What is a PDQ Machine? | Everything You Need to Know

card payment

PDQ stands for "Process Data Quickly". It refers to the card machine merchants use to process card payments easily, like the small terminal your hairdresser, shopkeeper, or restaurant hand to you to pay for goods/services.

If you’re a business owner looking to streamline your payment processing system, you’re on the hunt for a reliable and efficient PDQ machine. However, with so many available options, choosing the right one for your business can take time and effort. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you make an informed decision.

We’ll cover everything from the basics to the various types available, their features and benefits, and how to choose the right one for your specific needs. So let’s dive in!

What is a PDQ Card Machine?

A PDQ (Process Data Quickly) machine is a payment terminal (or PDG Terminal) that allows businesses to accept debit cards and accept credit card payments. It is a card reader connected to a merchant account, enabling businesses to process electronic payments securely.


How Does a PDQ Machine Work?

PDQ machines connect to a payment processor (Merchant Account) through a wired or wireless connection. When a customer makes a purchase, the machine reads the customer’s card and processes the PDQ payment through the connected processor. The card machine then prints a receipt for the customer and the merchant.


Types of PDQ Machines

Several types of PDQ machines are available on the market, each with unique features and benefits. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Countertop PDQ Machines. Are the most common type and are ideal for businesses with a fixed checkout area, such as retail stores, restaurants, and salons. They are connected to a power source and a phone or internet line and can process payments quickly and efficiently.
  • Portable PDQ Machines. Are perfect for businesses requiring flexibility in their payment processing, such as those operating on the go or having multiple locations. They are battery-operated and connect to a mobile network or Wi-Fi, allowing businesses to accept payments anywhere.
  • Mobile PDQ Machines. Are similar to portable machines but designed to be used with smartphones or tablets. They are perfect for small businesses or sole traders who need to take payments on the go without needing a separate device.
  • Integrated PDQ Machines. Typically used by larger businesses that require a more sophisticated payment processing system. They are connected to a point of sale (POS) system and can process payments, manage inventory, and provide detailed sales reports.


Features of PDQ Machines

PDQ machines come with various features to meet the needs of different businesses. Some standard features include the following:

  • Contactless and chip-and-pin: Many modern PDQ machines support contactless payments, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, as well as chip-and-pin transactions.
  • Printed receipts: Most machines print a receipt for the customer and the merchant at the end of a transaction.
  • Online reporting: Many machines offer online reporting and analytics, allowing merchants to track sales and monitor their business.
  • Customizable receipts: Some machines allow merchants to customize the receipts they print, adding logos and other branding elements.


Features to Consider When Choosing a PDQ Card Machine

When choosing a PDQ machine, several features must be considered to ensure you select the best one for your business needs. Here are some of the essential elements to look out for:


The type of connectivity your PDQ card machine uses can significantly impact how efficiently you can process payments. For example, if you need a better internet connection, PDQ payments may take longer to process, leading to longer wait times for your customers.

Security is an important consideration when it comes to payment processing. Ensure your PDQ machine has the latest security features, such as end-to-end encryption and tokenization, to protect your customers’ payment information. One of the most important ways to do this is by complying with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

PDQ Machine Cost
Depending on their features and capabilities, PDQ machines can vary significantly in price. Make sure you consider both the upfront cost of the machine and any ongoing fees, such as transaction fees and monthly rental fees. Switching card machine providers can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the industry. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you make the switch smoothly and successfully.

Consider the specific features and functionality you need. For example, if you run a restaurant, you may need a machine to process tips, while a retail store may need a machine to handle refunds and exchanges.


Choosing the Right PDQ Machine for Your Business

Now that you understand the different types of and the features to look out for, it’s time to choose the right one for your business.

Here are some tips to help you make the best decision:

Assess Your Business Needs
Consider the specific needs of your business, including your sales volume, type of business, and payment processing requirements. This will help you determine the type of PDQ machine you need and the features it should have.

Research Your Options
Take the time to research the different PDQ machines available on the market, their features, and their pricing. Then, read reviews and compare the options to find the best one for your business.

Consider Your Budget
Make sure you choose a machine that fits within your budget. Consider the upfront cost of the machine, any ongoing fees, and the potential return on investment from increased sales and efficiency.

Choose a Reliable Provider
Make sure you choose a reputable provider for your PDQ machine. Look for a provider that offers excellent customer service, reliable hardware, and secure payment processing.

Are you a small business owner wondering whether or not to start accepting card payments? With the rise of cashless payments, it’s becoming increasingly crucial for businesses of all sizes to accept card payments. Findings from the UK Finance report “UK Payment Markets 2022”: Debit cards were the most used payment method, with 19.5 billion payments, accounting for 48% of all payments in the UK. In 2021 57% of all payments in the UK were made using cards. We’ve written an article discussing the basics of card payments for small businesses, including how they work, the benefits of accepting them, and how to choose a card payment processor that’s right for your business. Card Payments for Small Businesses: Everything You Need to Know.


Card Machines vs Card Readers: Know the Difference

Both devices are used for processing credit and debit card payments at point-of-sale. We have written an article that will dive into the differences between card machines and card readers and help you understand which device best suits your needs. 

Remember to consider the specific needs of your business, research your options, and choose a reliable provider to ensure success.