Barista serving a customer with the Dojo One

What is a PDQ machine & why does your business need one?

Take secure speedy payments with a contactless PDQ machine.

If you’re new to accepting card payments, you may find yourself caught in knots with jargon or acronyms, like PDQ or CNP. So, if you’re keen to hear things in plain English, you can find out what’s what in our full glossary of payment terms here. 

But for this article, we’re going to explain what a PDQ machine is – because it’s highly likely you’re already familiar with it and have used one many times. 

We’ll walk you through what PDQ means, what a PDQ machine is for, the different types of PDQ machines available in 2021 and the benefits of using them for business owners.

What is a PDQ machine?

PDQ is an acronym for ‘Process Data Quickly’, which was commonly used to describe how early card machines worked before chip and PIN or contactless technologies were introduced. 

Early PDQ terminals required the cashier taking the payment to swipe the cardholder’s debit or credit card. The magnetic stripe on the back of the card stores data, which the PDQ machine reads. 

Although the data processing was quick, the process was slowed down by necessary security checks. To prevent identity fraud, cashiers would need customers to provide a signature that they could cross-reference with the signature on the card.

We’ve come a long way since the first swipe PDQ machine, with the introduction of chip and PIN, and even contactless and digital payments like Apple and Google Pay. These new technologies create a frictionless experience for consumers and businesses.

Do we have modern PDQ machines? 

In 2021, we use PDQ machines with chip and PIN and contactless technology, so we hear the name ‘PDQ machine’ or PDQ terminal less and less in favour of ‘contactless card machine’ and ‘chip and PIN machine’.

  • Mobile Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Built-in thermal printer
  • 5-inch HD touchscreen
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Integrated payments enabled
  • Point-to-point encryption


Delivery Free delivery – next working day

  • 3G/4G SIM card connectivity

    Switch to 3G/4G mobile connectivity if you’re on the road or if your Wi-Fi drops out. You’ll never miss a payment again.

  • Sleek 5-inch touchscreen

    A smooth touchscreen interface with an easy-to-clean glass surface.

  • Wi-Fi enabled

    Connect to your Wi-Fi connection for smooth, portable payments.

  • Lightweight but durable

    The Dojo Go is a sleek, lightweight terminal, easy to carry around but durable enough to last.

  • Built-in thermal printer

    Print receipts for you and your customers easily with the integrated printer.

  • Intuitive interface

    Card payments and refunds are fuss-free with easy-to-use interfaces and intuitive technology. 

  • Contactless and Apple and Google Pay enabled

    Stay up to date with customer preferences by accepting digital wallet payments from the get-go.

  • Market-leading security

    All Dojo card machines use point-to-point encryption – the world’s best payment security. It makes PCI compliance a breeze and gives you peace of mind. 

Are there any differences between PDQ machines and card machines?

When people refer to a PDQ machine now, they’re often referring to the same thing as a card machine, card reader, chip and PIN machine or card terminal. They’re all just different names for the device that allows consumers to purchase goods or services with their debit or credit card. 

The only difference is the way consumers choose to pay. Gone are the days of swiping, and even chip and PIN payments are becoming rarer, with the rise of contactless payments up to £100

And with the popularity of digital wallet technology such as Apple and Google Pay, shoppers can now pay with their contactless devices for payments above the £100 limit quickly and securely.

High-end security for the confidence to go cashless.

Whether it’s paying for a scoop of ice cream or an engagement ring, card payments are in line with customer preferences. They save time and effort and make the process of purchasing plain sailing. 

But as the process has got easier to tap and go, we understand the increased need to protect customer card data and businesses against fraud. That’s why all Dojo card readers use point-to-point encryption (P2PE). 

It’s the best card security on the market and makes PCI compliance a breeze. When you sign up for a Dojo card machine, you’ll have access to the Dojo app where becoming PCI compliant is as simple as reading two documents and answering two questions.

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The different types of PDQ machine.

Different businesses have different needs. That applies to payments too. A restaurant needs flexible, portable payments to allow customers to pay from their table. A taxi driver needs access to a sturdy connection, well away from their Wi-Fi. Whatever your trade is, we’ll get you paid with our range of PDQ machines.


This is a classic and well-known type of PDQ machine. It’s a card machine that sits next to your till on your countertop. Countertop card machines typically stay in one fixed place, connecting to the internet using an Ethernet cable. This makes them ideal for retailers that only serve customers in one place.


Portable PDQ machines allow businesses to take payments from customers in different locations. They connect to your Wi-Fi connection and are completely wireless so that you can carry them around your business premises. They’re ideal for restaurants, cafes and bars that use table service as diners can pay from the comfort of their seat.


Mobile card machines are entirely portable, but they also offer mobile connectivity for when your Wi-Fi fails or you’re on the road selling. The Dojo Go is a fully mobile card machine that connects to your Wi-Fi when you’re in your business location or connects to either 3G or 4G when you’re not. 

