Customers are moving away from cash payments and towards cards, in fact, last year over half of all retail transactions took place using card. This means that businesses need to be able to accept different payment types if they are going to stay ahead of competitors. PDQ (which stands for Process Data Quickly) machines are an easily accessible way for businesses to accept credit card payment. A PDQ payment machine is also known as a credit card reader, chip and pin reader and POS (point of sale) terminal. In this article, we take a look at the different types of card machine available, the costs involved and whether it’s a good idea to lease a PDQ card machine.
Different Types of PDQ Machines on the Market PDQ Machines: What are the Fees & Costs Transaction Fees to Expect What are the Monthly Fees? Important Points to Remember Should You Lease or Buy a PDQ Machine? Leasing PDQ Machine: Pros & Cons Should You Purchase a PDQ Machine Outright? Small Business PDQ Machine Guide
Different Types of PDQ Machines on the Market
Countertop card machines
These are the most common of the three types of PDQ terminals available. They are designed for businesses with a fixed point of sale e.g. a retail shop with a checkout. A countertop credit card terminal is attached to the POS system and has a fixed phone or Ethernet line for communications. Due to the cabled connection, the transactions are completed quickly and the basic nature of these PDQ machines means they are often cheaper than other options.
One of the most popular countertop models available is the Ingenico iCT250, this reader accepts all payment types and is very user-friendly. The connection via phone or internet cable means transactions are processed quickly and the built-in receipt printer means customers can be on their way in no time at all. The Ingenico iCT50 meets the highest security standards and offers a cost-effective option for business owners.
Portable/ Wi-Fi card machines
This is a great option for businesses who require a more portable solution than the countertop PDQ. These portable card machines connect with the home base using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in order to allow you to move the machine within the set range. A wireless PDQ machine is only slightly more expensive than countertop models and has the advantage of being portable. They do operate on batteries so it is important to keep the terminal charged and within range for it to work.
The Barclaycard PDQ machine is a compact and versatile portable chip and pin machine that is able to accept all major credit and debit cards. The Barclaycard PDQ terminal has a hardy, tamper-proof design while still remaining sleek and easy to use. Businesses are able to process card payments anywhere on the premises with the Barclaycard my PDQ.
GPRS/ mobile card machines
A mobile PDQ machine allows businesses to take card payments from anywhere, providing a new level of flexibility for businesses who operate away from a physical business location. The mobile card reader connects using GPRS and mobile SIM cards which results in a slightly slower transaction speed but allows for chip and pin solutions on the go – an invaluable asset for businesses such as pop up restaurants, tradesmen and delivery companies.
The Ingenico iWL250 is a mobile card machine that connects using 3G, it is a lightweight model that is easy to carry and transport. This model features a built-in printer for easy and convenient receipt printing. Despite being compact and lightweight the model is robust and perfect for outdoor use, it can accept almost any card type and can even accept payments offline.
PDQ Machines: What are the Fees & Costs
The PDQ machine cost is a very important factor for any business, however it is difficult to put an accurate figure on this due to a number of variables. When looking for a PDQ machine small business owners will find there are several fees to consider. The costs vary and are largely dependent on your business size, the type of business it is (whether or not your business is considered high risk) and the provider you choose to go with. Depending on the provider you may even be able to negotiate lower rates.
To help you better understand the fees and costs associated and know what to expect when using a PDQ machine, we’ll break down the common charges you will experience. These charges are split into three categories;
- Initial Costs
- Transaction Fees
- Monthly Fees
PDQ Machine Initial Setup Costs
There are a couple of initial setup costs to keep in mind when using a PDQ machine, the first is the purchase fees. Keep in mind all of the fees vary depending on the supplier and the model you choose. You can choose to purchase or rent a PDQ machine (something we take a more in depth look at a bit later). Purchasing a machine will typically cost between £200 and £800 but you can buy devices for as low as £30. If you decide to hire a terminal, this will cost around £15 a month for a countertop model, £20 a month for a portable machine and £22 a month for a mobile machine.
