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Credit Card Machine Options For Your Small Business. (2023)
Everything You Need to Know About PDQ Machines: A Complete Guide for Small Businesses
If you’re a business owner and you’re not accepting credit card payments, you’re missing out on customers. In a cashless society, it’s essential to have a card payment solution. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about PDQ card payments, including different types of PDQ machines, top credit card processing companies, how a PDQ machine works, and the features of a PDQ machine. Whether you’re a small business owner or an established retailer, our 2020 PDQ machine guide provides everything you need to know about card payments, so you can find the best small business credit card processing solution for you.
With a PDQ card machine, you can accept payments in person, on the go, or online. Our 2023 PDQ machine guide provides everything you need to know about card payments. Let us start helping you find the best small business credit card processing solution for you. Okay, let us get started:
What is a PDQ machine?
A PDQ machine, also known as PDQ Terminal, Payment Terminal, point of sale (POS) machine, card payment machine, card machine, credit card terminal, and card reader, allows your business to accept card payments from customers.
What does a PDQ machine stand for?
PDQ simply stands for “Process Data Quickly” or as the cool kids call it “Pretty Damn Quick” (and it is a pretty quick method of accepting credit, debit, or contactless payments. It trumps handling cash & counting coins given to you by customers.)
We live in a cashless society. Businesses need a card payment solution more now than ever.
In August 2019, Britons spent £223 million a day on contactless payments. In total, there were 726 million contactless payments made that month in research conducted by UK Finance. With the range of payment options now available to customers, this is now the preferred option, which makes it essential to ensure your business caters to the needs of potential customers. UK Payments forecasts that by 2028 only one in ten payments will be made using cash, while over half will be made using a credit or debit card.
A recent survey by YouGov revealed that two-thirds of customers carry less than £20 in cash. In comparison, 93% of customers always carry a debit or credit card with them. Fun fact. Not accepting card payments will mean you will lose out on customers.
PDQ Machines have been around for a long time. The current chip and pin machine are relatively new in the UK market. Before the intro of chip & pin technology in 2003, customers had to sign for every card payment. Retailers then had to verify the signatures matched the back of the card. We have come a long way now since then, with the popularity of contactless card payments. More recently, mobile card readers such as iZettle and Sumup have also entered the market, providing merchants with more affordable solutions.
Why you should get a PDQ machine for your business?
Getting a business card machine will enable you to take card payments from all major debit and credit cards such as AMEX, Mastercard, and Visa. It will allow you to accept contactless payments quickly and efficiently.
What are the different types of Card Machines?
There are three types of card terminals/ card machines: portable, countertop, and mobile. (View all the leading UK card machine providers here)
Mobile Card Machines / Wireless Card Machines
The mobile card machine is ideal for tradesmen, delivery businesses, pop up store owners, and any business that needs to take payments on the road. Mobile card machines are fast, secure, and provide companies with a flexible way 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
The portable card machine is the perfect solution for pubs, cafes, and restaurants. Portable card terminals can work up to 100 metres from their base. The device connects via Bluetooth and allows business owners to take the credit card terminal to customers to receive payments.
Benefits of a portable credit card machine for small businesses
- Accept payment from a fixed point
- Easily connected by phone line or internet
- Accept contactless, Chip & Pin, Apple Pay & Android Pay
- Cashback and gratuities options are available
- Full PCI Compliance highly secure card machines
Countertop Card Machine
Countertop card machines operate from a fixed location and are therefore less flexible than mobile and portable card machines. 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
- 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.
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 WiFi spot. A portable card machine is ideal for the hospitality industry. It enables payments to be made with a little more flexibility compared to the countertop machine, which is fixed to a counter.
A mobile card machine is best suited to sellers who are mobile and are traveling on the road between customers.
Modern card machines have a contactless card payment facility. Contactless allows buyers to make a payment of up to £45 by tapping their contactless credit card on the device.
How does a Card Machine work?
Before the launch of chip and pin technology, older card machines would read the information on a magnetic strip when swiped—swiping credit cards through a card machine was very common. The card terminal would then check if the customer had enough balance in their account and if the signatures matched with what was on the record.
Present-day chip and pin technology allow customers to buy securely in a matter of a few seconds. A merchant would usually have to go through the below steps to take a card payment.
1. Merchant keys in payment amount into the card machine terminal.
2. Merchant presents a card machine to the customer.
3. The customer confirms the amount and has the option of inserting their card into the card machine or paying by contactless (please be aware the transaction cap has now been increased to £45).
4. If the customer inserted their card, they would be prompted to provide their four-digit pin and press the Enter key to confirm on 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 is displayed.
6. After a successful transaction, the PDQ machine will print two receipt copies—one for the merchant and one to hand to the customer.
Additional Value Added Features of a PDQ Card Machine
Mail and Telephone / Customer Not Present Orders is a function that allows a business to complete orders when a customer is not present. Payment can be achieved through a payment terminal by manually entering a customer’s card number when asked to present it 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 while 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. Hotels often follow this during the booking process or when you are checking in. It is used to ensure funds are available for charges 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 research, you will find that most of the high-street banks in the UK provide merchant accounts. Yet they charge a higher fee as compared to other payment suppliers or ISO’s.
Top 5 Credit Card Machine Manufacturers
There are dozens and dozens of different PDQ 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
Ingenico provides credit card terminals in over 170 countries. They have over 32 million card terminals distributed to businesses worldwide. They are the number one choice with many banks, retailers, and small business outlets worldwide. Over 70% of global retail brands currently use Ingenico card payment machines.
