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A handy guide to PDQ machines

It’s not an often-used term anymore but PDQ machines are your typical credit card, Chip&PIN machines. 

Standing for “Process Data Quick”, PDQ machines are the precursors to card machines as we know them today. 

But what are their origins, how do they work, what types of machines are out there and what are their advantages?

We take a look at these questions in this blog post.

What are the origins of PDQ machines?

Before Chip&PIN was introduced to consumers in the UK in 2006, merchants made use of the so-called PDQ machines. 

Unfortunately, the process was a bit tedious as sales staff would have to swipe the customer’s card, wait for the receipt to be printed, and check that the signature on the back of the card matched that on the physical receipt. 

This caused a high likelihood of fraud as fraudsters with an illicitly acquired card could simply replicate the signature without easy detection. 

Enter the Chip&PIN machines. 

It’s been estimated that between 2004 and 2014, over 81.9 million GBP has been saved in credit card fraud losses due to these machines as they require the customer to enter their card in the machine, followed by entering their secret PIN, known only to them.

How does payments acceptance work?

There is little that differentiates PDQ machines from credit card machines in terms of payment acceptance.

In fact, the process can be narrowed down to four steps, which are:

  1. The customer enters their debit or credit card into the machine after the payment amount has been entered for the purchase in question, say a cup of coffee.
  2. A request for authorisation is sent to the card issuer through the PDQ machine (or the customer’s bank).
  3. If there are sufficient funds in the customer’s account, authorisation is granted.
  4. Finally, the funds are transferred from the account of the customer to the merchant’s account. (While in most cases this can take days, there are some providers which provide instant settlement of funds.)

What types of PDQ machines are there?

The world of PDQs is quite broad to say the least and you, as a merchant, can make an informed choice about these machines. 

Let’s take a closer look at the various options they come in:

Traditional devices

Traditional PDQ or card payment devices usually have a keypad to enter amounts in and while some offer paper receipts, others are paper-free and have the option to send the customer a receipt via email or SMS. The beauty of these devices is that they are affordable and can go from as little as 29 GBP!

Smart devices

Android-powered debit and credit card machines are another noteworthy investment for merchants who are looking for a more sophisticated solution to their payment needs. Such devices usually have an amazing touchscreen which can be connected to a whole host of apps, making payments acceptance that much seamless. They also offer paper and digital receipts, depending on the customer’s needs.

Smart apps

A new innovation in the payment landscape is that merchants can now take payments through their Android smartphones through an app called myPOS Glass. With this app, which requires no additional cables, dongles or hardware, both merchants and customers can have a seamless payments experience. Payments are processed immediately and this solution is ideal for merchants on the go who can accept payments anytime, anywhere.   

Advantages of PDQ machines

Most merchants these days opt for PDQ machines simply because consumer trends indicate that they would like to pay in a safer and more convenient way.

Here are some of the advantages of PDQ machines for merchants:

Secure

PDQ machines are compliant with the highest industry standards, eliminating and minimising any potential for fraudulent transactions. 

Affordable

Merchants can take advantage of affordable traditional PDQs, going from as little as 29 GBP. 

Fewer cash-related errors

The likelihood of errors (and ultimately theft and fraud) related to cash acceptance is significantly reduced. 

Instant settlement of funds

Payment service providers such as myPOS offer merchants instant settlement of funds into a free online merchant account with a free IBAN and free Standard Visa business card. 

Accepts all types of payments

PDQ machines in today’s age accept all types of payments ranging from contactless to NFC, Chip&PIN as well as magstripe.

Meets customers’ expectations

Customers today are looking for a secure, hassle-free payments experience and paying with their cards is becoming the norm in many European societies. 

In closing…

Although it’s not a very common term, PDQ or credit card machines are a very popular way of accepting payments. 

Whether you choose a traditional or Smart device to help you run your business, keep in mind that an increasing number of customers are turning to card payments across Europe. 

Their popularity in the wake of COVID-19 is only set to grow because they are considered safer and more hygienic ways to pay.

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