you to have a card payment machine. 

 

So how does a new business or start-ups ensure they do not lose out on customers? The answer is simple they need to start accepting card payment immediately. There are many credit card machine suppliers on the market that will provide your business with a card terminal. Each card machine provider has different fees and charges so it’s a good idea to get quotes from several before committing. Card machine providers will often charge monthly fees whilst there is also card processing cost associated with taking payments as we’ve discussed earlier.

 

The list of merchant account providers are endless. Every business is different and many can benefit and save if they pick the right merchant account provider their business. Here is where we can help. By completing our online quote form our specialist team will connect you to the right provider for your business. This service is free. You will receive comparison quotes from up to four providers suited to your business allowing you to save time and money.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

How do I get set up with a PDQ Machine?

 

As a business, you cannot use a 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 credit card terminal. This ensures that all the payments are going to your merchant account. Most banks offer merchant account services. However as a business you will get a better deal shopping around different merchant services providers to find the best one for you.  You are only required to buy or rent the PDQ machine.

 

Setting up a PDQ machine 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 card 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.

 

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How much does it cost to have a PDQ Machine?

 

When you have a card payment machine 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.  Monthly rental costs are usually between £20 to £50. The other main cost is the transaction fees a merchant will incur every time they take a credit card payment. Generally you can expect this fee to be between 2%-4% . For debit card payments it can range from 5p to 25p per transaction.

These costs 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 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 card 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 card payment 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.

 

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Next Step: Get yourself a card machine for your business.

 

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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. Card 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.

 

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.

 

So now you know a lot about PDQ machines and why as a business you need one to take card payments. Now is time to take the next step. Let us help you get started with a free comparison quote. Simple fill in our quote form and we will let you know the best providers, features and fees for your business. 

 

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