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What is a mobile card machine, and how does it work?

Small businesses in the UK account for around 99.2% of the total business population. Moreover, as of 2023, these 5.51 million businesses are increasingly accepting card payments, with credit and debit cards making it to the top of the list, followed by cash, contactless payments, digital wallets and direct debit.

To cater to this rising trend in preferred payment methods, businesses must be able to offer the right card machines. Whether you run a business on the go or operate from a fixed location, mobile card payment machines are the ideal choice to accept credit and debit card payments.

But what is a mobile card payment machine, how does it work, and why should you use it? Moreover, what does a card machine cost, and what are some of the reasons why you should choose one for your business?

These are the questions we answer below. Keep reading to find out more.

What are mobile card machines?

There is a crucial payment trend that small business owners need to be aware of – cash payments are on the decline.

With the simplicity and convenience of accepting card payments and digital wallets such as Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay for both business owners and consumers, it’s essential that your business offers the ability to accept such methods.

You can start accepting payments through these channels using a mobile card terminal for debit cards, credit cards, and digital wallets. But what are mobile card readers?

In short, a mobile card machine — or a Process Data Quickly (PDQ) machine — is a small and compact physical device that enables you to accept debit card payments and other types of card and digital payments seamlessly.

Although traditional payment terminals or countertop card machines in the past were quite large and bulky, requiring a phone line and internet connection set-up (which was quite costly to establish), portable card machines are changing how small businesses are taking payments.

These mobile card readers are able to accept payments from multiple cards, while being an affordable choice for any small business.

Ultimately, this eliminates the concern for business owners about catering to their clients’ preferred payment methods, enabling them to focus on selling and earning more, irrespective of whether they work from fixed premises or various locations.

Mobile card machines are capable of accepting magstripe payments, chip and PIN payments and contactless (Near Field Communication — NFC) payments.

Being a handheld, wireless device with internet connectivity, you can never miss another payment due to the ease and simplicity of accepting all types of payments on the move or from a fixed location.

They can come in various shapes and sizes, and in addition, some may be more streamlined with touchscreens, while other, more traditional variants may offer push-buttons. 

Examples of some of the businesses that can benefit from these devices include restaurants, cafes and bars, hair salons, market traders and many others.

How does a mobile card machine work?

If you run a small business in the UK and you are curious about how to accept card payments through mobile card machines for small businesses, below, we outline the three-step process you should be aware of.

Once you have set up your mobile card machine, you are ready to accept payments. However, this raises several questions about the process that takes place behind the scenes. Here’s what you should know.

Step 1: Your customer presents their card

Whether through chip and PIN, magstripe or the NFC/contactless option, when your customer presents their card, your mobile card reader will read the data on the chip of the customer’s card.

Paying with card on a mobile card machine

The machine will then send the transaction details to your merchant account. It is important to note that this is separate from your business account. After this, the customer’s funds will be held while the payment process continues to the next step.

Step 2: A payment request is sent

Your merchant bank will send a payment request to your customer’s card provider online. This can include providers such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express and others.

Step 3: The customer’s account is contacted

The final step is that the card provider will submit a request to authorise the payment to the customer’s bank or credit card provider. Once the request is authorised, the payment will be transferred to your merchant account. 

In what initially appears to be a highly complex process, your payment will arrive in your account within seconds. This means no more missed payment opportunities while giving your customers the ease and convenience of purchasing from your business through their preferred payment method.

Why use mobile card payment machines for card payments?

While a countertop card machine does not offer you the flexibility and mobility of a mobile and portable card reader, the latter definitely does. One of their significant advantages is the ability to bring your point of sale to your customer, enabling you to catch as many card transactions as possible.

Whether you operate from multiple locations, your business is mobile, or you’d like to offer your customers the ease and convenience of making cashless payments where they are, a mobile card reader is the quickest and simplest way to do so.

However, to accept major credit card payments along with debit cards, you may be concerned about the cost of your transaction fees or the length of contract term you may be required to enter into.

Luckily, with myPOS, this process is simple, convenient and affordable, and it can be completed in just three steps.

First, you purchase your payment terminal from myPOS online or a myPOS store near you. If you choose the online purchase option, your mobile card machine will arrive at your chosen address within three business days.

Secondly, you need to sign up for a myPOS account. You can do this by filling in an online application form, which should take less than five minutes. The myPOS team will help you get up and running in no time.

The third and final step after you’ve signed up for your myPOS account is to start accepting payments with instant settlement of funds.

Offering a contactless card machine to your customers also speeds up your overall checkout time, reduces queues and incentivises spontaneous purchases.

How much does a mobile card machine cost?

To process payments and accept debit and credit card payments, you may be wondering about your mobile card machine’s cost. It’s essential to make certain distinctions between different service providers.

The reason behind this is that when you start accepting contactless payments, you are not only purchasing the physical hardware of your mobile portable card machine but also need to consider the fees per transaction accepted.

