How to Accept Card Payments

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why the traditional PDQ machine is outdated and not for you
  • How you can accept card payments via your mobile phone
  • The benefits of utilizing a mobile card payment system

The ability to accept card payments no longermeans needing highly specialised equipment.

In the past, retailers needed to have payment terminals, or PDQ machines as they are sometimes known, at their disposal in order to process a non-cash transaction.

These machines also required a rented phone line so that the device could process a credit card payment by making contact with the merchant's service provider to request authorization to release funds

Still in use, this old system has three main disadvantages. Firstly, a dedicated telephone line is needed so that transactions can be handled efficiently, something that comes with a monthly rental fee.

Secondly, where a phone line is shared between the PDQ and another device, like a fax machine or a common fixed-line telephone, it is impossible to take card payments when the line is already in use. Either you have to get off the line or process the debit or credit payment later.

Lastly, the system relies on transactions being made in one physical location. Even with wireless technology, where the PDQ is remote from the payment terminal's base unit, the area where a card can be processed is limited.

However, today you can accept card payments anywhere you like thanks to the development of the card payment app.

Mobile Card Payment Systems

To take card payments with a mobile device, you must first download the SumUp Card Payment App. Instead of using a traditional fixed-line PDQ machine, your smartphone becomes the base from which the technology works.

All you need to do is to enter the cardholder's details into the app and the credit card payment is processed for you. As long as the cardholder has sufficient funds, their card issuer will release the necessary money to you, just like a conventional payment terminal.

accept card payments on mobile device like smartphone or tablet

It is worth noting that such functionality is not only available with smartphones. Tablets, which are connected to the outside world via the mobile phone network or through a WiFi signal, are also able to handle all types of card transactions.

Advantages of a Mobile Card Payment System

Using a mobile card payment system means upgrading to twenty-first century technology.

Today consumers are accustomed to being able to order anything they want online at any time that suits them. It also means that they can be anywhere when they want to make a purchase from an e-commerce store.

Given that consumers now expect this level of flexibility with payments, offering a mobile card transaction service makes sense for any business which does not employ a conventional cash register system.

take card payments on mobile device

Offering mobile transactions for cards allows sales reps to take orders when they are out and about and have the orders paid for immediately.

Anyone who offers mobile services such as beauty technicians, electricians, gardeners and window cleaners, can obtain payment from their customers in their own homes without having to rely on cheques or cash.

Indeed, you can get paid upfront before you start, helping to lower the business risk of non-payment and late payments.

Security Considerations

If you want to accept card payments using an internet-enabled mobile system, customers may want to understand the security implications.

Firstly, all of their private data is encrypted when it passes between your mobile device and the service provider, meaning it cannot be obtained by a third party fraudulently.

security accept card payments

Traditional security measures, such as Chip and PIN, can also be incorporated with a card reader. With such a device, the customer still has final control over transactions and is able to check the amount they are spending before you end the payment for authorisation via the mobile network from your smart device.

The Future of Mobile Card Payments

In the future, maybe all fixed-line PDQs will disappear, having been replaced by the more convenient mobile transaction system. In the meantime, additional functionality, such as the contactless card reader, is already used with some mobile card payment systems.

With contactless readers customers can use their cards or even their own smartphones to make a payment, whereby the card reader communicates using radio-frequency identification before proceeding with a transaction.

Naturally the convenience of this system makes it not only the preferred payment system, but the system of modernity.


In Summary Run your business without unnecessary limitations. A contactless card reader allows you not only to accept payments anywhere, but it also allows you to securely accept credit, debit or cash payments. This flexibility is a win-win for both you and your customers.

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SumUp offers you the best solution in card payments

Buy your card reader today for only £29

With SumUp, you can quickly and easily accept credit and debit card payments with your smartphone or tablet.