20+ cheapest PDQ machines and chip & pin readers ranked for 2024 – Best value devices compared

Last updated on 8 December 2023

In today’s fast-paced business world, staying up-to-date with the latest payment technology is crucial for efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall business success. PDQ (Process Data Quickly) machines, also known as chip & pin readers, have become an indispensable tool for businesses of all sizes.

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This article provides a comprehensive review of more than 20 top PDQ machines and chin & pin readers for 2024, focusing on the cheapest and best value devices in the UK market.

Video: Card readers and payment machines explained

Types of PDQ machines and chip & pin reader explained

PDQ machines and chip & pin readers come in a variety of forms, each catering to specific business needs. Understanding these types is essential for choosing the most suitable solution for your business.

1. Mobile PDQ Machines

Mobile PDQ machines are compact, lightweight, and connect to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth. These devices are ideal for businesses that operate on the go, such as pop-up shops, tradespeople, and market stall vendors. They usually come with a dedicated app for handling transactions and managing sales. Notable examples include SumUp Air, Square Reader, and the PayPal Here.

2. Portable PDQ Machines

Portable PDQ machines are similar to mobile devices but typically have a broader range of features and connect to a base station within your premises using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. These are perfect for businesses that want to take the card machine to the customer, such as restaurants or cafes. Examples include Dojo Go and Verifone V240m.

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Revolut Business
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Tide Business Bank Accounts
✓ Free, Plus, or Pro Account
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Card One Money
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ANNA Money
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Co-Op Business Banking
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HSBC Business Banking
✓ Business Current Account
✓ In-Branch, Online & App Banking
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Metro Business Banking
✓ Business Current Account
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Mettle Business Banking
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Monzo Business Banking
✓ Business Current Account
✓ Dedicated mobile app experience
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Virgin Money
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3. Countertop PDQ Machines

Countertop PDQ machines are robust devices designed to sit on a counter and connect to the broadband network directly. They are ideal for businesses with a fixed point of sale, such as retail shops or salons. These machines often have a larger screen and can handle high volumes of transactions. Notable examples include Countertop from takepayments and the Clover Mini.

4. Smart PDQ Machines

Smart PDQ machines are advanced devices that combine the functions of a PDQ machine and a complete Point of Sale system. These devices can manage inventory, generate sales reports, and handle other business management functions. They are ideal for businesses looking for an all-in-one solution. Examples include Clover Flex and Lightspeed Terminal.

5. App-Based PDQ Machines

App-based PDQ machines turn your smartphone or tablet into a card machine, enabling you to take payments without any physical hardware. These are perfect for small businesses or individuals who need a flexible, low-cost solution. SmartTrade App and Elavon MobileMerchant are examples of this type.

Each of these types offers unique advantages and comes with different pricing models and features. Consider the nature of your business, volume of transactions, budget, and specific requirements when choosing between them.

Cheapest PDQ machines and chip & pin readers

1. SumUp Air

SumUp Air is lightweight, compact, and connects via Bluetooth to a mobile app that can run on iOS and Android devices. It has a battery life of up to 500 transactions, and the processing time for payments is relatively quick, usually within 2-3 days.

2. Square Reader

Square Reader is small and portable, making it perfect for businesses on the go. Its robust mobile app can track sales, manage inventory, and generate sales reports. The payment processing time is next-business-day as standard, with instant transfers available for a small fee.

3. PayPal Here

PayPal Here is ideal for businesses that already use PayPal‘s online payment solutions. It comes with a feature-rich mobile app and the payments appear in your PayPal account within minutes. However, transferring funds to a bank account can take 2-3 days.

4. Zettle Reader 2

Zettle Reader 2 is known for its impressive processing speed – just 5 seconds for contactless payments. It comes with a powerful POS app that includes inventory management, sales reports, and invoicing. Funds are deposited into your account within 1-2 business days.

5. Barclaycard Anywhere

Barclaycard Anywhere offers a reliable card machine that integrates with its mobile app. One downside is its relatively long processing time – funds can take up to 3-5 business days to reach your account.

6. Worldpay Reader

Worldpay Reader offers versatility with multiple pricing plans. It provides comprehensive sales data analytics, and the processing time depends on the chosen plan. It has one of the most diverse ranges of accepted card types.

