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The Best POS Systems of 2024

Updated Feb 29, 2024
Best All-in-One POS System
  • Physical and virtual terminals
  • Fast in-house payment processing
  • Industry-specific software/hardware
  • Physical and virtual terminals
  • Fast in-house payment processing
  • Industry-specific software/hardware
Best for Online Restaurant Ordering
  • Free and paid plans
  • Commission-free online ordering
  • On-demand delivery services
  • Free and paid plans
  • Commission-free online ordering
  • On-demand delivery services
Best for Retail
  • Catalogs with over 8 million items
  • Built-in CRM and loyalty tools
  • Custom templates and dashboards
  • Catalogs with over 8 million items
  • Built-in CRM and loyalty tools
  • Custom templates and dashboards
Best for Scalability
  • Simplified checkout process
  • Comprehensive sales tracking
  • Lots of inventory management tools
  • Simplified checkout process
  • Comprehensive sales tracking
  • Lots of inventory management tools
Best for Efficiency
  • Mobile convenience
  • Reliable offline mode
  • Business scalability
  • Mobile convenience
  • Reliable offline mode
  • Business scalability

Table of Contents

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Quinn Springett Headshot
Quinn Springett
Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
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A point-of-sale (POS) system is more than a fancy cash register. It rings up sales, accepts payments, manages inventory and analyzes sales data, to name just a few of its capabilities. It’s an essential tool in commerce for all sizes of businesses. The best POS systems are easy to use, make sales and inventory management a simple process, and are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. To make the selection process easier, we did the research for you. We spent hours researching and analyzing the best products on the market to help you identify the right POS system for your business. We considered ease of use, tools, hardware options and cost when determining our best picks.

Tip Bulb

How We Decided

Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.

112

Considered

14

Researched

11

Selected

Compare Our Best Picks

BDC Ribbon
Our Top Picks for 2024
Clover POS System
Lightspeed
Shopify POS
TouchBistro
Square POS
Helcim POS
GoDaddy POS
Upserve POS
CardConnect
Epos Now
Revel Systems
Brilliant POS
Rating (Out of 10)9.79.59.49.59.48.69.49.28.89.29.18.18.98.48.89.2
Best use case

All-in-one POS

Online restaurant ordering

Retail

Scalability

Efficiency

Add-on services

Restaurant

Startups

Payment processing

E-commerce

POS mobile app for restaurants

Merchant services

Integrations

Customer loyalty programs

Micro Businesses

Employee management

Industries

Restaurants, retail, service businesses, e-commerce

Restaurants

Retail, restaurants, golf

Retail, hospitality, e-commerce

Restaurants

Restaurants

Restaurants

Restaurants, retail, appointment booking

Restaurants, retail (excludes high-risk merchants)

E-commerce

Restaurants

Growing businesses

Hospitality, retail

Restaurants

Retail, hospitality, e-commerce

Retail, hospitality, e-commerce

Starting price

$9.95/month

Free

$69/month

$29/month

$69/month

$59/month

$69/month

Free

Free

$6.90/month

$59/month (plus $60 per terminal)

Must contact for quote

$39/month

$99/month (minimum 2 terminals)

$23/month

$4.95/month

Free trial

30 days

No

14 days

Yes

No

No

28 days

30 days

No

7 days

No

No

30 days

No

No

Yes

Contract length

Monthly and annual plans

Multiyear plans

Monthly, annual and multiyear plans

Monthly, yearly

Monthly

Monthly, annual and multiyear plans

Monthly plans

Monthly plans

Monthly

Monthly, annual and multiyear plans

Multiyear plans

Monthly, annual and multiyear plans

Annual and multiyear plans

Multiyear plans

Monthly

Monthly

POS hardware

Clover Station Solo, Clover Station Duo, Clover Flex, Clover Mini, Clover Go (accessories available)

Toast Flex, Toast Go 2, Toast Flex for Guest, Toast Flex for Kitchen, kiosk (accessories available)

iPad, LAN receipt printer, cash drawers, Bluetooth scanners, Lightspeed iPad stand (other accessories available)

Card reader, retail kit, barcode scanner, printers, cash drawers

iPad

POS terminals, starter kits, printers, networking devices, kitchen display system, cash drawers, card readers

iPad, kitchen display system, customer-facing display

Register, terminal, stand, card readers (accessories available)

Helcim card reader

Smart terminal, mobile card reader

POS terminals, tableside devices, EMV payments, printers, kitchen display system, wireless networking

Multiple device options (based on CardConnect solution)

POS terminals, receipt printer, cash drawer, handheld tablet, iPad stand

iPad, iPad stands, kiosks, payment devices, printers, barcode scanners, networking devices, cash drawers, scales

Tablet, card reader, cash drawer, barcode scanner, receipt printer

Card reader, register, touchscreen display

Compatible with third-party payment processors?

