PDQ Machines


Firstly, in this blog, I will break down the term PDQ machine to try to help the reader fully understand the term and therefore understand the rest of the blog. So, a PDQ machine is a type of card terminal allowing a business to take credit and debit card payments. The acronym that is used simply means ‘process data quickly.’ (payzone)

This acronym and requirement for PDQ machines came about when card payment terminals were first introduced. These terminals were often slow and inefficient so PDQ machines were developed as a machine that was quicker than those currently released. Initially, these machines used the magnetic stripe to swipe the card in the reader and then provide a signature as proof of purchase.

Types of PDQ machines

There are three main types of PDQ machines, and I will describe each of them below:

1) Countertop machine

This is a static machine that connects to the network via an ethernet cable or a phone line, which allows it to have connectivity and take card payments. These are mainly used in retail stores or other places where the customer goes to the owner or employee to pay such as a coffee shop.

2) Portable machine

A portable PDQ machine is essentially what you’d imagine it would be. It is a machine that can be picked up and moved around.  An example of an industry that would be inclined to use a portable machine is the restaurant sector (an exception to this is Nando’s). This type of PDQ machine is powered by either Bluetooth, WIFI or GPRS and connects to the bank through these methods via the internet or telephone line.

3) Mobile PDQ machine

Mobile PDQ machines are generally not used in-store but are for a business or individual that’s on the move. They take payments through mobile connectivity through mobile network coverage, therefore wherever you can receive connection, you can take payments. The options with this solution are a SIM card that connects to the wireless network carrier the terminal works with, mobile chip and PIN card readers that are utilised through smartphone or tablet or integrated EPOS that will process credit and debit cards, gift cards and fuel cards in-store and on the go.

(Adapted from – businessfirstonline )

PDQ machines

Benefits of PDQ machines

With the development of a cashless society fast approaching, (see our previous cashless payments blog) it means that an even higher emphasis has been placed on developing accepting card payments. Nowadays a lot of people don’t carry any cash and just use either mobile or card payments. Therefore, if you don’t accept these methods of payments you will lose out on revenue. Where a PDQ comes into this is because they make the process of payment processing much simpler. Some of the benefits of a PDQ machine are:

  • Safer Transactions – Security
  • Tracking of order is easier
  • Easy maintenance of records
  • No hassles of carrying cash and exchanging money
  • Protection of sales and purchases
  • Affordable

(Adapted from – ezinearticles )

As you can see in the benefits above, these are all crucial for accepting card payments. Being secure and protecting customers’ details, making it easier for you and your customer and being affordable for you are the main benefits. But you also have to consider the current state of the payments industry in the UK and as I have previously highlighted that cashless payments are on the rise and the BBC have produced an article that not only says that debit card spending is above cash but now credit card spending is also above it for the first time in the UK.


I have mentioned the history of card machines and how they were originally slow but became PDQ, and how cash is on the decline and credit and debit card payments are increasing and therefore it is exciting to see what will come next! What further progression will come to card payments and the machines that accept them as the demand is there, so it is likely that we will see more new innovative machines soon.

Sources Used

1 – https://www.businessfirstonline.co.uk/articles/the-ultimate-pdq-machine-guide-2019/

2 – https://ezinearticles.com/?The-Advantages-of-A-PDQ-Machine&id=7503568

3 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49745136

Share this: