Credit Card Machines (PDQ), FAQ’s

By | November 30, 2019

Credit Card Machines (PDQ), FAQ’s

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These FAQs cover a large area of specialised, technical areas of Credit Card Machines etc. As no two situations are the same, only the basic position is outlined. The answers do not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law, nor do they constitute legal advice by the author. The information provided is only a snapshot: it does not create a contractual relationship nor does it form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.

Please note, access to these FAQ’s is totally free if you would like to subscribe (No Charge) on, this is free to be read for your guidance and aimed to give you immediate access to helpful advice. If you subscribe you may download this information if you need to. The latest updates to QA’s are in Blue.

Q. Do I have to get my PDQ machine from my Business Account Bank?

A. Most definitely not, shop around for the best deal, your bank will try and impose a high rate if you are new to the business, if you have experience, you can negotiate, but many banks have a take it or leave it approach.

Q. Do I need to open an account with the Bank providing the PDQ machine?

A. No, but it does pay to have a second bank account with a different bank, especially one that only has money coming in to it, say with the PDQ payments. If you have trouble on your business account, it is easy to switch over to one that is normally well in credit. try setting up a second bank account in tough times, it’s very difficult.

It would generally be useful using the same account for paying your transactions in to and the associated charges coming out.

Q. How do I know that I have the best deal?

A. You don’t, once upon a time it was easy, the headline rate on credit cards was the best deal, the only variation was the cost of installing the PDQ Machine, not any more, the installation charge can vary from free to £150. The hidden costs by some companies are frightening.

Q. What are these costs?

A. Latest Information:- 

Some companies make a separate charge for every transaction, however big or small. Installation Charges, they send you a machine and you read the instructions and install it, the fees vary enormously, depending on your turnover. With the increased use of Debit Cards over Credit Cards, they make a fixed charge for Debit Cards and a percentage for Credit Cards, you need to identify the proportions of Debit Card to Credit Card use and vice versa, you may have a good rate on either and the other will be much higher, they both must be worked out in proportion of your business, this is not possible with a new account, if you are switching look at your existing account details. American Express, Commercial Cards and cards where the holder gets cash back for usage, tend to be expensive, you need to watch these costs.

This is for guidance in case it applies to your present supplier. Debit and credit cards both carry a percentage fee. There may be an additional transaction fee on top of the transaction rate with some providers but usually the main charge now is the rate. Until early 2016, Mastercard was charging a set pence per transaction on debit cards. Visa had already changed their charges from pence to percentage prior to this date. From then it started to filter down through the providers. Very occasionally you will still find the odd business who are still being charged a pence and no percentage on debit card but this is now exceptionally rare and will generally be for an account which has fallen through the cracks somewhere during a providers reprice.


Q. Is there any simple test that I can do to identify these overall costs collectively?

A. We would always recommend looking at your turnover AND your average transaction value. Additional fees such as authorisation fees can have a bigger impact than the rates themselves. Knowing the number of transactions you are expecting is just as important as knowing the turnover. A simple way to compare quotations is to compare the blended rate. This is the average cost per transaction once you remove the cost of any hardware and is calculated by taking the total cost of the bill (minus hardware costs) divided by total turnover. For example (a very basic example) – turnover of £5,000 per month with an ATV of £5 with 100% on debit card.

With one provider the offer is 0.3% plus 1p for the transaction charge, 3p auth fee, £4.80 (plus VAT) for PCI compliance, £4.99 (plus VAT) for their online portal to monitor their transactions and produce their statements. Blended rate is ((£5k x 0.3% = £15) + (1,000 x 1p = £10) + (1,000 x 3p = £30) + £5.76 + £5.99 = £66.75) / £5,000 = 0.01335 x 100 = a blended rate of 1.335%.

With the second provider, they charge 0.8% as a flat rate. No additional fees. Blended rate is then still 0.8% and overall cost is £40. So despite the rate being more than double the rate of the first provider, the second is saving the business £26.75 per month.

Q. The variation on percentage charges appears very small 1.13% – 2.85%, is it worth wasting time to get the lowest rate?

A. Both debit and credit are now based on a percentage charge but yes, it is definitely worth shopping around. Do not be drawn in by low transaction rates. Check for the additional costs as this tends to be where the main issues rest. Know your business and understand which costs are the issues for you.

Yes get the best rate that you can, for example, your turnover through thr PDQ Machine is £400K per annum. At 2.85% that represents interest charges of £11.4 K. At 1.13% on £400K that represents interest charges of £4.52K, this makes a NET saving of £6.88K per annum. For every .5% that you save on £400K, it represents a net saving of £2,000.00 or £500.00 per £100K of turnover, if the business is based largely on Credit Cards, if not you have to look at the different options. Beware of hidden costs, it is sadly a lot of Smoke and Mirrors with some companies.

Q. What happens if the PDQ Machine goes down.

A.Ensure that you use a company that has 24/7 backup cover at all times, if they can’t guarantee it. don’t use them, however tempting the terms are.

Q. How long does it take for the money to reach my account?

A. A minimum of three working days, though it can take five or six days, it normally transfers the days takings at a given time during the night, the in due course to your account linked to the PDQ Machine.

There are providers who offer next day settlement but there are usually additional costs involved. These vary dramatically and are not always visible.

Q. What happens if I unknowingly accept a stolen card?

A. Provided that you have complied with all the reasonable security checks that the Company ask you to follow, normally it costs you nothing. If you are the least bit suspicious about a possible fraud tell the card user that you have to ring the card company for clearance, they will give you instructions or clearance to proceed.

Q. Are the percentage rates charged the same for all cards?

A. No, they vary between different cards, debit cards are different to conventional credit cards, American Express can vary and in some cases will not be accepted, you need to check the difference with the PDQ Machine supplier. Normally the greatest usage is with conventional credit cards, Visa, Master Card etc.

Note:- Using a Credit Card Machine (PDQ) is a far safer way to trade, it keeps your cash levels down on the premises, in the event of robbery and ensures large payments are accepted safely.

We have a company that will be pleased to give you a quotation, email us at and we will pass your details on, always remember whatever you save however small is your NET PROFIT

These FAQ’s are for your guidance, more complex or specific issues, you may or will need to consult a specialist.

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