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Integrations

100+

70+

100+

50+

50+

Yes

25+

200+

80+

Yes

45+

Yes

100+

50+

Yes

20+

Payment options

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards

Debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, gift cards Phone, email, webchat

Customer support

Phone, email, webchat

Phone, email, webchat

Phone, email

Phone, web chat, web ticket

Phone, online ticket, email

Phone, email, webchat

Phone, email, webchat

Phone, email, webchat, social media

Phone, email

Phone, webchat

Phone, email, webchat

Phone, email

Phone, email, webchat

Phone, online ticket

Phone, web chat, web ticket

Phone, email, webchat

Review Link
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Our Reviews

Clover POS System: Best All-in-One POS System

  • Clover is an all-in-one solution for credit card processing and POS functionality.
  • It offers additional pay features like Clover Rapid Deposit and Clover Capital.
  • Clover is not compatible with third-party payment processing.
Editor's Rating: 9.7/10
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Clover is an affordable POS system for restaurants, retailers, service businesses and e-commerce. It has industry-specific POS plans, fast in-house payment processing, and additional features like Clover Rapid Deposit and Clover Capital. You can accept online pickup orders and integrate with DoorDash for delivery. Clover offers a variety of hardware options, or you can access a virtual terminal to accept payments without hardware. You can also access invoicing features, save payments and set up recurring payments as needed.

Clover’s software gives you access to several POS functions, such as automatic inventory sync, pickup and delivery orders, customer contact information, marketing preference collection, options to accept donations, and customer rewards and promos. You can manage employees, track sales patterns and trends, and integrate with platforms like BigCommerce, QuickBooks and Gusto. Clover is secured with end-to-end encryption, integrated EMV chip sensors and fingerprint logins. The company offers a variety of customer support options and online resources.

You can pay for Clover’s hardware upfront or in monthly installments. Clover’s plans (Starter, Standard and Advanced) range in price depending on what you’re using it for. For example, the entry-level monthly cost for professional, home/field and personal services ranges from $14.95 per month to $44.95 per month for advanced plans. Starter plans for full-service and quick-service dining begin at $74.95 and $44.95, respectively.

Toast: Best for Online Restaurant Ordering

  • The Essentials plan comes with three months of free online ordering (valued at $75 per month).
  • Toast is cloud-based software that supports a fully functional offline mode.
  • Toast is not compatible with third-party payment processors.
Editor's Rating: 9.5/10
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Toast is a restaurant-focused POS system that serves most restaurant types, like fine dining, casual dining, fast casual, bars and nightclubs, and cafes and bakeries. We were very impressed with its online ordering capabilities for restaurants, such as order scheduling, curbside pickup, contactless delivery, dynamic throttling, an on-demand delivery driver fleet and the Toast TakeOut app. Toast’s online ordering is entirely commission-free, helping you save money while supporting multiple online orders.

Toast offers valuable POS features like inventory management, order and table management, menu management, payment processing, guest feedback, and reporting and analytics. We especially like the Toast Order & Pay add-on, a mobile solution for dine-in guests to order and pay from their phones. This is another form of online ordering, and it also gives the option for delivery. Toast also has a partnership with Google, allowing customers to order directly from the search engine. The Order with Google integration provides a better customer experience and offers another sales channel for business owners. If you need help with your Toast software, you can access phone, email and chat support 24/7.

Recently, Toast introduced its own in-house hardware. The Toast Go handheld device and Toast Flex register are both designed with restaurants in mind. Additional accessories such as receipt printers, cash drawers and more are also available.

Lightspeed: Best for Retail

  • Lightspeed gives you a choice of four flexible pricing plans for retail
  • It offers robust e-commerce tools.
  • It limits the payment processors you can use.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
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Lightspeed offers multiple industry-specific POS plans for retail stores, restaurants, and golf businesses, but we especially like its retail options. Each plan includes one free terminal and the ability to accept payments with Lightspeed Payments or a third-party processor. The features in each plan are tiered, but even the midlevel plans have retail POS capabilities, payment processing, and functions for selling online and in-store. You can create a personalized home dashboard, and the e-commerce options include several mobile-responsive and customizable templates. You can manage your employees with custom permissions and time-tracking functions. Additionally, the platform offers more than 50 built-in reports that provide analytics on sales, inventory, margins and employee performance analytics.

Lightspeed’s inventory management functions set it apart from the competition. We like how Its inventory management tools allow you to create product variations and bundles, upload thousands of SKUs at a time, access preloaded catalogs with over 8 million items and set stock alerts. Its built-in CRM and customer loyalty tools let you track customers’ purchase histories, create customer profiles, and build rewards programs and custom promotions.

Shopify POS: Best POS System for Scalability

  • Shopify POS is loaded with a variety of features and integrations that businesses can take advantage of as they scale.
  • Shopify has extensive inventory management tools.
  • Additional costs like a domain name, third-party transaction fees, currency conversion fees, and credit and debit card fees may be too much for smaller businesses.
Editor's Rating: 9.5/10
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Shopify is a well-known platform many e-commerce businesses use to accept payments and manage inventory. With numerous POS service plans, customers can easily upgrade their plan as their business expands and scales. At $29 per month, the basic plan gives you analytics, two accounts and up to 1,000 inventory locations. Pricing goes all the way up to $2,000 per month, depending on what your needs are. One thing to note is that if you don’t use Shopify’s in-house payment processor, you’ll be charged a transaction fee.

We like how Shopify provides a free trial without requiring any payment details, something that can’t be said of its competitors. With an easy-to-use dashboard, excellent customer support and tons of integrations, it’s tough to find something not to like about this platform. It’s compatible with Android and iOS devices, and the system is fully customizable.