With a wide range of services and solutions for merchants, Ingenico allows taking card payments to be a seamless experience. Their product range consists of solutions for both face-to-face, online, or mobile on-the-go payments.
2. Verifone Chip and Pin Machine
As well as providing card payment terminals, they also take advantage of the latest technological changes. Their range includes mobile card payment machine solutions. Verifone takes security very seriously. Security is tightly integrated into every part of their business to ensure both merchants and cardholders are protected.
3. Spire Card Machine
Spire is 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 includes countertop, portable and mobile terminals as well as pin pads.
What features do Spire PDQ machines have?
Spire credit card machines include countertop, handheld, and mobile devices. All Spire PDQ card machines have the same basic functionality as being able to process a credit card transaction and produce a simplistic receipt.
4. Hypercom Card Machine
Hypercom provided card payment machine solutions. In 2011 they were acquired by Spire Payments.
PAX is a worldwide provider of electronic payment terminal solutions. They provide both android and Linux-powered payment terminals to merchants. They serve over 100 countries and have 25 million terminals in use worldwide.
PDQ Machine Provider Options – Compare rental cost, transaction fees, contract and support.
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 make transactions. In our ever-present cashless society, any business that does not accept card payments will 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-up ensure they do not lose out on customers? The answer is simple; they need to start accepting card payments immediately. There are many credit card machine suppliers on the market that will provide your business with a card terminal. Each payment processing company has different fees, so it’s good to get quotes from several before committing. Card machine providers often charge monthly fees and credit card processing costs associated with taking payments.
The list of merchant account providers is endless. Every business is different, and many can benefit and save if they pick the right merchant account provider. 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.
If you have done a little bit of research, you will find that the majority of high street banks in the UK provide merchant account services. Be careful with banks as they often charge a higher fee than other payment providers or ISOs.
How do I get set up with a PDQ machine?
As a business, you cannot use a portable, countertop, or mobile card machine until you have set up a merchant account. A unique merchant account number is needed to accept payments from customers. This is linked to your credit card terminal, ensuring that all the payments are going to your merchant account. Most banks offer merchant account services. As a business, you will get a better deal shopping with different card service providers to find the best one for you. You can buy or rent a PDQ machine.
Setting up a PDQ machine is easy. For example, with a mobile device, once you get your terminal through the post, you are given 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 full, you are prompted to input your unique merchant ID number into the terminal. When entered, the card terminal will begin to download the latest software the PDQ machine requires to work. Once updated, you will need to set up a unique four-digit pin passcode that you will use to authorise certain functions, such as refunds. Once this is complete, your PDQ 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 (ethernet cable), or telephone line may be required.
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 prices 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 the number of card 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 is the cost of purchasing a PDQ machine?
If you decide on buying a PDQ machine outright, the cost will be anything between £150 – £600 depending on the 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 supplier’s responsibility to fix it. Usually, the card terminal will come with a 12 – 24-month warranty from the manufacturer.
What is 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 considered “high risk” compared to other businesses. Factors such as the number of chargebacks and order cancellations determine whether a company is at high risk. Prices vary and can be negotiated with the merchant account provider.
Should I buy or rent a PDQ machine?
As a business, you have the option of buying a PDQ machine outright. You also have an alternative to rent through companies that offer merchant accounts. There is a slight difference between the card machines. Some devices will accept debit/credit cards, and some may only accept individual debit cards. Although most modern PDQ machines accept all payment types knowing what payment methods you want to take can help you make the right choice.
Buying the card payment machine allows you to own it, but it may not be the best option. 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 card machine, you face added costs if new changes are introduced to chip and pin technology. Such fees may be having to purchase newer models 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 obsolete. If you are renting, you can switch to an updated version for a small charge.
Next Step: Get 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 massive losses in sales. Any cost incurred by acquiring a card terminal/PDQ machine is made up quickly through new sales opportunities. Customers tend to spend more money when buying on a card than they would with physical cash. When paying in cash, customers can feel the amount being spent – this makes us cautious about spending. Whereas with card payments, customers are not handing out money and often tend to spend more. For these obvious reasons, as a business, it is vital to have a PDQ machine.
Security provided by PDQ machines is also a significant benefit for businesses with a credit card processing terminal. No longer do you worry about keeping vast 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 the most convenient form of payment? Any business that is starting 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.
Conclusion: Is a PDQ Machine the Right Choice for Your Business?
In conclusion, if you want to accept card payments in your business, a PDQ machine is the way to go. As we have outlined in this guide, there are different types of card machines to choose from depending on your business needs, and a wide range of credit card processing companies to choose from. Whether you are a mobile trader, run a pop-up shop or market stall, or have a traditional brick-and-mortar store, there is a PDQ machine that can meet your needs.
The benefits of accepting card payments are clear. In today’s cashless society, businesses that do not accept card payments are likely to lose customers. By providing customers with the convenience of paying by card, you can increase sales, boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, and grow your business.
While there are costs associated with using a PDQ machine, the benefits of accepting card payments far outweigh the costs. By shopping around and comparing different providers, you can find a solution that fits your budget and business needs.
If you’re ready to take the next step and start accepting card payments in your business, start by researching the different types of PDQ machines and credit card processing companies. By choosing the right PDQ machine and provider for your business, you can start reaping the benefits of card payments today.