Does your business need to process payments in-person? You may need a PDQ card machine (also known as a chip and pin machine.) PDQ stands for “process data quickly,” and more and more businesses in the UK are starting to use them.
Essentially, PDQ machines allow funds to be transferred quickly and electronically via a debit or credit card. They are more secure than cash, and may convince customers to spend more than normally as they don’t physically see the money come out of their hands. It makes them feel safer while spending, and it helps your business add an extra layer of security.
In 2016, 14.9 billion transactions were made via cards and PDQ machines according to the British Retail Consortium. This adds up to around £647 billion in sales. In addition, over 32 million transactions are made per day, with around £1.5 billion in sales happening daily across the UK. This is through over a million PDQ machines in use by different businesses in the UK.
PDQ Machines – Cheap Chip & Pin Payment Terminals
There are three different types of PDQ card machines:
Countertop PDQ Terminals
Countertop PDQ models are used by restaurants, supermarkets, and other face-to-face single-location payment situations, also known as a fixed point of sale. These are the most common models in use, and have been around much longer than the other types of pdq payment. Countertop PDQ models are ideal for retail businesses and companies who take phone orders.
They communicate with a bank through a phone line or via an connecting to the internet. Because of their small size, they take up only a tiny amount of space. These bundles usually come with a countertop sized machine, the power cable, a till roll for receipts, a phone line and ethernet cable for establishing a connection, and a supervisor card for merchant access.
- Limited usage
- Must plug into a phone or ethernet line
Portable PDQ Machines
Wireless PDQ machines are much more flexible when it comes to customer payments. These work over a Bluetooth or Wifi connection, but run on battery power. However, because these machines are portable, they can be used to prevent queues building up. Also, they’re fairly cheap when it comes to pdq machine cost. These are ideal for restaurants or bars with a wide variety of customers coming in and out of the establishment.
A portable PDQ machine bundle will usually come with the wireless machine, a charger for the battery, a till roll supply for receipts, and a supervisor card for accessing merchant functions.
- Can prevent queues
- Bluetooth or Wi-fi capable
- Battery powered
Mobile PQD machines work similarly to a cell phone in that they need a SIM card and use GPRS technology. All they require to work is a mobile signal and a battery. However, they also cost extra for this mobile data connection. These are ideal for moving businesses like taxi drivers and food trucks. They offer a variety of chip and pin solutions as well.
A mobile PDQ bundle usually comes with the mobile PDQ machine, a charger for the battery, a till roll supply for receipts, and a supervisor card for accessing merchant functions.
- Extremely portable
- Require little extras to function
- Run on a battery
- Costs extra for network usage
To use one of these machines, the steps are as follows:
- Insert the card into the PDQ machine via the chip.
- The Machine takes time to read the chip and validate information.
- The user inserts their PIN number.
- The terminal will process the payment either on or offline, or decline the payment if necessary.
- The machine will either accept the payment or deny it.
- Offline payments will process, while online payments will be checked via a database.
- The card issuer will either accept or decline the transaction. It may also send extra information to the card.
EPoS stands for “electronic point of sales,” and it is used all over the place wherever to record transactions whenever they are made. These can link up with PDQ machines either via connection or wirelessly, allowing companies to track all transactions while still employing both machines.
EPoS machines are helpful for the following reasons:
EPoS machines can keep track of which items are selling well and which need to be restocked. Managers can look through this system and see what they need to buy.
Some locations place a giant touch screen at the entrance, allowing customers to take a look at what’s in stock instantly.
These machines can even connect to the internet and provide updated stock numbers on a company website for customers to view from their home.
Also, EPoS machines can provide self-check out capabilities by allowing the customer to input their items. The machine will automatically update what’s in stock and what is still in use.
However, while EPoS machines are great for automating a lot of numbers, they aren’t cheap. A smaller business may not be able to justify purchasing one, and they will have to continue managing stock by hand.
Accepting Different Payment Methods In Store
There are multiple different payment methods utilised by PDQ machines:
Contactless payment options use wireless technology similar to Apple and Android pay. This sends information to the PDQ system, which then authorizes the payment. However, not all businesses can use this, as the transaction limit is £30 as of this writing.
These are the fastest payment systems in the UK (yes, even more than cash) as the card is simply waved in front of the machine for the information to be read.
Chip & Pin Reader Payment
All types support chip and PIN payments, though these are starting to be used less and less in favor of the wireless options.