Cake: Best POS System for Efficiency

  • Cake provides an implementation team that guides you through setup and training.
  • Cake offers discounts on the subsequent terminals you purchase as your business grows.
  • Cake’s daily management reports aren’t as detailed as those of competitors.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
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We chose Cake from Mad Mobile as the best POS system for efficiency because of how straightforward and seamless it makes the customer experience and the experience for the staff using the system. Business owners and employees can understand how the system works in under an hour. Restaurant customers can see their orders as they’re being built while communicating with the host via Guest Manager. User-specific roles will ensure accessibility is granted to certain staff members, and we especially like that the system is cloud-based. This means you can access your analytics wherever you have an internet connection.

In addition, we also like that the system comes with an offline mode that allows you to accept payments even if you run into internet connectivity issues. We were especially impressed with its bill-splitting tool. Other POS platforms aren’t as good at this as Cake. Cake supports online ordering, and for those in retail, it has inventory management of up to 3,000 SKUs. Monthly prices range from the $69 Essentials plan to the $295 Pro plan. We especially like that all Cake plans include free POS hardware.

Lavu: Best for Add-on Services

  • Lavu has more than 15 of its own add-on integrations and several third-party integrations.
  • Lavu offers its own processing service but can also work with third-party payment processors.
  • Lavu is not compatible with Android devices.
Editor's Rating: 8.6/10
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Lavu is an iPad-based POS system that caters to restaurants, food trucks and cafes. It comes packed with more than 200 customizable POS features and tools. Restaurants of any size can customize a Lavu plan to fit their needs. The plan with a single POS terminal costs $69; you can contact Lavu for a custom quote if you need multiple terminals or an enterprise plan. Where Lavu rises above its competitors is its add-on features and services. It has nearly 15 in-house integrations that you can add to the POS offering, making it easy to customize your setup. Few competitors offer this many in-house integrations to support their POS systems. You can also integrate with several third-party apps to tailor the system to your needs.

Lavu has an online shop where you can choose from a variety of hardware and peripherals. This is great for adding on new hardware as your needs expand. We like that Lavu offers an in-house payment solution and allows you to connect with third-party payment processors if needed.

TouchBistro: Best for Restaurants

  • TouchBistro has more than 200 restaurant-focused features.
  • You can add on customer engagement products like reservations, gift cards, loyalty programs and online ordering.
  • Due to its customization, TouchBistro may take a little longer to set up than other systems.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
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TouchBistro’s target market is the restaurant industry, including full-service establishments, quick-service joints, bars, clubs, food trucks and breweries. Since its POS hardware and software are specific to restaurants, you can trust it has the features and capabilities you need to ring up orders and accept customer payments for your eatery. TouchBistro’s mobile-friendly software uses iPads as mobile registers, which is excellent for restaurants offering tableside ordering and payment services. You can process payments through TouchBistro Payments (partnered with Chase) or integrate with a third-party payment processor.

The TouchBistro POS software has a plethora of restaurant-specific features, like drag-and-drop table management tools, customizable menu dashboards, ingredient-level tracking, and forced modifiers. We like how you can create customer accounts to track their order histories and manage balances. You can customize the platform with add-on features like online ordering, reservations and loyalty programs. You can also create employee profiles, assign staff roles, and track employees’ performance and attendance. TouchBistro has roughly 85 detailed reports to show you pertinent restaurant information and offers 24/7 customer support.

Square POS: Best for Small Business

Square POS
Square logo
  • Square offers free and paid plans, with several customization options.
  • The retail POS plans come with a free online store.
  • The Square Register POS hardware isn’t compatible with third-party payment processors.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10

Square is one of the top companies in the POS industry. It offers POS options for restaurants, retail stores and small businesses, as well as an appointment-scheduling POS system for customer-booking businesses. We like that there are no fees to use Square POS software, which makes it a perfect fit for startups looking to save money. The only stipulation is that you must process payments through Square. Square has several software capabilities that integrate with its POS system, making it an excellent one-stop shop for startup companies.

Square’s customization options let you add services for team management, payroll, customer loyalty programs, gift cards, marketing, online sales and invoicing. With these services, you can create a more versatile POS system for your unique needs as your startup business grows. We like that the Square mobile app is compatible with iOS and Android devices. Square is renowned for its sleek hardware, including the second-generation reader. This device pairs with a smartphone, and can accept both chip cards and contactless payments.

We also like Square for Retail, Square Appointments, and its sales and reporting features. These services, available on all of Square’s devices, as well as the Square app, are designed to help business owners streamline their operations using one device. Recently, Square released cutting-edge AI tools. These new features include a restaurant menu generator, as well as an AI image generator for your website.

Helcim POS: Best for Payment Processing

  • Helcim offers low payment processing rates.
  • Helcim doesn’t charge setup, monthly, deposit, PCI, user or cancellation fees.
  • Helcim doesn’t work with high-risk businesses, so you’ll need to check its acceptable use policy to make sure it supports your type of business.
Editor's Rating: 8.8/10
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With a rate guarantee and processing rates that are better than those of its competitors, Helcim is the best POS for payment processing. Helcim is a payment processor first, but it offers an application that operates as a POS system on any device, including computers, tablets and smartphones. Helcim is an all-in-one platform providing merchants with various payment and billing methods. We like that the free POS system is compatible with nearly any tablet or mobile device, which is different from what some other competitors offer. We also like that merchants can take advantage of a free online store as part of their plan for no additional cost.

We like that Helcim has a no-frills approach to its POS system. You get all of the features with a single interchange-plus rate and don’t have to worry about a monthly fee. Helcim’s hardware offering consists of a card reader costing $109. These devices are both attractive and easy to use, with no monthly fees or contracts. Helcim also recently launched its new standalone smart terminal.  This device allows you to process payments, manage inventory, print receipts and more.

