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Mobile PDQ machines are credit card processing terminals that aren’t fixed to a specific point of sale by an Ethernet or power cable. This allows the convenience of bringing the payment method to the customer, so long as a wireless signal is present.
In the UK, mobile and wireless PDQ machines have become the preferred means of payment, with revenue from card transactions increasingly out-performing cash transaction revenues. Without a static or mobile PDQ machine you’ll potentially be missing out on a lot of transactions.
This article will cover:
- Types of Mobile PDQ Machine
- Benefits Of Mobile PDQ Machines
- Top 5 Portable Card Reading Machines
- PDQ Machine Costs
- Next Steps: Saving Money On Your PDQ Machine
The Different Types of Mobile PDQ Machine
There are a number of mobile PDQ machines available to your business, but which one is best? It all depends on your situation and needs:
Wi-Fi PDQ Terminals
A Wi-Fi card machine connects to the internet wirelessly wherever an accessible internet connection is available. This means that you’ll need a router within 150 to 300 feet to ensure connectivity and responsiveness.
This is the perfect option for those taking payment in restaurants or service industry businesses where customers traditionally expect to pay at their table. Wi-Fi PDQ machines are also good options in large scale retail stores with floating points of sale (POS) such as an Apple store.
Bluetooth Card Machines
Using a Bluetooth signal, these chip and pin machines let you process and accept payments up to 100 metres from a centrally connected terminal. These card processing devices are great for small businesses such as cafes or bars, where space is limited but good service is important.
You should be wary though that using the Bluetooth signal can drain the terminal’s battery quite quickly, so keeping an eye on the battery level is a must.
Mobile Card Terminals
Mobile card machines offer businesses the greatest versatility of any portable PDQ unit as they work just as a mobile phone does. This means that, with a sim card inside, the terminal can use the 4G network to process payments if a broadband or Wi-Fi connection is unavailable.
This makes mobile PDQ machines the perfect card processing device for mobile businesses (e.g. hairdresser or gardener), for businesses at events and conferences (e.g. funfairs, expos) and businesses without a fixed location who are unsure of connectivity where they are setting up shop (e.g. pop-ups or start-ups).
Benefits Of Mobile PDQ Machines
The ability to take payments as and when is becoming increasingly important for businesses in today’s changing marketplace. With UK consumers making more and more card transactions, having a mobile PDQ machine can give your business a competitive edge along with several other benefits:
- Customers can pay by card anytime, anywhere – keeping them happy and ensuring that you don’t miss out on potential revenue
- With a mobile PDQ machine, you won’t need to worry about wires as most offer an in-car charging solution or use rechargeable battery packs. This gives you maximum on-the-go flexibility
- Mobile PDQ machines are just as secure as regular countertop chip and pin machines
- Mobile and wireless PDQ machines store transactions throughout the day and process after close of business. This ensures that even if you are offline, you can still take payments
Top 5 Mobile Card Reader Machines
The Ingenico iWL222 mobile PDQ machine is one of the lightest and smallest card payment terminals on the market. This terminal is Bluetooth ready, so while it can’t offer the extensive roaming capabilities of Wi-Fi and mobile devices, it is a good choice for businesses in the service industry, particularly eateries, where customers are nearby and prefer to pay from where they are seated.
Payments are generally processed quickly and the internal Telium2 architecture ensures maximum security for transactions. The Ingenico iWL222 also terminal prints receipts quickly and it has an option to leave tips for up to 99 different servers, while the Lithium-Ion battery can process over 600 transactions on a single charge.
Verifone VX 680
Verifone’s VX 680 is a compact mobile PDQ machine that boasts Bluetooth, GPRS and Wi-Fi compatibility, providing you with maximum flexibility when conducting business on-the-go.
This mobile chip and pin terminal is powered by an ARM 11 processor, which means transactions will be processed quickly and securely. It can also handle contactless card transactions.
A high-resolution colour screen keeps visuals crisp and bright so that the VX 680 can work in the darkest of conditions, such as in a nightclub. On-screen navigation is also kept simple and intuitive for customers, while logos or messages can be programmed in for additional engagement.
The iZettle Reader is quickly becoming one of the most popular and recognisable PDQ terminals on the market. This is unsurprising considering that it is easy to set up and use, light-weight and portable – all of which make the iZettle ideal for small businesses and start-ups.
The iZettle is compatible with chip and pin cards, contactless cards and smartphone payments (including Apple Pay and Samsung Pay), which ensure no transactions are missed out on. It also powers up in just 2-seconds, boasts an 8-hour battery life from a single charge and can process contactless payments in just 5 seconds.
The iZettle is a pocket-sized device designed to supercharge your business by helping you take payments quickly and efficiently. The device costs just £29 and monthly fees are determined on a sliding, yet transparent, scale.
The MPT510 is a battery-powered PDQ terminal designed for businesses with semi-permanent locations, such as pop-ups, rather than businesses that have no fixed location. This is because the MPT510 can only connect to Wi-Fi signals, which means it needs a router in the local vicinity that it can connect to.
This may limit its target merchant market, but those who opt for theMPT510 won’t regret it. This terminal has an intuitive user interface for simple operation, a crisp graphic display and durable design to protect it on-the-go. It also has an in-car charging dock so you’ll never be caught short.
The real selling point for the MPT510, however, is the fact that it comes with online reporting software to help you better track, manage and refine your card transaction process.
PayPal Here is the card processing offering from online payment site, PayPal. The big advantage here is that you can connect the device with your PayPal account so that money from transactions will be immediately deposited in there, sidestepping the traditional cash transfer delays of regular merchant accounts.
Be aware though that the PayPal Here terminal requires a smartphone or tablet app to sync with in order for transactions to be processed.
The device itself is small, lightweight and unobtrusive, boasts Bluetooth functionality and can accept contactless payments by card or phone.
The card reader costs a one-off price, while transaction fees start at 2.75% and drop on a sliding scale dependant on total sales volume processed through PayPal.
Mobile PDQ Machine Costs
There are several costs that you’ll need to be aware of with mobile PDQ machines:
Without a merchant account you won’t be able take card payments in the first place as there will be nowhere for the transaction funds to go! Before you buy or least a mobile card machine you’ll need to get a merchant account and pay:
- Activation / Set-up fees (anywhere between £50-£200+)
- Monthly subscription fees (usually around £10-£20+)
- Transaction fees (sliding scale dependant of volume of sales)
Once you have a merchant account, you’ll need to cover the one-off cost of the card reading machine. This can range from as little as £40 for something like WorldPay Zinc, up to £75 for the PayPal Here and beyond for more advanced devices. This is per unit and rates will vary depending on how many units you choose to buy.
If you want to hire a unit for a short period, there are packages available to suit your bespoke needs. This will offer a simple and flexible service, tailored to your needs.
For some mobile PDQ machines there will be a monthly subscription fee. Service providers that offer Verifone or Ingenico models may ask you to pay a monthly amount of between £20-£30 depending on the contract length.
This usually means you do not have to pay for the machine up front.
Finally, there will be a transaction fee. For instance, iZettle charge 2.75% per transaction for small transactions. The general rule of thumb is the bigger the transaction then the smaller the percentage. Rates can be as low as 1% per transaction but this varies by provider so it’s worth shopping around.
Next steps: Saving Money On Your Portable PDQ machine
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