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My Card Machine Is Not Working! Troubleshooting Guide and Your Rights

Stephen Hart

Stephen Hart

Founder - Cardswitcher

Former - Chief Financial Officer @ Worldpay

Having problems with your PDQ machine or mobile card reader and just can’t seem to fix it? Perhaps it’s declining all contactless payments? Or is it taking forever and a day to process and accept payments?

Either way, we understand how frustrating it can be for you and your customers to not have a functioning card machine. So here at CardSwitcher are here to give you a few tips, suggest why your card machine might not be working, how you can fix it yourself, who to contact to get it fixed, and what your rights as a customer are.

DISCLAIMER: CardSwitcher operates solely as a comparison site to find you the best deal on card processing costs. It does not provide the terminal, nor does it have solutions for your exact terminal - you must contact your provider for exact information on how to troubleshoot. These tips are purely for informational purposes.

woman paying contacless



Why Your Card Machine Might Not be Working

Chances are the first thing that came out of your mouth when your card machine became non-responsive was “why is my card machine not working?!”, and then probably proceeded to poke around.

There are numerous reasons as to why your card machine might not be working, and don’t worry, none of these reasons blame you!

  • Faulty Credit Card Terminal Battery - The same with any battery-powered device, if the battery dies, so does the device (it is worth noting that the battery may simply need charged!).
  • Faulty/Outdated Software on the Terminal - Much like when the software on your phone needs an update, its performance dips. This is the same for your card terminal too - an update of the software will likely improve performance.
  • Damage to the Hardware - This can include damage to the insertion area where customers insert their cards for chip and PIN payments or equally the contactless NFC technology isn’t working.
  • Connectivity Issues - This is largely dependent on your card provider and the type of connection it relies on. If you are experiencing issues with your WiFi, phone network or mobile signal, this will likely cause connectivity issues for your terminal.
  • Problematic Payment Card - If your terminal isn’t accepting any payments, you can conclude that it’s the terminal having issues. However, if it’s not accepting payment from a particular customer, there may be issues with their card (lack of funds, first time use, outdated card, not equipped with contactless, reached contactless limit etc.



How to Fix Card Machine That isn’t Working

Before you go to contact your terminal provider or start sifting through support manuals, there may be a few things you can try yourself first! All of which do vary on your terminal.

  • Check there are no loose wires or connections.
  • Check all necessary areas light up.
  • Try rebooting the terminal (disconnect all power cables, wait 30 seconds, reconnect, wait a further 60 seconds).
  • Connect the terminal to a different power source.
  • Clean the terminal (specifically insertion points) - see the dos and don’ts of cleaning in this video.
  • Ensure it’s not your connection (internet, dial-up) by trying other devices connected.



concerned owner on phone



Who Do I Contact If My Card Machine Isn’t Working?

As we said, we are not terminal providers. Therefore, if you are having issues with your card machine and it isn’t working, in order to have the problem resolved efficiently and correctly, contact your provider.

You’ll find some useful links to customer service/troubleshooting guides published by different card terminal/reader manufacturers below:

By Terminal Type:
Spire SPc50
Ingenico iCT250
Verifone VX520

By Terminal Provider:
PayPal Here



Your Card Machine Rights

If you are having repeated problems with your card terminal/reader, reach out to the provider to ask them what they suggest is the best plan of action.

If your machine is under warranty, you should be entitled to a brand new replacement machine.




card reader illuminated


Card Machine Can’t Be Fixed - What Now?

If you have already:

  • - Tried fixing it yourself
  • - Spoken to your terminal provider
  • - Had an engineer sent by your terminal provider look at it

And it still doesn’t work, then perhaps it’s time to get a new one.

If you’re unhappy with the reader you were given and the provider has been less than helpful, you may want to consider switching to a new terminal and/or provider.

CardSwitcher is here to help you out there. You can compare card machine terminals (counter top, portable, and mobile) with us. We also have a list of our favourite mobile card readers, with some exclusive deals if you use CardSwitcher’s affiliate links.

If you’re considering switching out your card reader, you should check you’re not overpaying on your card payment processing fees. You can compare credit card processing with CardSwitcher - save up to 40% on what you currently pay!

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Written by:
Stephen Hart

Stephen Hart

Founder - Cardswitcher

Former - Chief Financial Officer @ Worldpay

Stephen brings a wealth of experience honed through years in the financial sector, particularly in the card processing payments industry. His illustrious career spans key roles at PwC, Natwest, and the role of CFO at WorldPay, before going on to found card processing comparison site, CardSwitcher. He is passionate about helping growing businesses to understand the card processing landscape so they can make savvy financial decisions.