And if you ever have a glitch with your internet connection, the machine will automatically switch to a mobile connection. The best bit? You won’t pay an extra penny for mobile connectivity.

Woman paying for drink with Dojo Go

Choosing the right PDQ machine for your business.

Now you’ve learnt what a PDQ machine is and the different types, it’s time to figure out which one works best for you and your customers. All Dojo card machines come with the below, as standard:

Next day transfers

When you take cards with us, we won’t hang onto your hard-earned takings – we’ll transfer them into your account at 10am the next day including weekends and bank holidays.

Short-term contracts

Long-term agreements aren’t our style. With minimum contract terms starting from 1 month, we won’t tie you down for years.

Speedy transactions

Our card machines process transactions 80% faster than the industry average enabling you to serve customers at record speeds. 

Best-in-market security

We use point-to-point encryption (P2PE) to secure customer card data and protect your profits. It’s the best payment security on the market and makes PCI compliance simpler than ever.

Remote assistance and tech support

If there’s a glitch on your machine and you can’t fix it, we’ll get one of our tech specialists to log in remotely and sort it there and then.

Instant sales insights: Download, filter, and analyse all of your card transaction data in real-time on the Dojo app from the palm of your hand. 

Built-in thermal printers

Easily print out receipts for your customers with an integrated printer in your card machine.

But you’ll also no doubt want to tailor your payments to your customer needs. That could mean portable payments that allow your customers to settle the bill from the table in your restaurant, cafe or bar. 

Or, if you’re a hairdresser, barber or beautician, you may want to take flexible payments from the salon chair. That’s where the Dojo Go comes in – it’s our fully portable and mobile 5-inch touch screen card reader with a sleek, lightweight design. And with 10-hour battery life, it’s the perfect business partner for bustling retailers. 

You can accept contactless and Apple and Google Pay as well as all major debit and credit cards, including Amex and the Discover Global Network if you’d like to.

The Dojo One is our classic countertop card machine; it’s designed for frictionless till-side payments for businesses that only want to take payments in one spot. Because it’s wired to an Ethernet cable, you don’t need to worry about whether the Wi-Fi will stretch, so you’ll be set for super-fast transactions at the till.

Connecting your PDQ machine with your till. 

Business is all about connections – and so is Dojo’s integrated payments. It’s our cloud-based software that connects your Dojo PDQ machine with your EPOS. Why? Because it makes payments a breeze for you and your customers and saves you time and money. 

How does it work? 

It’s a cloud-based software from Dojo that links your card machine up to your point of sale. Read more about it in our guide.

How can it benefit businesses? 

The synergy between your till and PDQ terminal means you can push sales through to the card machine to settle tables in your restaurant – even when you’re not at the point of sale. And with Pay at Table mode, serving staff can collect payment and gratuity from diners with custom or pre-filled bill splits. 

With Pay at Counter, when customers are ready to pay, the card machine is already loaded with the correct payable amount – it saves time and minimises queues.

Ready for fast payments and next-day takings?

Take card payments 80% faster than the industry average with a Dojo Go card machine, and get paid the next day.  

The benefits of PDQ machines. 

It’s expected that by 2024 only 7% of face to face payments in the UK will be made with cash. Consumers were already moving away from cash well before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has only accelerated the swing to contactless. 

To keep up with the transition now is the best time to adopt contactless and Apple and Google Pay technology with a Dojo contactless card machine.

We’ll make things easy to set up, understand, and get moving if you’re new to the process. We’ve got a dedicated team of friendly customer service advisors, as well as tech specialists on hand to set you up, help you out and get you paid. 

The other benefits of accepting card payments in your small business or enterprise are: 

It could reduce the risk of on-premise theft

With less cash in your tills overnight, this lessens the risk of on-premise theft and robberies. 

It could reduce the risk of lost profits

Human error is, well, human. With card machines that sync with your till, you’ll say goodbye to costly cash-handling errors, minimise reconciliation headaches and keep hold of your hard-earned income. 

It's one of the most secure payment methods

Now that we’ve done away with swipe payments, chip and PIN and contactless card payments offer consumers a quick and safe way to pay.  

It could save you time and effort

Contactless card payments allow customers to tap and go, meaning less time counting loose change and more time blitzing through queues.

It’s affordable and easy to set up

We’ll have you set up and ready to take card payments in just 24 hours. And with bespoke rates, card payments are affordable for small businesses and enterprises alike.

It won’t interrupt your cash flow

When you accept card payments with Dojo, we’ll transfer your card takings into your account the next day – so no more waiting for what’s yours.

The Dojo Go Side Angle

Ready to move into the future? 

Ready for the next generation of card payments? We’re here to make that happen. Find out more about our range of card machines, or request your bespoke pricing plan today, and you could be set up to take card payments in as little as 24 hours.