What is a chip and PIN machine?

Chip and PIN is a way customers can pay for goods and services by card. It was first introduced in the UK in 2006, to tackle rising levels of fraud on lost and stolen credit and debit cards. The service is now in use in various countries around the world.

How to use a chip and PIN machine

Many credit and debit cards have a small built-in chip. This microchip contains details about the user’s card and account – like their name, account number and card expiry date. A chip and PIN card machine reads this information and asks the user to enter their secret 4-digit PIN (personal identification number), which allows the payment to complete. Payments usually appear in the receiver’s account in 3-5 days.

Types of chip and PIN machines

There are a few different types of chip and PIN machine. As well as the chip reader and keypad, most modern machines have inbuilt contactless payment functionality too.

Countertop machines stay in one spot all the time. They’re often used in large high street chains.

Portable machines can detach from their dock temporarily. Restaurants use these to take card payments at the table.

Mobile machines are able to accept payments anywhere there is 3G or wifi. Some readers, like iZettle’s, can be used for 8 hours without recharging. They’re ideal for taxi drivers, market stallholders or popup stands. They’re the most versatile of all the options, and suitable for everyone.

The future of payments

Chip and PIN ushered in a new generation of payments. Now sales could be processed anywhere, using tablets instead of tills, or even at unattended checkout points. Chip and PIN was faster than the previous ‘swipe and sign’ method, and more secure – it’s harder to guess or steal a PIN number than it is to fake a signature. It was good news for customers and businesses alike. Since its introduction, contactless and mobile payment have been introduced using the same reliable technology.

Card readers: the no-jargon guide

  • Most card readers accept a few payment methods. Some have a magstripe for ‘swipe and sign’ payments, but chip and PIN and contactless device payments are the most secure options.
  • Your card machine will work in parallel with your ‘point-of-sale’ (POS) system, which will process transactions and manage your inventory automatically.
  • All card readers charge a processing fee, but some are higher than others.

What’s the difference between a PDQ machine and a chip and PIN machine?

Ok, you know what a chip and PIN machine is – but how is it different from a ‘PDQ machine’? Well, it’s not. It’s the same thing, only ‘PDQ’ stands for ‘process data quickly’. Perhaps it’s a ‘card reader’ or a ‘card terminal’ to you. So good news: no extra stuff to research.

  1. Price excluding VAT. Offer valid until 29.11.2019 for one (1) iZettle Reader 2 per new business user. Ordinary card reader price £59 excl. VAT. Subject to availability. Additional terms and conditions apply. iZettle Dock and Reader 2 are sold separately. Price includes a USB cable for charging. The cost for a wall plug is not included. Wall plugs are not currently offered for sale by iZettle.