Helcim’s low-cost payment processing for businesses has in-person rates averaging 1.92 percent plus $0.08 per transaction, keyed and online rates averaging 2.38 percent plus $0.25 per transaction, and PIN-debit rates averaging 0.91 percent plus $0.08 per transaction. These rates are much lower than what you’d pay with many other POS systems we reviewed.

GoDaddy POS: Best for E-Commerce

GoDaddy POS
  • GoDaddy lets you build a company website and e-commerce store and integrate that customer data with your in-store POS sales.
  • GoDaddy Payments has competitive processing rates.
  • GoDaddy’s selection of POS hardware is relatively narrow.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10

GoDaddy offers comprehensive POS and e-commerce features, making it ideal for businesses geared toward in-person and online sales. Some GoDaddy e-commerce features and tools that we didn’t find in many POS competitors include website builder templates, custom domain connections, website security (SSL) and online store creation. We like that you can list thousands of products online, automatically sync your inventory across various locations (e.g., Amazon, Etsy, social media sites) and manage your inventory from a single dashboard. You can also take advantage of marketplace and social selling tools.

GoDaddy offers traditional POS loyalty options like coupons, online sales and gift cards. It takes customer management one step further with marketing tools like abandoned cart recovery, shoppable social media posts, email marketing and list segmentation. You can track sales, transactions, returns and receipts all from one location. We enjoy how GoDaddy offers 24/7 customer support and a wealth of online resources for customers. Additionally, GoDaddy POS plans include automated website chatbots so that you can help your own customers with ease – and thus improve the user experience of your e-commerce store.

Upserve POS: Best POS Mobile App for Restaurants

Upserve POS
  • Upserve offers mobile POS hardware for tableside ordering.
  • The mobile app enables on-the-go restaurant management.
  • Upserve is not compatible with third-party payment processors.
Editor's Rating: 9.1/10

Upserve by Lightspeed is a cloud-based system that offers stellar POS options to fit a wide range of restaurant needs. One thing we especially like about Upserve is its mobile app for iOS and Android devices. All Upserve clients can use this app to access a wealth of restaurant information that the POS collects, like sales, labor costs, discounts, guest behaviors and out-of-stock items. You can also add supplemental features like commission-free online ordering, gift cards and customer reporting. Some establishments that Upserve is ideal for include bakeries, fine-dining restaurants, quick-serve restaurants, bars, breweries and cafes.

Upserve has inventory capabilities like a logbook, menu optimization, automated inventory management, recipe costing, vendor management, one-click purchasing and low-inventory alerts. Employee management tools allow you to use training or offline mode, create staff schedules, and track server performance. You can use reports to monitor your sales, product levels, labor performance and more. You can even view this information on the mobile app, allowing you to make critical business decisions from wherever you are. Upserve offers 24/7 U.S.-based customer support, which is a great resource when you have questions about the Upserve software or mobile app.

CardConnect: Best for Security

CardConnect
  • CardConnect has a strong focus on security features.
  • The CardPointe platform is ideal for e-commerce merchants.
  • Customer service and support could use some work.
Editor's Rating: 8.1/10

CardConnect shines by offering secure payment processing services. CardConnect works closely with Fiserv in order to provide its customers with top POS products, including those offered by Clover. CardConnect provides high-quality countertop terminals that provide support for both EMV and NFC-based payment methods, like Apple Pay. We like how CardConnect allows you to set up hosted payment pages to receive payments or donations online. You don’t have to know any complex programming languages to get started, and there’s no charge for CardPointe users.

CardPointe is CardConnect’s primary product offering. This cloud-based payment processing system is a mix of a virtual terminal and a payment gateway. We like that you can accept various payment methods through CardPointe, such as credit cards, debit cards and e-checks. Through CardPointe, you’ll have full access to your transaction details, catalogs, reporting/analytics and a detailed customer database at all times.

Epos Now: Best for Integrations

Epos Now
  • You can process payments with a third-party processor like EVO Payments or Bancard.
  • Epos Now offers one-on-one onboarding and training.
  • Select users must pay for the monthly customer support plan.
Editor's Rating: 8.9/10

Epos Now serves businesses in retail and hospitality, with POS software to fit each industry’s specific needs. It offers numerous hardware options and great compatibility between devices, including touch-screen POS systems, iPads, Samsung tablets, a mobile POS called Epos Pocket, receipt printers and cash drawers. The Epos Now software is rich in features and easily scalable, which is excellent for growing businesses that want to start with a simple POS solution. However, where it really shines is its integrations. It can integrate with credit card processors and more than 100 third-party applications, allowing your business to create a completely customized solution.

The software has competitive inventory, customer and employee management features, and it can integrate with other applications to enhance these functions even further. On the Epos Now dashboard, you can run reports and view real-time sales data, which can help boost efficiency and profits. The company boasts easy-to-use software that employees can learn in under 15 minutes, though you have the luxury of contacting customer support representatives 24/7 by phone, email or live chat if you run into problems. The company also offers one-on-one onboarding and unlimited training and coaching to help you and your team navigate the software.

