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What is a PDQ machine?

Everything you need to know about PDQ machines.

PDQ Machine

What is a PDQ machine?

PDQ is an abbreviation of the phrase 'process data quickly' and is an alternative name for a Chip and PIN machine. It first came about when the earliest card machines were introduced in the UK and has remained in common use since then.

How does a PDQ machine work?

The machine works by reading the data stored on your credit or debit cards. The very early models of these machines worked by sliding the magnetic stripe on the reverse of the card through a long reader on the side or top of the terminal.

Most modern PDQ machines have now updated to a card slot system since the introduction of Chip and PIN technology. The small chip embedded in the card has replaced the stripe and means that consumers no longer have to sign for goods or purchases.

What are the different types of PDQ machine?

There are three different types of PDQ machine in common use in the UK.


The countertop PDQ is the most popular and widely used credit and debit card machine. This easy to use terminal sits by the till or sales desk and connects to either the phone or broadband line. It’s used by retailers, restaurants and anywhere that payments are taken from a single fixed point in the business.


Another popular type is the portable PDQ machine. This card machine uses either Bluetooth or wireless connectivity to link to a central hub or dock. It can be picked up and carried around like a regular phone handset and works at a range of 100m. These PDQ machines are perfect for hospitality and catering or larger retailers and stores.


The third type of PDQ terminal that you may come across is the mobile or GPRS card machine. This handy card reader can be used anywhere that receives mobile phone reception and is the perfect PDQ machine for a business that travels or works from different locations on a regular basis.

Compare our PDQ machines

Find out which terminal is right for your business


Ingenico iCT250

" Perfect for retail "

Used by more retailers worldwide than any other card machine


  • Works straight out of the box
  • Connects to a phone line or internet
  • Several terminals in one location

Perfect for

Retail shops, barber shops, hotels


Ingenico iWL251

" Anywhere, anytime "

For businesses on the go, connects to mobile phone networks anywhere


  • Indoors or outdoors
  • Reliable connection and coverage
  • Long battery life

Perfect for

Market traders, mobile hairdressers, tradesmen


Ingenico iWL252

" Flexible and reliable "

Guaranteed to speed up ordering in any restaurant or bar


  • 100m range
  • Works straight out of the box
  • Strong signal even through walls

Perfect for

Restaurants, pubs, clubs

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