The second initial setup cost are the actual setup fees which is the amount that is often charged for the installation of the new equipment. The cost of setup varies but is usually around £50 – £150, some providers do not charge a setup fee and if they do you can negotiate them to drop this fee entirely.
Transaction Fees to Expect
The transaction fees you are charged vary greatly, when comparing various plans you will see the different transaction fees that are quotes. Some suppliers will offer a set or predetermined fee and others will state that the fees will vary. Often these fees are calculated specifically for your business by looking at the number of payments you are expecting to process and the liability faced by the provider who offers you the service.
Some suppliers offer a flat rate transaction fee which will be advertised, but typically the fees vary depending on the plan you choose and the type of card being used. Most of the transaction fees we have seen are between 2% and 5% with a set fee between 5p and 40p. Transaction fees are important but are not the only fee to consider, some providers offer low transaction fees but much higher rates in other areas so look at the contract as a whole rather than being drawn in by one aspect.
What are the Monthly PDQ Fees?
There are several monthly fees that you can expect to pay when using a PDQ machine. If you decide to rent a PDQ terminal this will be one of the monthly fees you will be subject to. As well as this you can expect merchant account monthly fees, which can vary greatly from a small amount to over £50 per month, some merchant accounts do not charge a monthly fee but be careful of hidden fees with these accounts.
You may also be charged a minimum usage limit or a minimum monthly service charge which will occur if you do not meet the minimum number of transactions specified in a month. The charge tends to be around £20 and is worth keeping in mind for businesses who process a low volume of transactions.
Important Points to Remember
There are several considerations to keep in mind when choosing a PDQ machine. These can help your business avoid unwanted surprises and keep costs low. The below 4 important points to remember are based on common customer complaints:
- Contract/ lease length – contract lengths are often from 12 months up and are usually locked in contracts. Consider the contract length and the strength and longevity of your business before jumping into a long-term contract which is difficult and costly to leave.
- Hidden fees – some suppliers advertise low prices and offer appealing options such as ‘no setup fee’, it is very important to read the small print and know what you are signing up for because hidden fees can be an expensive surprise at the end of the month.
- Early termination fees – Most lease contracts will either have an expensive termination fee or you will be required to pay out the remainder of the contract if you wish to leave.
- Automatic renewal clauses – Keep an eye on the fine print so your contract does not automatically get renewed without your knowledge. Some contract terminations require a written notice period so make sure you have this information to hand before you sign the agreement.
Should You Lease or Buy a PDQ Machine?
One of the key decisions when looking at PDQ machines is whether to lease one or buy one. There are pros and cons for each option so it really comes down to personal preference when deciding on the best suited route for your business. For more information on the available routes, take a look at the detailed review below.
PDQ Machine Rental & Lease: Pros & Cons
One of the most obvious pros of leasing is the low monthly cost which, for many businesses, is a more attainable target than buying a machine outright. As well as this, leasing also comes with more support so if the machine needs repairing or replacing the supplier will often assist (depending on the terms of the contract). If your contract allows for it, you may be able to upgrade to a newer model – an option unavailable to people who buy a PDQ machine outright.
However, there are also cons to leasing. One of the biggest cons is that many contracts last for a couple of years, meaning if your requirements change or you wish to leave the contract you will have very limited options. The other problem with leasing is that, although the monthly payments are small, when you add up these payments at the end of the contract it will likely equal more than the cost of actually buying a machine.
Should You Buy a PDQ Machine Outright?
Purchasing a PDQ machine means paying the full price and actually owning the terminal. This option is a cheaper long-term option than leasing despite the higher initial price. Purchasing also means your business will be required to pay a one-off payment rather than having a monthly expense to worry about.
The cons of purchasing are usually associated to maintenance and repairs, the device should come with a warranty but once this period is up any repair and maintenance expenses will fall to you. You may also find that technology is quickly advancing leaving you with an outdated model.
PDQ Machine Small Business Guide
It is important to approach this decision with caution as it can be easy to get caught out by unexpected costs and long contract lengths. Make sure you read the contract before you sign it to ensure you know what you are agreeing to. When looking for a PDQ machine business owners will be able to find the best deals by comparing the market, we can do this for you and provide you with a free quote in just 60 seconds.