Swipe & Sign Payment
These are also becoming harder to find, as most customers prefer to use a contactless payment. It’s simply quicker.
Apple & Android Pay
Apple and Android pay methods are quickly becoming the most used way to pay. Almost everyone has a smartphone nowadays, and syncing their card to this device prevents the need to bring it around and have it at risk of being stolen.
Renting a PDQ Machine
When searching for a PDQ machine for your business, you have two options: Buy or Rent. Generally, renting is cheaper than purchasing. In fact, a majority of businesses in the UK rent over buy their machines, as they can easily upgrade models when they come out. When renting, there are three types of fees to consider.
Upfront Admin Fee
An upfront admin fee is a one-time payment. It is non-refundable, and pays for setting up the machine, activating it, and for the application. These are usually around £150.
Monthly Rental Fees
A monthly rental fee is based on the length of your contract, the provider of the machines, and the number of machines you rent. Usually, a longer contract will lower your fees, as will renting a lot of machines at once. Fees tend to be around £20-£50/month for countertop models, while portable models hit near £5-£30/month.
Transaction fees are based around the contract you have with the provider, and the cards that get processed. Of course, these fees will vary based on your business risk and the average number of processed transactions, which the provider will estimate upon contract signing.
Credit cards tend to be charged 2-5% of the transaction, while debit cards will be an extra 5p-30p. It is important to check with the provider, as these fees may be a bit high when compared to other PDQ machine rental paths.
Buying a PDQ Machine
PDQ machines can also be bought, though the price will vary based on how many payment terminals you require. Buying one can cost anywhere from £200-£800 based on features, warranty, and a maintenance package.
There are cheaper ones, like ones you can plug into a smartphone or tablet as well. If you don’t need a lot, these may be ideal for a business, as they cost around £50 – £100.
Leasing Vs. Buying Pros and Cons
Companies who lease may not have the money to make the initial investment that comes with buying. This can be even higher if they require multiple machines, as most businesses do. Contract length and business needs are important to factor in as well.
Leased machines come with ongoing support, service repairs, and easy upgrades. While this sounds ideal, it may not be in your best interest to be stuck in a long contract that could even end up costing more than a bought machine.
Companies who can afford it may be better off buying, as they won’t have to pay a monthly fee. That said, repairs, service, support, and upgrades can factor into that lower price, possibly making it higher than if you rented.
Both leasing and buying have their positives and negatives, each of which are important to consider based on your company budget and needs.
Best UK Chip and Pin PDQ Machines
These are some of our best picks for PDQ Machines:
The most common PDQ model.
Vega3000 Countertop Terminal
The Vega3000 is a lightning fast PDQ model with Wi-Fi, GPRS, CDMA, Bluetooth, and USB capabilities. Also, it can accept credit card payment types like magnetic strip, contact, and contactless.
Ingenico iCT250 Countertop Terminal
The Ingenico iCT250 model is widely used across the UK. They are incredibly reliable, and come with multiple connection options, a built-in printer, and a high-res screen. Also, their credit card terminal supports magnetic stripes, EMV chips and PIN numbers, Apple/Android Pay, and contactless payments.
Verifone Vx520 Countertop Terminal
Verifone is one of the most prominent PDQ companies in the U.K. Their Vx520 is incredibly durable and their credit card reader accepts almost every card holder including MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and more.
Ideal for larger businesses.
The Ingenico iCT220 is an ergonomically designed machine with a large keypad. It is ideal for NFC payments and is even backwards compatible with other Ingenico products and services (of which there are over 800.)
Arguably the most compact PDQ model one can buy, the Ingenico is easy to learn, has reliable Bluetooth capabilities, and can handle up to 650 transactions per charge.
The VeriFone is a versatile model, compatible with almost all card types and technologies. It can handle EMV, magnetic stripe, and traditional PIN payments. Also, it even has a power-saving mode, and can handle transactions offline.
Signal dependent machines.
The Intuit GoPayment device comes with a free card reader and even applications for supporting smartphone pay. It accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and more. It cannot track cash payments, but it can record tips.
One of the leading readers in the U.K., the iZettle can support a wide variety of cards and even contactless payments via the iZettle mobile app. Also, the machine is easy to use, sleekly designed, and is faster than a majority of its competitors.
The Ingenico iWL250 supports newer EMV and NFC contactless payments. It is anti-shock and water resistant, and can handle a big fall without breaking. Also, it handles almost every payment type.