The Ultimate PDQ Machine Guide 2019

A PDQ machine is a rather generic term used for a device that processes debit and credit cards. The technology employed by these machines has grown tremendously over the last few years. Customers have revealed that they prefer paying using their debit or credit card instead of check or cash.

PDQ machines are becoming more and more popular owing to how easy they’re to use. Before PDQ machines were invented, it was common for credit card transactions to take place using a slider that embedded the card’s image onto paper. This technique was often inaccurate and messy.

Almost every type of business, especially retail stores, uses this machine. The process with the machine is rather simple for the customer and affords them unrivaled convenience when buying goods and services. It’s equally convenient for the business as the hassle associated with accepting checks and cash are no longer viable.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about PDQ machines in the UK, how they benefit your business, and which one of the 3 types of PDQ Machines is right for you:

What is a PDQ Machine?

A unique acronym that’s used mainly in the UK, PDQ is the abbreviation for “Process Data Quickly,” PDQ machines are also called PIN and Chip machines, credit card machines, payment terminals or even, card readers.

In spite of the many names, credit card machines have one important characteristic, the ability to interpret card data found on the magnetic strip and process a debit or credit card payment transaction.

Once the card information has been read, the PDQ machine transmits the info on the magnetic strip to the financial institution that issued the card. The financial institution will receive the information from the PDQ machine and check the account in question to make sure there is enough cash to cover the purchase in question.

All relevant information is sent back to the PDQ machine, and the transaction is either denied and stopped or, approved and processed. This process takes only a few seconds.

How Much Does a PDQ Machine Cost?

The price tag associated with these devices depends on the type of machine that you get and what the terms of the machine are.

A PDQ machine can be leased like a cell phone or equipment from a cell phone provider. The PDQ machine will be delivered to your business for use and provided that you use the company that provides it to you for connection and service then you’ll not have to buy the machine outright.

Types of PDQ Machines

There are three different terminals in use nowadays:

Static PDQ Machines

These are perhaps the most common type of terminal, and they’re found in big retail stores, like supermarkets. They’re placed for easy access (mostly on the top of the counter) and are permanently connected to the broadband and mains supply.

The Pro’s

  • Reliable connection through a telephone line
  • A static PDQ machine is the cheapest option

The Con’s

  • Wires can get tangled and break
  • Can only be used in one place
  • Should be used on a dedicated phone line

Wireless PDQ Machines

Wireless PDQ machines are quickly gaining popularity, with more and more small businesses now accepting payment through debit or credit cards. These terminals are mobile and will work provided they’re within range of the broadband connection. These are ideal for businesses like cafes, where payments are made at a table away from the counter.

The Pro’s

  • Ideal for restaurants and bars without Internet connection or a phone line near the point of sale  
  • Cable’s don’t get tangled up
  • They are super fast

The Con’s

  • Thick walls could cause problems
  • Mirrors can affect signal
  • Dependent on Internet connection

Mobile PDQ Machines

Mobile PDQ machines work through a mobile broadband connection, which means that they can be used anywhere, provided there, is Internet connection. They’re very useful for vendors who travel to their clients, like salesmen; or for businesses that are mobile, including market stallholders’ or exhibitors.

The Pro’s

  • They use mobile phone network
  • Can be used anywhere in the UK
  • Can be used in a field or somewhere where there’re no network or phone lines available

The Con’s

  • Mobile phone network coverage limitations

Why PDQ Terminal?

A PDQ machine utilizing chip technology provides maximum security for your clients and business and prevents fraud, which was once widespread among credit card users whose cards didn’t have chip technology.

According to UK Business Energy, the pros of having a card reader in your place of business far outweigh any cons:

  • Security: No need to have a lot of cash on hand as this increases risks related to internal theft, counterfeiting, and robbery.
  • Customer Expectation: Customers nowadays expect to be able to pay by card and this option can greatly affect their opinion of a business.
  • Fewer Cash-related Mistakes: Companies using card readers experience fewer cash-related business losses owing to money handling mistakes than those who don’t utilize them.
  • Affordable: Gone are the days when PDQ machines were a bulky and costly piece of machinery. There’re many payment card readers out there that are less bulky and won’t leave a hole in your pocket.

PDQ Machine Processing: What to Look For

The criteria to take into account are as follows:

Average Approval Rating

How fast a PDQ machine supplier approves applications? What’s the application fee?

Cost per Month

What are the monthly costs with one statement, charge-back, and gateway fee? The best providers charge low fees and communicate about on-going expenses.

Start-Up Cost

How much it’ll cost to establish a merchant account and set up a payment gateway?

Account Set-up Time

The best credit card machine suppliers give great service and approve applications and establish merchant services accounts within three working days.

Customer Service

If a credit card machine company doesn’t offer a same or next day service seven days a week, it is probably not the best choice.

Internet-Based Features

Merchant account should provide an online payment gateway. They should also support more than one type of virtual terminal.

With these points in mind, you’ll be able to pick the best PDQ machine processing service.


Whether it’s safe credit card transactions or the security of a reliable machine, choosing to buy a PDQ machine is the best option for any business. To build a successful business nowadays, one must accept the fact that cost-efficient, reliable, and quick alternatives are the way to go.

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