Revel Systems: Best for Customer Loyalty Programs

Revel Systems
  • Revel lets you custom-tailor loyalty programs for your business.
  • It is compatible with some third-party hardware and payment processors.
  • Revel charges a fee for onboarding and implementation.
Editor's Rating: 8.4/10

Revel Systems provides iPad-based POS systems to quick-service businesses, restaurants, retailers, pizza joints and coffee shops. The Revel software has several POS capabilities, including kitchen management, online ordering, and delivery and inventory management. You can track, manage and count products across all of your sales channels, including your stores in multiple locations. You can also streamline administrative processes by managing your labor operations from a single console.

Revel shines in its customer loyalty capabilities. You can capture customer info from your POS, create loyalty programs and designate how customers earn loyalty points (e.g., with each transaction, based on purchase amount and/or for specific products). Revel Systems has developed an in-house loyalty reward card program for you to customize and build your own gift card program (with setup videos online), or you can integrate with Paytronix, Punchh, Como, LoyaltyPlant, Spendgo, Pepper, LevelUp or Repeat Returns. Only a few POS systems we researched have such a wide selection of loyalty programs.

Wix: Best POS System for Micro Businesses

  • Wix offers affordably-priced hardware.
  • Its e-commerce customizability makes it easy to streamline operations.
  • Wix doesn’t offer users a free trial.
Editor's Rating: 8.8/10
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Many small business owners turn to Wix to create their websites at cost-effective rates. The nice thing about Wix POS is that you can integrate your website with your online store. That means you can easily manage your sales and inventory in one place. We like how customizable Wix POS is for many types of businesses. From button design to menu customization, you can make the checkout process more functional for your customers.

With Wix and Stripe’s business partnership, you get a fully mobile POS system with flat-rate processing and e-commerce functionality. With Wix Retail POS, the software is already installed and ready to be used on your hardware. All you need is an internet connection to get started. For businesses using Wix Mobile POS, you have to download the “Wix Owner” application that’s available on both Android and iOS operating systems. Wix is known for its straightforward website builder, and we value how easy it is to learn the POS platform. If you’re not satisfied with your hardware, you can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Brilliant POS: Best POS System for Employee Management

Brilliant POS
Brilliant POS logo
  • Brilliant lets you track hours, wages, payroll and schedules.
  • There are no SKU limits when it comes to inventory management.
  • Brilliant offers fewer integrations than some of its competitors.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10

One of the most notable highlights of Brilliant is how good it is for employee management. Inside the labor scheduler, you have comprehensive details about payroll and scheduling for each staff member. If you’re using the system for a restaurant, you can see how your team and specific employees are performing, as well as get a breakdown of the busy times of the day to help plan schedules. In addition to employee management, Brilliant also excels in its pricing. If you’re a new company just looking for the basics, the Payments Plus plan costs only $4.95 per month.

Another standout feature we like about Brilliant is its ability to keep track of all of your products and identify which ones are selling and which aren’t. Due to its cloud-based functionality, you can review these reports anywhere. The intuitive dashboard allows you to customize it to display what employees see when logging in. This can reduce the time it takes to navigate the screens to see important details. All in all, businesses looking to automate some of the more mundane administrative tasks in organizing employee workflows will significantly benefit from this platform.

How Much Does a POS System Cost?

Advancements in technology and a reduction in POS prices have widened the market for POS systems and all types and sizes of businesses. The hardware no longer costs several thousand dollars, and the service contracts aren’t hundreds of dollars per month. Today, there are price points to fit a one-shop merchant as well as a retailer with several locations.

POS system costs vary depending on the hardware and software features you need. There are three components to consider when determining the price of a system: hardware, software and payment processing. You’ll want to do some comparison shopping to ensure your chosen POS system will cater to all your needs. Monthly software costs can range from $0 to over $200 for systems with cloud-based functionality. Some hardware is complimentary, while others cost as much as $1,200 for a robust POS register system.

POS Hardware Costs

There are a variety of POS hardware options that will impact the cost. Depending on the business, a POS system may include a terminal, tablet or computer; a cash drawer; a card reader; barcode scanners; a receipt printer; and signature-capture devices. The best POS systems are compatible with third-party hardware, letting you shop around for deals (and continue using your chosen hardware if you switch software providers later). They’re also scalable, allowing you to start small and add peripherals as your business and budget expand.

For small businesses with basic needs such as credit card payments, a phone or tablet and a card reader will suffice. If you already have mobile devices and only require EMV-compliant and an NFC-enabled credit card reader, this setup usually ranges from $20 to $100.

Most small businesses will want a variety of peripherals, such as a tablet stand, cash drawer and receipt printer. For this type of setup (using your own tablet), you’ll typically pay between $600 and $1,200. Additional peripherals like barcode scanners, kitchen printers and display screens cost extra.

Bottom LineBottom line

POS hardware typically costs $20 to $1,000, depending on what you need. Peripherals such as barcode scanners and display screens cost extra.

POS Software Costs

The cost of POS software depends on the services you need. You could pay anywhere between $25 and $300 per month. Monthly subscriptions are the most common payment model in the world of POS software.

Most of the cloud-based POS vendors offer pricing tiers with different features. Some levels limit the number of users or the monthly sales volume you can process. Some POS vendors also provide free POS software, but there’s a catch: You must process your payments through the POS provider.

If you want a basic, free POS system, the best options are from highly rated mobile credit card processors (see our Square review for an example). These credit card processors include POS features in their mobile processing apps. You must use the same company for your payment processing in order to use its POS app, but you aren’t locked into a long-term contract. Processing fees are charged on a pay-as-you-go basis, which is ideal for very small businesses.

