What is a PDQ machine?

Published: 15/06/2018

What does PDQ stand for?

PDQ stands for ‘Process Data Quickly’ and a PDQ machine is just another name for a card machine. So having a PDQ machine means that you can process credit and debit card payments.

It was the original name used for card terminals when they were first introduced to the UK, the name PDQ is still a popular alternative term used today.

When they were first introduced, PDQ machines worked quite differently to what we’re used to today. Businesses who wanted to accept card payments would need to use a card reader with a magnetic swipe.

When a customer was ready to pay, they would need to swipe the card through the machine and then provide a signature to confirm that the payment could be made.

The shop clerk would then look at the signature provided and compare this to the signature on the back of the credit or debit card.

This was considered a much slower process and less secure as, if a customer’s card was lost or stolen, a fake signature could be forged to process fraudulent payments.

Fraudsters would also use a technique called ‘card skimming’ where the card data was copied  - which cost UK retailers more than £100 million a year according to an article from UK Credit Cards.com. This meant that at the time, card payment fraud became pretty common place.

The introduction of Chip and PIN

Chip & PIN technology was introduced into the UK in 2006 and was designed to make processing card payments more secure and faster than the magnetic swipe payment method.

Now, when a customer is ready to make a payment, they simply insert their payment card into the PDQ card reader and are asked to enter their 4-digit PIN code.

This is provided to them by their bank when they first receive the card, and matches the code stored on the chip of the card. Since its introduction, annual counterfeit card fraud losses dropped by £81.9 million between 2004 and 2014, according to the UK Cards Association.

PDQ card machines have since become one of the UK’s most popular payment method, with almost 4 in every £5 spent at UK retailers made through debit and credit card transactions, as reported by the UK Cards Association.

It has proven to be a safer way to make payments and enables customers to track their spending. Customers can pay using a debit card (which links directly to their current account) or a credit card (allowing them to borrow up to certain amount and pay back in flexible payments). Meaning they can spend money in their account when and how they want.

The growth in contactless payments

Payments technology is continually growing and adapting as we move towards a cashless society and technology such as contactless payments, Apple Pay and Android Pay has become commonplace. Originally introduced into the UK in 2007, contactless payments allow customers to be able to pay quickly for small value items.

Instead of inserting their payment card into the machine or entering their 4-digit PIN, the customer taps their contactless card to the card reader, using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to connect the card to the machine.

When it was first introduced, customers could only pay for items up to £10, however due to its popularity, this was increased to £20 and then to £30 in September 2015.

In April last year, there was a total of 108.4 million contactless cards in issue in the UK and 416.3 million contactless transactions were made in the same month according to the UK Cards Association.

For more information on how contactless could help your business, take a look at our blog on why businesses should consider going contactless.

What are the benefits of using a PDQ machine?

By using a PDQ card payment machine, you’ll be giving your customers the option of paying by their credit or debit card quickly and securely. Since the introduction of Chip & PIN, the popularity of card payments in general has grown. 

The Guardian recently estimated that in 2006, over 62% of payments were made with cash which dropped to 40% in 2016 and is estimated to shrink further to just 21% by 2026.

With more and more customers expecting to be able to use their payment card to pay, it’s essential for businesses to consider using a PDQ card machine.

At Payzone, we have a range of PDQ machines to suit a variety of businesses with their card payment needs, whether you’re looking to accept card payments from your checkout desk, serving customers around the shop floor or whilst you are out on the road.

We don’t believe in a one size fits all approach, which is why our team of local card payment specialists will visit you to learn more about you and your business. They will then help you choose the best PDQ machine for your needs, as well as create a bespoke pricing package.

The cost of the actual PDQ machine will be included in the bespoke pricing package. Plus, when you join Payzone, we have no set-up fees or exit fees if you decide to leave at the end of your contract.

Looking to get started with a Payzone PDQ machine? We’re dedicated supporting the UK’s small to medium-sized businesses. Find out more about us and enquire for your free quote now.

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