This is a comprehensive guide to face to face card payments. In this guide you will learn:
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With a merchant account you can accept payments in person, on the go or online. Our comprehensive 2019 PDQ machine guide on provides everything you need to know about card payments in order to find best provider for you business.
A PDQ Machine is a payment point of sale terminal that allows businesses to take card payments from customers.
PDQ stands for and is an abbreviation of Process Data Quickly.
Our cashless society means businesses need a card payment solution more now than ever.
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 credit card machine to allow customers to make payments means you are likely to lose a huge number of customers.
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 for your business.
Each card machine provider will have its own pros and cons. Depending on your business needs, size of business and volume of transactions. Let’s go ahead and look at the top UK providers below.
Worldpay is Europe’s biggest merchant account provider. They have a wide variety of options and payment solutions with cost ranging from £0.00- £49.99 per month. They is no joining fee whatsoever and their pricing policy is upfront and simple. Worldpay is trusted and used by more than 3 million businesses in the UK alone.
Their online dashboard offers 24/7 support in the UK. You can access your account and view all your transaction information conveniently 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.
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, and you can take advantage of several types of payment options: face-to-face, phone and online. It is also PCI DSS compliant which means that your payments are transferred securely to you within two days.
Payment Sense has created a market for itself in the UK and already has 50,000 businesses registered with them. It is one of the only merchant service providers in the UK to offer capped rates which most small businesses find affordable and supportive. Usually 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 that 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 anything suspicious. Also providing 24/7 customer support for all their UK clients which has made PaymentSense a trusted name as a merchant account provider.
PaymentSense offers a start package from £8.50/month whereas their pro package costs £16.60/month allowing you to process up to £1.2 million a year.
Paypal‘s merchant account remains at the top of the list in relation to popularity for small businesses that are just starting out. Set-up is easy and fees can be as low as £1.9%. There are a few distinct features which make it an ideal choice for most retailers. It has a one-step checkout which saves the customers from the hassle of entering their debit or credit card details each time.
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.
Small businesses who are looking for a short-term contract with no joining or exit fees will find Takepayments to be a good choice merchant account provider. Takepayments has 12-month contracts and can provide you with countertop, portable or mobile PDQ machines. They also allow transactions over the phone or online, giving you complete control over all kinds of payment methods.
Takepayments is a professional company that 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, 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.
First Data has been in the UK card acceptance and processing business for last 20 years. It provides in-depth merchant services which cover countertop, mobile, portable, online and contactless solutions. They help to integrate payment terminals into your business website or on premises. They have a service called GlobalChoice which allows businesses to make payments in their home currencies. 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.
Global Payments is originally an American merchant service provider which has its UK office based in Leicester. It already holds 20% of the UK market since it acquired the HSBC merchant services in 2009.
They offers different payment solution covering face-to-face payments and online payment. All major credit and debit cards are supported, providing flexible pricing and rapid processing solutions. It does not mention any fees on its website, but you can contact Global Payments for more information.
Elavon have been around for more than 20 years and is a leader in providing merchant account services. They offer the latest technology in payment processing and have many large worldwide enterprises as customers.
Elavon offers loyalty and gift card programmes to its merchants. It is by far the number 1 payment processor for airlines as it provides tailored solutions for this industry. It automatically accepts Apple Pay as well.
Barclaycard provide PDQ Machines and virtual terminals to allow businesses to take payments in person, online or over the phone. They offer a range of payment processing options which include mobile, countertop and portable options.
Handepay pledges to pay you £1000 if they cannot save your business money. It has a 9.7 rating out of 10 on Trustpilot and claim to be the go-to provider for low-cost services. Handepay does not charge any set-up fee, authorisation fee and there are no minimum monthly service charges as well.
Evo Payments was founded in 1989 as an international payment company which currently handles £80 billion worth of transactions around the globe each year. They offer special solutions to UK customers which allow payments to be accepted easily in store, online or over the phone. They offer various price plans to suit different business needs, including all-inclusive bundles. Evo payments also provide a single integration for software developers.
Cashflow have been helping businesses process payments online for years. They cover man 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.
Lloyds bank Cardnet process over 1 billion transactions a year. Serving 75,000 businesses Cardnet offers payment processing solutions both online and face to face to businesses of all sizes.
Offering affordable 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.
Founded in 2009 Card Cutters provide over 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 offers small and larger businesses a reliable and efficient payment solution.
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 commerce 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 allows 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. Provided by one of the worlds biggest merchant account providers many businesses are already reaping the benefits.
21. UTP Merchant Services provides a range of card machines and online gateway solutions to businesses in the UK. With competitive rates and first class customer support they are trusted by many retailers, pubs, bars and stores to provide card payment solutions.
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. In 2018 customers no longer demand but expect to have the option of paying by card on all purchases they make.
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 PDQ Machine. Each card machine provider has different fees and charges so it’s a good idea to get quotes from several before committing to any contract. PDQ terminal 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 for the 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 most suited to your business allowing you to save time and money.
What are the different types of PDQ Card Machines?
There are three types of card terminals/ PDQ machines: portable, countertop and mobile.
Mobile Card Machines / Wireless Card Machine
The 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
Portable Card Machine
The 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
Countertop Card Machine
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, restaurants, 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
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.
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 customer 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. A merchant would usually have to me go through the following below steps to take a card payment.
1. Merchant keys in payment amount into the PDQ Machine
2. Merchant presents PDQ Machine to the customer
3. Customer confirms the amount and has the option of inserting their card into the card machine or paying by contactless (please be aware the tranaction cap for £30).
4. If the customer inserted their card they will now be prompted to provide their 4 digit pin and press the Enter key to confirm by the PDQ machine.
5. The card machine will then contact the merchant bank for authorisation for the sale. If it is approved the transaction will go through otherwise an error will be displayed.
6. After a successful transaction the card machine will print two receipt copies. One for the merchant and one to hand to the customer.
Additional Value Added Features of a Card 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.
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.
There are literally dozens and dozens of different card machines available on the market today. In the post we look at the leading card machine manufacturers who provide the hardware and technology to make taking payments possible.
1. Ingenico Card Machine
2. Verifone Chip and Pin Machine
3. Spire Card Machine
An independent provider of point of sale hardware and software solutions. Spire has 30 years of experience in the payments industry and uses this to bring innovative solutions to the market. They serve many sectors ranging from finance, to retail and hospitality. Their product range include countertop, portable and mobile terminals as well as pin pads.
What features do Spire credit card machines have?
Spire credit card machines, which are just one type of equipment that Spire manufactures, include countertop machines, handheld, mobile machines, multi-lane machines which are great with quick and foolproof card swiping and transaction processing, pin pads for merchants to be able to accept debit cards, and networking and related software. All Spire credit card machines include the same basic functionality of being able to process a credit card transaction and produce a simplistic receipt. More expensive models of Spire credit card machines are able to process debit cards, checks and even gift cards, and many can do so wirelessly, and with the use of a few batteries. Spire credit card machines can also do read-outs and print-outs of last transaction, specific transactions, and overall history for X amount of days or even months.
4. Hypercom Card Machine
Hypercom provided card payment machines solution. In 2011 they were acquired by Spire Payments.
PAX is a worldwide provider of electronical payment terminal solution. They provide both android and lunix powered payment terminals to merchants. They serve over 100 countries and have 25 million terminals in use worldwide.
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. 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.
When you have a PDQ 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Next Step: Get yourself a PDQ machine for your business.
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.
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.