If you need more out of your POS system, such as inventory management or e-commerce tools, expect to pay $40 to $100 per month for one register. The more bells and whistles you want, the higher the monthly cost will be. When shopping for a POS system, be mindful of the features in each tier: One company might include all of the features you need in the basic package, whereas you have to pay for a higher tier to access some of those features with another vendor. For example, inventory management with tracking capabilities may be standard in all packages with one vendor and an add-on with another.

TipBottom line

Before deciding on a POS system, do your research, consider your budget, look at reviews and get a full demonstration of the software you’re interested in.

Payment Processing

The final piece of the POS pricing puzzle is payment processing. This is the cost to accept and process customers’ payments through your device. The best POS systems provide you with a choice of great payment processors, giving you the opportunity to shop around for low rates and affordable fees. This means you won’t have to switch out the entire POS system if you decide to use a different processor.

POS providers are increasingly offering in-house processing, which can be convenient but more costly in the long run. Some give you a choice to use their in-house processing service, while others charge an extra fee (either monthly or per transaction) for using a third-party processor. Others require you to use their in-house credit card processing service exclusively. 

FYIDid you know

The average credit card processing fee ranges from 1.3 to 3.5 percent per transaction.

How to Choose a POS System for Your Business

The POS market is crowded, with many vendors trying to differentiate their features and services to remain competitive. Here are a couple of things to consider when choosing a POS system.

Pricing

Some POS vendors sell software only, while others sell software and hardware. When it comes to payment processing, some POS providers include that with their bundled packages, while others don’t offer it at all. Because of all this, making an apples-to-apples comparison when shopping for a POS can be challenging. Include the costs for all three components (software, hardware and payment processing) in your calculations when evaluating your options.

Features

Each POS system offers a different mix of features based on the service plan you choose. Many systems are customizable, allowing you to add hardware and software programs for an extra cost. As you evaluate systems, decide which features you need to calculate the total cost, including add-ons. Depending on your business, some features you should consider are:

  • Invoicing
  • Multilocation management
  • Inventory and order management
  • Sales reporting

What POS Software Features Do You Need?

POS systems can have hundreds of features, but they’re meaningless if you don’t use any of them. While some businesses may require a full arsenal of tools and features, others may prefer to keep things simple. As you look for POS software, think about what your business needs, the tools that would be nice to have and which ones you’ll never end up using. Always be sure to sign up for a few demos and trial versions before making your final decision. Doing so will give you a chance to test the waters and see which ones work the best.

Besides the basic cash register features that every POS solution has, you should look more closely at the unique feature sets of each platform before selecting a system. Keep in mind that specific capabilities within each feature set vary by system. Advanced features may be available only at higher service tiers, or you may need to add apps or integrations to the POS system.

Mobile App Support

The best POS systems have apps that are installed on tablets and smartphones, transforming the devices into mobile POS terminals. Retailers can use them as mobile checkout devices to ring up customer orders anywhere on the store floor. Restaurants can use them to take orders and accept tableside payments. You can also attach the tablet to a stand and turn it into a stationary kiosk. From there, you can add peripherals, such as a cash drawer and a receipt printer, to create a countertop checkout station.

When comparison shopping, be mindful of the platform the mobile POS supports. Although some POS systems can be used with both Android and iOS systems, some are specific to one platform. If you have a strong preference for one platform or already have tablets and phones you want to use, this is an important consideration. If you’re looking for a dual-platform POS system, check out vendors like Clover, Toast and Lightspeed.

  • iPad mPOS: iPads are the preferred platform for most POS providers. These devices are known for their user-friendly interface and stability. iPads also have superior security due to the closed nature of Apple’s iOS. That makes it harder for hackers to install malware on the devices. But you will pay for that security, as iPads tend to be more expensive than Android tablet POS systems. Popular iPad POS systems include TouchBistro and Revel.
  • Android mPOS: While iOS-based systems are more common, Android tablets tend to be less expensive. With multiple manufacturers, there’s more competition in the market, resulting in lower prices and broader product selections. That can save you money as you set up your system, add devices, or replace broken, lost or stolen tablets.
Did You Know?Did you know

With over 2.5 billion devices in use, Android has roughly 70 percent of the mobile OS market share worldwide, according to StatCounter. However, most users prefer iOS when choosing a mobile POS system.

Inventory Management

If you’re wanting to keep track of your inventory and ordering, a POS inventory management system does a lot of the work for you. When considering inventory management, think about what you really need.

  • Do you need a basic product catalog or menu-item countdown?
  • Do you need to track quantities, including components or ingredients?
  • Do you need low-stock alerts or automatic reordering?

If you have a retail business, estimate how many SKUs you need the POS system to support. Some vendors support a limited number of SKUs, and others offer unlimited packages. If you do need advanced inventory management features and they’re not available in the POS system you want, make sure the POS system integrates with your inventory software.

Customer Management and Loyalty Programs

Customer retention is an important part of running a store or restaurant. Many POS systems have built-in tools and features to help you manage and retain your customers, but you may not need all the customer management and loyalty features some POS vendors offer. That’s why, again, it’s important to consider your needs.

If your business needs to collect customers’ payment and delivery information only, you won’t need a built-in CRM. But if you are looking to create customer profiles with detailed purchase histories and to add notes (such as customers’ birthdays, preferences or allergies), then you want a more robust system.

