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PDQ machines glossary

When it comes to taking debit and credit payments, there is a set of specific terminology that you need to master. PDQ Machines, Merchant Accounts, Chip and PIN, etc. Demystify the card terminal universe with this brief glossary of key terms and phrases.

PDQ machines

PDQ (Process Data Quickly or Parallel Data Query) machines

In general, PDQ are just another way to refer to credit and debit card machines.

Chip and PIN

Before the mid-2000s, cards used magnetic strips and the customer’s signature to authorise payments. For added security and fraud prevention, new PDQ technology was brought in. These new PDQ machines use a computer chip and a personal identification number (PIN) to validate card transactions. Chip and PIN can be used in colloquial speech to refer to the cards themselves or to PDQ machines.

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)

These read cards wherever you may be, and then use mobile phone networks to transmit the data which is required to make the transaction happen.

Merchant service

This term refers to the service provided by a bank which allows you to take credit and debit payments with a PDQ terminal.

Acquiring bank

The bank that provides your merchant service and authorises transactions from credit and debit cards is known as your acquiring bank.                                      

Portable and mobile terminals

These two terms are interchangeable, and may refer to one of two kinds of PDQ machines. One kind can be used close to a receiving station in order to bring debit card readers to different areas of your premises, e.g., to the table in a restaurant or outside in a garden centre. Alternatively, they refer to PDQ terminals using mobile phone signals, and so they work anywhere in the country.

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