Card machines (aka card payment machines, PDQ terminals and point of sale – POS) allow small businesses to accept credit or debit card payments from customers. They are widely used in shops, salons and restaurants, as they speed up the checkout process and are often more hygienic than handling cash.

There are many different card machine manufacturers, including Ingenico, Verifone and Castles. Some specialise in countertop models, while others make more complex fully mobile card machines. The cost of a card machine will vary between PS7 and PS45, depending on the type. In addition, a merchant service provider will typically charge a transaction fee of between 1.5% and 2.5%.

Countertop PDQ machines are popular for retailers, hotels and salons with a fixed sales point. They can connect over wired internet or through a phoneline, and are known for their reliability and super-fast processing speed.

For food vans, market stalls and taxi drivers, a mobile card machine can give you the freedom to take your business with you. These are portable and use GPRS to connect to the mobile network, so you can pay customers anywhere that has UK coverage.

If you’re looking for a cheap card machine, SumUp Solo is the UK’s lowest-cost standalone PDQ terminal. It has a touchscreen, a receipt printer attachment and an optional barcode scanner. It also offers a free POS app with a product library, email invoices and payment links at no monthly cost (just a 2.5% transaction fee). If you need a more robust option, Tyl by Natwest is the heavyweight of the card machine world. This mighty machine has a built-in SIM, can scan QR codes and works with both WiFi and 3G. card machines uk

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