Employee Management

If your employees are going to be using the POS system, you need to control the data and functions they can access. For example, you may want only your store managers to handle refunds. It’s important to choose a POS vendor that can deliver on your employee management requirements, whether they’re simple or complex. Here are some things to consider with employee management functionality:

  • Do you want to set permissions for individual users?
  • Do you need a time clock for employees?
  • If you’re already using top time and attendance software, will it integrate with the POS system?

Reporting

The reporting and analytics of POS systems is a huge benefit for businesses. Because the POS tracks all of your sales, you get an overview of what inventory is moving and what isn’t. This can help you identify sales trends and ultimately boost your bottom line.

All POS systems can generate reports, but the number of reports, specific report types and customization options differ between systems. Some POS systems offer a much deeper look into reporting and analytics, while others give only a surface glance. The more advanced reporting you need, the more you’ll pay for the capability. If you’re a company that requires detailed reports, Clover is a good POS system to consider.

Integrations

Most web-based POS systems have integrations or apps that make it easier for you to share data between systems. For example, connecting highly rated accounting software to your POS system saves you the time of exporting sales data. Integrating with your e-commerce platform will ensure accurate inventory across sales channels. Look for a POS system that integrates with the business programs you already use, such as accounting software, payroll, e-commerce platforms and email marketing services.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a popular trend for POS software is the ability to turn a tablet or smartphone into a self-serve kiosk. Customers can use these devices to choose and purchase items, enabling merchants to transform tablets and smartphones into self-ordering and self-payment stations. Self-serve kiosks have a number of benefits:

  • Better customer experience: Self-service kiosks put control in the customers’ hands. They also reduce delays that can be caused by social interaction with cashiers.
  • Profitability: Kiosks reduce overhead and allow staff to focus their effort on other customer-oriented tasks.
  • Faster transactions: Kiosks allow more customers to make purchases in a shorter period of time, increasing overall ROI.

Which POS Hardware Features Do You Need?

You have a lot of options for POS hardware and how you configure your system. A basic POS station has a tablet or a touch screen, a credit card reader, a cash drawer and till, and a receipt printer. Some POS systems are compatible with additional peripherals.

  • Tablet stand: This holds the tablet in place.
  • Barcode scanner: This makes it faster to enter items into the system at the checkout station.
  • Scales: These allow you to sell bulk items by weight.
  • Customer display screen: This shows the customer their sales ticket as you enter items into the POS system.
  • Kitchen printer: This sends orders to the kitchen for the cooks to prepare.
  • Kitchen display system: This is a digital alternative to the kitchen printer.
  • Kiosk: Customers can use a kiosk tablet to place their own orders.
  • Digital menu boards: These are large screens that display your menu and promotions.
  • Coin dispenser: This reduces errors and speeds up the checkout process by automatically returning change to the customer.
  • Caller ID device: The POS system automatically starts an order when customers call your business.

Buying, Leasing and ‘Free’ POS Hardware

It’s always best to purchase your POS terminal upfront, even if that means starting with just the basics. You could pay much more than the equipment is worth if you lease – not to mention that leases have noncancelable, multiyear contracts. If you go out of business and return the equipment, you must continue making lease payments until your contract expires.

Some companies offer “free” POS terminals, but accepting these can also be more expensive than buying your equipment upfront. To get this deal, you typically have to sign a lengthy contract for the company’s credit card processing service, and there’s a monthly fee on top of that for maintenance or insurance. There’s also the POS software subscription to pay each month. If it’s a “free placement program,” you’ll be required to return the equipment if you close your account when the lease expires.

Proprietary vs. Open-Source POS Hardware

Proprietary POS hardware works only with the system you’re purchasing it for, so it’ll be unusable if you switch systems. Because the hardware is system-specific, you can’t use the hardware if you want to switch to a new system.

Open-source POS hardware can be used with multiple POS systems. If you switch to new POS software that supports open-source hardware, you might be able to continue using the equipment you already own. It’s usually available from the POS company and multiple third-party vendors, enabling you to do some comparison shopping. Open-source hardware offers a little more flexibility to users, especially to ones who are familiar with the technicalities involved.

Credit Card Terminal or Card Reader

Most of the time, you’ll buy the credit card terminal or mobile reader from your payment processing company. However, sometimes you must purchase it from the POS company. Whether you buy it from the processor or POS company, you want it to be EMV-certified so you can accept chip cards at your point of sale. You also want it to have NFC capabilities so you can accept contactless payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. For companies that don’t accept in-person payments, you can get by without purchasing a card reader, but you’ll still need a payment gateway so customers can complete transactions.

Best POS Software Systems for Small Businesses

In addition to offering comprehensive features and reliable support, the best POS providers give you the most flexibility in contractual terms and setup configuration. They don’t lock you in with contracts, leases or proprietary hardware. That means you can move on to another system if you determine the current one is not meeting your needs.

The best POS software also integrates with multiple payment processors and various business apps, allowing you to add more features or connect with other systems you already use. Many also have an open API so you can build custom integrations if needed.

Look for POS software that is scalable with your business – whether that means adding more users, more devices or registers, or even a new location – allowing you to manage multiple outlets from a single account.

POS System FAQs

A point-of-sale, or POS, system is a combination of hardware and software designed to ring up sales and process payments. Retailers, restaurant owners and online merchants are common consumers of POS systems. POS systems serve businesses of all sizes, from one-person shops to large chains.

Depending on your business’s needs, your POS hardware may include a cash drawer, credit card reader, receipt printer and/or barcode scanner. On the software front, the POS performs a multitude of tasks, such as ringing up sales, processing payments, managing orders and promoting customer loyalty. The POS software should integrate with your business’s existing items.