7. SmartTrade App

SmartTrade App turns your smartphone into a card machine, allowing you to send digital receipts and invoices. It also allows for payment links and payment over the phone. The app also supports job scheduling and remote staff management.

8. Zettle Ocean Reader

Zettle Ocean Reader shares all the features and benefits of iZettle Reader 2, but with the added bonus of being made from recycled ocean plastic. It’s a great way to show your customers that you care about the environment.

9. Clover Flex

Clover Flex is a compact yet powerful PDQ machine with a built-in receipt printer and barcode scanner. It integrates with the full Clover POS system, allowing for inventory tracking, employee management, and customer loyalty programmes.

10. Handpoint PAX A920

The Handpoint PAX A920 has a large HD touchscreen and a built-in receipt printer. It also supports a wide range of apps, which means it can adapt to the growing needs of your business.

11. Paymentsense Mobile

Paymentsense Mobile integrates with EPOS systems and has features like digital receipts and refunds. Their customer service is also highly rated.

12. Global Payments Mobile

Global Payments Mobile is robust and comes with a feature-rich mobile app, including digital receipts, refunds, and sales reports. The device also boasts an extended battery life.

13. Countertop from takepayments

The Countertop machine from takepayments supports contactless payments, mobile payments, and loyalty cards. It integrates with EPOS systems and features a customer-facing display.

14. Dojo Go

Dojo Go features a colour touchscreen and a long-lasting battery. It provides next-day transfers and offers a secure, easy-to-use platform that complies with PCI DSS requirements.

15. Clover Mini

Clover Mini is a compact device that supports a range of payment types. The device integrates with the Clover POS system, allowing businesses to manage inventory, track sales, and handle customer engagement.

16. Ingenico Move 5000

Ingenico Move 5000 is a robust, portable PDQ machine with a colour touchscreen and a long battery life. The device supports a wide variety of payment methods, including contactless, chip & PIN, and mobile payments.

17. Elavon MobileMerchant

Elavon MobileMerchant transforms your smartphone or tablet into a card machine. This solution offers comprehensive reporting and analytics and next-business-day funding.

18. Paymate OnTheGo

Paymate OnTheGo supports a broad range of payments and offers real-time transaction records. It can also handle multiple user accounts, making it suitable for businesses with several employees.

19. Handepay Mobile

Handepay Mobile is portable and user-friendly. It offers next-day settlement of funds and supports a wide range of payment methods, including Apple Pay and Google Pay.

20. Smartpay A80

Smartpay A80 is a robust PDQ machine with a range of connectivity options, including WiFi, Bluetooth, and 4G. The device offers real-time transaction records and supports a wide variety of payment methods.

21. Retail Merchant Services Mobile

Retail Merchant Services Mobile offers next-day fund settlements, perfect for small businesses that need quick access to funds. It supports a broad range of payment methods and comes with a 24/7 customer support service.

22. Lightspeed Terminal

Lightspeed Terminal integrates seamlessly with the Lightspeed POS system, providing a unified solution for businesses. It accepts a variety of payment types including contactless, chip and PIN, and mobile payments. It also features a built-in receipt printer, which is a nice bonus.

With Lightspeed Terminal, you get the benefit of Lightspeed’s robust POS system, including inventory management, customer relationship management, and comprehensive analytics and reporting. This makes it a superb choice for retail businesses and restaurants.

Pricing is customised based on the needs of the business, and the transaction fee varies depending on the volume of sales. However, it’s known for offering competitive rates and 24/7 customer support.

23. Verifone V240m

Verifone is a leading provider of payment and commerce solutions, and the V240m is one of their top mobile PDQ machines. It is compact, portable, and comes with a long-lasting battery, making it ideal for businesses that need to take payments on the go.

The V240m accepts a variety of payment methods, including contactless, chip and PIN, and mobile payments. It also supports value-added applications like loyalty programs and gift cards. Furthermore, it comes with a colour touchscreen and a built-in printer.

Verifone’s payment solutions are known for their security, and the V240m is no exception. It complies with the latest PCI and EMV security standards, ensuring your customers’ data is safe.

Pricing for the Verifone V240m is customised based on the specific needs of your business, and the transaction fee will vary depending on your sales volume. Verifone also offers 24/7 customer support, providing peace of mind for businesses.

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Reviewed by , Managing Director

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