At myPOS, one of the cheapest card payment machine on offer is the myPOS Go 2 for an affordable price of only £39. While there are no monthly fees or fixed monthly costs, the transaction fee you can expect to pay is 1.10% + £0.07 per transaction.

myPOS Go 2 mobile card machine

This card machine’s costs are among the most attractive and affordable in the UK, and this gives you the freedom to enjoy steady payments while accepting contactless card payments easily, quickly and conveniently.

What is more, all myPOS contactless card machines facilitate instant settlement of funds, and you get a free merchant bank account in which you can receive your payments.

Plus, you also get a Visa business card with which to easily make purchases and transactions, whether through your mobile phone, online payments, in-store purchases, and others.

Top 11 reasons to choose a mobile card machine for your small business

Enabling your customers to pay through their preferred payment method comes with many advantages for your business. However, you also get to reap the rewards by offering convenient card payments.

Here are just a few of the essential reasons to consider upgrading your payment acceptance methodology:

  • Pricing and affordability: With one of the cheapest card machines in the UK, the myPOS Go 2 offers affordable pricing and a budget-friendly solution to small business owners who do not wish to spend excess costs on the hardware.
  • Cost-effective transactions: The transaction charges are cost-effective, enabling you to earn more from every sale you make. There is also no monthly fee involved in purchasing your card reader and using it to earn sales. Furthermore, there are no monthly contracts to worry about either.
  • Security: myPOS offers security when processing customers’ card data. With PCI-DSS compliance as the highest industry standard for card payments, you never have to worry about fraudulent transactions or customer data irregularities.
  • Support: Choosing myPOS means you get all the support necessary, as and when you need it, in order to ensure seamless payment acceptance from your clientele.
  • Functionality and connectivity: The myPOS Go 2 is highly intuitive and offers a quick set-up process. It is contactless and provides a free Data SIM card as well as Wi-Fi and GPRS connectivity. No phone lines are required for this device, meaning easier and seamless connections on the go, as and where you need them.
  • Digital receipts: Want to offer your customers a receipt for their transactions? While the myPOS Go 2 does not print receipts on paper, it does offer you the ability to give your customers seamless digital proof of their purchase through email or SMS. Meanwhile, the myPOS Go Combo comes with both a charging and printing dock.
  • Rapid transactions: When your mobile card machine reads your customers’ card details, the transaction is approved in seconds. However, while most point-of-sale (POS) devices and service providers offer settlement of funds during the next business day, with myPOS, you can enjoy instant settlement of funds as and when payment is received.
  • Online business account: You don’t need business bank accounts to operate your myPOS mobile card machine. Instead, you’ll get a free merchant account, which you can operate at any time online. Also, with your free Visa business card, you can choose to spend the funds you receive in whatever way you like.

    The free e-money merchant account comes with dedicated IBANs in 14 currencies. You can also seamlessly access your account via the myPOS mobile app, which is available for Android and iOS.
myPOS online business account
  • Add-on features: The myPOS Go 2 is pocket-sized, lightweight and sturdy. Moreover, it comes with a one-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee. 
  • Works across European borders: Need to take your business to another European country? No problem. That’s because the myPOS mobile card machines work across multiple European borders.
  • Other functionalities: The myPOS Go 2 offers a broad range of functionalities you can use. These include payment links such as Payment Requests, pre-authorisation, refunds, last transaction void, tipping and top-up.


When you’re looking for a payment provider to help you accept payments, you don’t need to look very far. That’s because myPOS offers the speed, ease and convenience that both you as a small business owner and your customers are looking for.

Never miss another sale as you ensure your customers have convenient means to make credit and debit card payments or pay through their chosen digital wallets. Issue digital receipts on the go and never feel confined to operating from a fixed location. When a small business is on the move, mobility is key.

That’s why you need a mobile card machine to help ensure that you catch every sale as and when it happens. With all the perks of becoming a myPOS merchant and so many great reasons to start accepting card payments, there’s never been a better time to get a mobile card reader than right now.

Frequently asked questions

A card reader is the name for the hardware device that business owners use to accept debit and credit card payments in a face-to-face or physical purchasing environment. They are often smaller than card machines, although their functionality is nearly identical.

Whether a card machine or a card reader, customers can pay via chip and PIN, contactless (NFC) or magstripe options or make payments using a variety of digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

Each of the myPOS card machines is built with end-to-end encryption to protect your customers’ card data from fraud, which is in line with PCI compliance.

With a myPOS mobile card machine, you can accept all major debit and credit cards as well as digital wallets. Examples of these card networks include Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, among others. Each of our card machines is contactless-enabled, helping customers make payments in a way that’s easy and convenient.

Choosing the right card machine can be challenging. you should start by deciding how you want your customers to use it. Are you looking to have your card machine for a fixed location, or are you looking to move around and accept payments while enjoying the card machine’s portability?

It is also important to explore different options and choose one that is affordable and gives you instant access to received funds to enable you to run your business in a more productive way.

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