Each Android POS company offers a different combination of software, hardware and payment processing, and many also strive to create a one-stop solution by offering ancillary features for things such as marketing, accounting and employee management. Because there's such great variance between systems, it's difficult to compare pricing and overall value. As you evaluate your options, consider the costs for all three components in your calculations.
You also want to determine which ancillary services you require and whether it's more cost-effective to choose a POS system with these features built in, particularly if it requires you to subscribe to a higher service tier, or to get them as add-ons or third-party integrations, which may also cost extra.
Android vs. iPad: Which POS Platform Is Better?
Although some POS systems can be used with either Android tablets or iPads, some are platform specific. If you have a strong preference for one platform over the other, or if you already have tablets and phones you want to use, this is an important consideration as you're evaluating systems.
Android is the more popular platform, with over 2 billion devices in use. Because multiple manufacturers develop Android tablets, there's more competition in the market, resulting in lower pricing and a broader product selection, which can save you money as you set up your system, add devices, or replace broken, lost or stolen tablets. Many developers prefer Android, as it allows greater customization than iOS. However, iPads are well regarded for their ease of use, superior security and overall stability.
Android POS Contract Terms & Conditions: What to Watch For
Most Android POS companies provide service on a month-to-month basis; however, some require you to sign multi-year contracts. Before you sign up with any POS company, it's important to read the contract and understand what you're agreeing to. You want to pay special attention to the length of the term, the cancellation procedure and penalties, and all fees. If the company will also be providing your credit card processing service, you want to verify that you have the full contract, as it's often a three-part document (application, terms of service and program guide).
"Free" POS Hardware & Leasing Contracts
It's always more cost-effective over the long term to purchase your POS equipment upfront. However, if you choose to accept free POS hardware or participate in a "free placement program" offered by your payment processing service, or if you choose to lease equipment, you need to make sure you understand what you're agreeing to and what your responsibilities are. These contracts can be inflexible, and some are noncancelable, even if your business closes, leaving you personally responsible to fulfill all obligations. If the contract is cancelable, you want to find out what the cancellation fees are and if the company also charges liquidated damages (the amount of money the company expected to earn on your account for the time left on your contract).
You need to know the length of the initial term and subsequent terms, how long you have to cancel before the term automatically renews, and what process you must follow. Contracts typically have three-year terms, though some may be as short as one year or as long as five, and most only give you 30 days to provide written notice of your intent to cancel your account.
You also want to find out if you're expected to return the equipment at the end of the term or if you'll own it. If you'll need to return it, you want to find out if there are wear-and-tear penalties or restocking fees, and how much it would cost to purchase it at the end of the lease if you want to keep it.