- 1 PDQ Machine Overview
- 2 PDQ Machines – Best Chip & Pin Payment Terminals
- 3 Types of Merchant Machines
- 4 What Is The Best PDQ Machine?
- 5 Countertop Models
- 6 Portable Terminals
- 7 Mobile Terminals
- 8 Accepting Different Payment Types In-Store
- 9 Which EPOS System to Consider
- 10 Different Types of PDQ Machines on the Market
- 11 PDQ Machines: What are the Fees & Costs
- 12 What Are The Monthly PDQ Fees?
- 13 Should You Lease or Buy a PDQ Machine?
- 14 PDQ Machine Rental & Lease: Pros & Cons
- 15 Should You Buy a PDQ Machine Outright?
- 16 Small Business PDQ Machine Considerations
PDQ Machine Overview
A PDQ machine, also known as a chip and pin or card machine, is used by businesses to process payments that are made face to face via card. PDQ actually stands for Process Data Quickly which is a very fitting name. A PDQ card machine has become an essential tool for businesses as customers are now rarely carrying cash but are always carrying a credit or debit card. If your business needs a PDQ machine, there are several PDQ terminals available.
To help you discover which PDQ is best for your business we’ve taken a closer look at the types of machines available and the top terminals on the U.K. market. If you’re tight on time or looking for something in particular, feel free to use the menu below to skip ahead to the relevant section(s).
There are 3 main types of PDQ machines available, each offering its own advantages. Whether you need a static terminal, a wireless one or a completely portable one there will be an option to suit your business’s needs and allow you to take card payments wherever you are. Of the 3 types of machine available, you will find many different brands such as Verifone, Ingenico and the Barclaycard PDQ machine. The Barclaycard PDQ terminal is from well-known high-street bank Barclays, one of many large banks who now offer merchant accounts and terminals. Below you can find out more about each terminal type as well as some of the best machines currently available.
A countertop terminal is one which has a fixed line, therefore it is the best option for businesses with a fixed point of sale e.g. a hair salon or a shop. These popular terminals are relatively cheap to rent with PDQ machine cost starting from £15 a month.
|Professional||Needs to be connected to a source of power at all times|
|Strong, constant connection due to phone or broadband line connection||Requires a line connection|
A portable terminal is a wireless PDQ machine that connects through Bluetooth or Wifi. This gives them the ability to be moved around and are able take payments from within a fixed 100m range. The portable terminal has a base unit that needs to be connected to a phone or broadband line.
|Ideal for restaurants, cafes and bars||Only works within a set range|
|Easy & convenient||Signal strength can vary|
|Enhances customer service and experience|
A mobile PDQ machine is great for businesses who move around a lot such as delivery, pop up stores and tradesmen. It allows payments to be taken while on the go so no matter where you are, you can receive payment.
|Enables mobility||Relies on mobile phone signal which could make it unreliable at times|
|Allows businesses who don’t have a fixed address to take card payments|
|Offers business owners more flexibility|
Looking for the right PDQ payment machine to enable your business to accept credit card transactions? Below are some of the best options in the UK for each type of terminal. You will often find that each brand offers each type of card machine, for example with Barclaycard my PDQ offers countertop, portable and mobile versions of the terminal.
This terminal is one of the most popular of the current PDQ countertop options. It ensures fast transactions that are safeguarded by the most up to date security software. The key features of the Vega3000 include:
- Multiple connectivity options (WiFi, Bluetooth, GPRS and USB)
- Accepts magnetic stripe and contactless payments
- Reliable operation
This easy to use terminal is an ideal option for retail businesses. This credit card reader uses a phone line or internet connection and accepts all payment types. This is a popular, robust and cost effective option.
- Built with usability in mind
- Meets the highest security requirements
- Fast operation as well as quick receipt printing
This sturdy countertop terminal is built to last and is able to handle high volume usage with ease. This is an ideal option for large, busy retail stores.
- Access to Estate Management Software – a central hub for monitoring and reporting
- Robust design
- Rich in features
This fast and easy to use terminal allows businesses to accept and process nearly all types of card. The credit card terminal is tamper resistant and also features key security features such as encryption.
- Multiple connection options
- Built-in receipt printer
This is an excellent portable terminal with long lasting batteries, a lightweight design and easy to use features. It boasts the highest security standards and accepts contactless, chip and pin and magstripe payments.
