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PDQ Machine

PDQ machines help modern businesses to improve sales efficiency. Compare quotes and find out more today

PDQ machines – or more commonly chip & pin machines – are the cornerstone of a successful retail operation; now more than ever, as fewer and fewer consumers carry cash and increasingly expect to be able to pay by card wherever they go.

Whereas just over 15 years ago retail transactions with cards involved a tedious back and forth of receipt signing, today’s PDQ card machines can process payments in a matter of seconds.

Below you will find information on the different kinds of PDQ terminals available – from the most affordable, to portable and countertop variations – as well as information on the best PDQ card machines you should consider for your small business.

PDQ machine meaning

PDQ stands for Process Data Quickly – and that’s exactly what they do. PDQ machines approve card payments quickly and securely by reading information from a chip that is embedded in the card.
PDQ terminals provide a host of benefits for small businesses: as well as increasing the opportunity for sales from customers who don’t have cash, those who do pay by card typically spend more, while taking digital payments reduces the need for, and hassle of, handling large amounts of cash.


PDQ machine cost

As well as the initial outlay for the PDQ machine, there are a number of ongoing costs associated with taking card payments that you should be aware of including transaction fees, monthly fees and topping up your stock of till roll.

Many businesses opt to to lease PDQ terminals instead of buying them outright if they don’t have the funds to buy one outright or can’t afford to buy several at once.

Three commonly used PDQ machines are:


EFT VEGA3000 Countertop

EFT Vega3000
A fairly pricey but full-featured PDQ terminal that boasts “lightning speeds” thanks to its microprocessor.

The EFT PDQ terminal accepts all payment types including chip & pin, contactless and swipe. The latest model even has a battery feature to allow for mobility. Costs between £300 and £400.

  • PDQ manufacturer – EFT
  • PDQ cost – £300 to £400

Ingenico iWL252 Portable Terminal

Ingenico iWL252 PDQ terminal
Weighing in at only 300g, this is a compact and lightweight, portable Bluetooth PDQ terminal.

The Ingenico PDQ machine accepts chip & pin, contactless and swipe payments. Costs between £350 to £450, or can be rented in partnership with Streamline.

  • PDQ manufacturer – Ingenico
  • PDQ cost – £350 to £450

iZettle Reader

iZettle
At £59, the iZettle is a very affordable mobile payment option that’s easy to set up and start using.

The iZettle PDQ machine takes chip & pin, swipe and contactless payments from all major credit cards as well as Samsung, Apple Pay and Android Pay. There is also a 1% transaction fee on each payment.

  • PDQ manufacturer – iZettle
  • PDQ cost – £59

Cheap PDQ machines

It’s not necessary to spend hundreds on a PDQ machine and there are plenty of more affordable options for smaller businesses and simpler operations, whether it’s because they’re pre-used, have fewer features, or are produced with less high-grade materials.

If you’re looking for a cheap PDQ machine, you should consider:

Hypercom Optimum T4210

Hypercom Optimum T4210
At between £150-£160, the Hypercom Optimum T4210 is a great value option for a small business owner on a budget.

This compact, dial-up PDQ terminal comes with a built-in thermal printer and a large amount of memory to cope with advanced processing applications.

  • PDQ manufacturer – Hypercom
  • PDQ cost – £150 to £160

PDQ machine price comparison

Nobody knows your business better than you and you should make sure you consider all possible factors when deciding whether to opt for a high-end PDQ machine or a more affordable terminal; a countertop model or a mobile version.

Make sure to budget for the ongoing costs associated with taking card payments as well as the initial cost of the machine. If you’re a new business, just starting to take card payments, renting or buying a cheaper PDQ terminal such as the could be a better option the Hypercom Optimum T4210 before you decide to invest in something more expensive and robust like the EFT VEGA3000 Countertop. Additionally, if you’re a business requires you to be on the road, iZettle’s Reader could be a better option.


Types of PDQ machine

The type of PDQ machine you choose will depend on what kind of business you run and how you use it. Almost all types now accept chip & pin, contactless and swipe payments, but mobile or portable terminals offer greater flexibility than their countertop counterparts.

There are three basic forms of PDQ machine:


Mobile PDQ machine

Mobile PDQ machines work by linking up to a mobile network via a SIM card and GPRS to take card payments from anywhere. They are suitable for businesses that find themselves out on the road such as events firms or pop ups and needing to process payments without being on premises. While they offer flexibility, they can be the most expensive in terms of ongoing costs.


Portable PDQ machine

Generally favoured by restaurants, cafes and bars, portable PDQ terminals use Bluetooth to connect to a home base, giving you the freedom to take the machine to the customer at their table. Multiple PDQ terminals can be run from a base unit.


Countertop PDQ machine

The most widely used type of PDQ machine, countertop machines are located next to the till and are used by businesses with a fixed sales point. Despite their limitations for portability, they are generally faster and more reliable than portable or mobile versions and you don’t have to worry about battery life.


Best PDQ machines

When looking for the right PDQ machine for your business you should check it takes chip & pin, contactless and swipe payments. This is to ensure you are ready for any eventuality and don’t miss out on a sale because your machine doesn’t accept the correct kind of payment.

Hopefully, your PDQ machine will be used regularly, so it’s important that it’s reliable and hardwearing: you don’t want it to give in right as you’re making a sale. This is why spending a little more for quality can pay off in the long run.

A good and reliable all-rounder is the Barclaycard Portable Card Machine. Available for around £20 a month, with transaction costs based on volume and value, this PDQ machine accepts chip & pin, contactless and swipe payments and can handle up to 700 payments on one charge.


PDQ machines for small business

The modern consumer expects convenience; as a small business, the more convenient and simple you make taking payments for your customer, the more likely you are to make a sale and attract more customers and more loyalty.

And it would appear cash is no longer king when it comes to transactions between small businesses and their customers, who don’t want to fiddle with loose change and heavy pockets/purses/wallets. Not taking a variety of payment methods leaves you vulnerable to missing vital sales and few customers will return if they are unable to pay with their desired method.

After all, according to the British Retail Consortium, 2017 saw card payments overtake cash, accounting for more than half of all customer transactions for the first time. This has in part been driven by a growing use of cards for low value payments, with contactless now making up a third of all card purchases.


Compare PDQ machine quotes

PDQ machines are an excellent way for modern businesses to improve the efficiency of sales processing. If you think that this form of payment will help your business, then you should speak to suppliers today. Startups can help to set up this conversation.

To receive quotes from up to four top UK PDQ machine suppliers you simply need to complete the form at the top of the page. This process is free, quick and easy, and it could save your business both time and money. Fill in your details today to get tailored information to help your small business grow.

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