There are both server- and cloud-based POS systems. Cloud versions are more popular because they are cheaper, are easier to use and require no maintenance on the business owner’s part. They also provide full access to the system wherever you have an internet connection available, making them ideal for management.

The types of businesses that use a POS system are retailers, restaurants and just about any merchant that makes sales. A street vendor or food truck can use a POS system to accept orders and payments in the same way that an online store or a local merchant can use a POS system to ring up sales.

The three main types of POS systems are cloud-based, on-premises and hybrid systems. The right type for you depends on your business’s needs.

  • Cloud-based POS: This is the most common type of POS system on the market and tends to be the cheapest. With a cloud-based POS, all the software is online. You don’t need to set up a local server to host your data; the POS provider takes care of that, along with all software updates. The one potential downside is the software’s reliance on consistent internet access and a strong connection.
  • On-premises POS: With an on-premises POS system, the software is installed on your server instead of hosted in the cloud. That eliminates the need to access the internet to ring up sales, but you have to maintain your own server. A server-based POS system tends to be pricier than a cloud-based POS system, partly because of the extra IT hardware and support you may need to maintain the system.
  • Hybrid POS: A hybrid POS system gives you the best of both worlds: the convenience of a cloud POS with the reliability of a server-based system. With this type of POS, the system runs on your local server and backs up to the cloud. If you need to access your sales data on the go, it’ll be in the cloud. If your internet is down, you won’t have to worry about disruptions to your sales process. A hybrid solution isn’t as easy to set up as a cloud-based one, and it may require extra IT costs.

The big difference between a POS and mPOS (mobile POS) is the ability to take the hardware on the go. With a POS system, the hardware is fixed within a restaurant or store; you can’t ring someone up as they walk through the store or bring the digital menu to their table. You can do that with an mPOS system since the terminal is portable. An mPOS system is ideal for business owners who have multiple locations, as they can conveniently take their POS system with them. Keep in mind that mPOS and POS systems use the same software, so you can accept and process payments, track inventory, and run reports with both systems.

A POS system can help restaurants with staffing issues in multiple ways:

  • Automation: There are built-in tools that automate a lot of the functions that drag restaurants down, like staff shortages, inventory management, reservations, payments and payroll.
  • Accuracy: POS systems reduce the chances of errors happening with orders, and that means staff won’t have to waste time fixing mistakes.
  • Better customer service: POS systems provide detailed information for orders, which gives staff more time to focus on customer service.
  • Data: By looking at past data on customer behavior and sales trends, restaurant owners can make better decisions to improve restaurant efficiency in the future.

Supply and demand influence dynamic pricing. Whether it’s purchase patterns, increased demand, or seasonal increases or decreases, dynamic pricing can be a way to maximize profits. With the tools built into POS systems, you can determine the right times to drop and increase prices.

What to Expect in 2024

In recent years, the POS market has made great strides in features and technology. That will not change in 2024 as POS systems evolve. Here are a few things to expect in the year ahead:

  • E-commerce features: In 2021, global e-commerce sales exceeded $5 trillion. According to Statista, this figure is projected to exceed $8 trillion by 2026. Recognizing this, POS vendors have stepped up to offer more e-commerce tools in their services, and we’re sure to see more of that in 2024.
  • Artificial intelligence: Over the past year, AI products designed for consumers have become widespread. In the realm of POS, predictive AI can carry out tasks like identifying potentially dubious transactions and suggesting products for inventory.
  • Social media sales: In addition to the increasing demand for e-commerce services, selling on social media is a growing trend that POS providers will continue supporting in 2024. Many POS systems allow merchants to easily upload products on social media and SEO tools to boost online sales. More tools and features for e-commerce and social media selling will likely appear this year.
  • Self-service capabilities: Self-serve kiosks have been available in the past, but now they are a POS staple. Expect more businesses to allow customers to place orders and make payments on their own with self-service kiosks. Many POS software vendors are offering kiosk hardware as well as developing features that will turn tablets and mobile devices into self-serve ordering kiosks.
  • Mobile POS: Mobile POS systems should also grow in popularity in 2024. These systems enable merchants and restaurants to take digital menus and cash registers where the customers are. That means shorter lines and quicker table turnover.
  • Automation: Labor shortages afflicted many small businesses in 2023, and we expect that will continue throughout 2024. This underscores the importance of including more features that help business owners automate tedious tasks.
  • Loyalty: Merchants and restaurant owners can also expect more services around loyalty programs and customer retention this year. To maintain a dedicated customer base, it is essential to recognize and reward your most loyal customers. Utilizing a POS system with built-in loyalty software can help you achieve this.

The best POS systems can collect data on your customers’ shopping and dining habits, allowing you to design loyalty and rewards programs tailored to their preferences. You can personalize rewards based on the frequency of their visits to your store and the items or services they frequently purchase. With competition fierce amid a down economy, anything that can boost customer loyalty will be welcome in 2024.

The technology industry is always evolving to meet the needs and expectations of consumers, and POS systems are no exception. These are just a few examples of how POS systems will evolve in the coming years.

Quinn Springett Headshot
Quinn Springett
Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Quinn is a versatile, multi-faceted writer with a background and professional knowledge base that spans many industries. With a unique and educated perspective, Quinn captivates readers with his engaging and insightful narratives that resonate across various disciplines.
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