- Connects with long range Bluetooth
- User-friendly display and keypad
- Lithium ion battery for all day usage
If you’re looking for a compact model, the Vx680 is one of the most compact and versatile models available. This is a very popular option with a range of connectivity options and a touchscreen display making it easy to use.
- Connect with Bluetooth, 3G or WiFi
- Power save mode for longer battery life
- Capable of processing refunds
The Intuit GoPayment is an affordable terminal that also offers a way for businesses to track their finances. There are two pricing options available so you can decide what suits your business best. This is a very well-priced option for businesses who process larger payments.
- Affordable and straightforward
- Pay as you go or monthly contracts available
- Low monthly rate plan has a very 1.6% transaction cost
This is a compact, versatile and extremely popular mobile terminal. It’s pocket-sized, making it easy to carry and use. This is the perfect pdq machine small business owners would benefit from, it is affordable and most importantly, effective.
- Accepts wide range of cards
- Competitive prices
- No monthly fees
The Ingenico iWL250 is a newer model that is capable of accepting contactless payments. It is a perfect terminal for outdoor use as it is water resistant and built to be robust. You can accept almost any payment type and the built-in printer allows for quick receipt print outs.
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Offline payment acceptance
- Built-in printer
PayPal Here allows you to take payments anywhere, it is easy to set up and is full of features. There are no monthly or hidden fees and the device connects through a smartphones audio jack.
- Quick Sale Mode
- Only pay transaction fees
There are now several ways customers can pay for goods and with cash becoming less and less frequent there are other payment methods advancing in popularity. Smartphones and contactless cards are bringing a new wave of payment potential with a focus on speed and ease. For businesses to continue to appeal to customers it is essential to accept different payment options, below are the most used electronic payment methods.
Contactless is a quick and easy way for customers to pay for purchases that total less than £30. In 2015, the limit for contactless cards was increased to £30 but it looks like it is set to stay at £30 to protect users from fraud. The use of contactless cards is on the rise, the UK Card Association states that £3.9 billion was spent in the UK during April 2017 using a contactless card, this is a staggering 147.6% increase compared to April 2016. Due to this sudden rise in the use of contactless payment, many businesses are now upgrading or investing in new PDQ machines that can accept contactless payments.
Chip & Pin payments were first introduced back in 2006, at the time of release it offered a much faster and more secure method of accepting card payments. A PDQ machines is also a chip & pin machine as all PDQ’s support chip & pin payments. The chip & pin solutions to fraud and security issues are appreciated and widely used by many customers. In 2016, chip & pin was still the most used payment method in the U.K. at 65% and contactless was a 19%. However, this gap is sure to have decreased considerably in the last 2 years.
This was the key payment method before the chip & pin reader was introduced, due to the high risk of fraud this method is now very rarely used. Swipe & sign allowed the card holder to simply swipe the card and sign to prove it’s their bank card they are using, with no other form of protection this of course opened the door to fraud and did not offer people the level of protection they would’ve liked. Nowadays, contactless payments are considerably quicker and more frequently used than swipe & sign.
It is now possible to pay for goods using a smartphone and an app. There are several apps available so you can choose the mobile payment solution that suits you. Each platform has the same fundamentals but offers slightly different features so it is worth comparing the competition. The apps are easy to set up and are supported by a large number of banks and brands.
EPOS stands for Electronic Point of Sale, it refers to an integration of software and hardware (PDQ terminal, barcode scanner, tablet/ screen etc.) that together provides an EPOS system allowing business owners to process and track sales electronically with ease. With traditional Point of Sale systems and cash tills becoming less and less efficient and necessary, businesses are turning towards EPOS systems. There are multiple systems and devices to suit different industries and needs which means there are varying options available for business owners to consider.
- Faster transactions
- Less chance of human error
- Provides sales reports
- Improve stock control efficiency and accuracy
One of the key disadvantages of using an EPOS system, especially for smaller businesses, is the cost. To get a basic EPOS system up and running costs can start at around £1,000 and this figure will increase as you start to look at the need for multiple terminals and more advanced features. For some businesses, the initial set up cost is not currently worth the benefits gained so it is worth investigating the available options before committing to a system.
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
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.
Card 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.
Small Business PDQ Machine Considerations
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, small 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.