If your current point-of-sale system is barely cutting it, now is a good time to upgrade. The newest technologies make point-of-sale solutions more affordable, more convenient and easier to use. Mobile and Wi-Fi options are becoming more readily available at all price points. Some point-of-sale companies even offer free POS software and hardware with a payment processing agreement. You can find solutions suitable for all sales needs, from small, seasonal art fair booths to 24-hour multi-lane, multi-location grocery stores.
For the purpose of this review we looked for POS services that offer affordable, all-in-one solutions. These plug-and-play solutions come with basic POS hardware and software with the option of adding additional services or hardware if needed. Most also offer compatible payment processing services. Additionally, some companies offer other types of POS packages, such as those for salons, spas, grocery stores, bars or quick-service restaurants. Full-service POS companies will help you build a custom system to suit your specific needs. While many offer iPad POS options, we cover it lightly in this comparison. If you are looking for an iPad or Android option, visit our iPad POS reviews or Android POS reviews for more detailed information.
To help you determine the best POS solution for your business, please check out our reviews and articles about POS systems. For an all-in-one solution that works seamlessly with QuickBooks and Sage accounting software, see AccuPOS. To learn more about the best POS provider we found for the lowest upfront price, see Harbortouch. To learn more about point-of-sale solutions, see our articles on POS systems.
When considering a new POS system, you will want to first think about the nature of your business and the features you require. Processing payments is just one feature offered. Point-of-sale systems also track sales, manage inventory, run reports and perform marketing tasks. Restaurant systems can print kitchen orders, customize orders, monitor bar tabs and manage customer loyalty programs. We considered a long list of POS services to determine which companies can provide affordable all-in-one solutions as well as mobile and Wi-Fi options.
We also evaluated their customer support services. Will they answer your phone call after hours if you need assistance? Will they train your wait staff on how to use the software? If you experience a hardware failure, will they ship new parts to you overnight? Quite often, partnering with a POS service is a long-term relationship, so we looked for services that can provide ongoing support.
Here are the things we considered while evaluating POS systems:
Full Systems & Hardware
A large variety of point-of-sale hardware is available online. We looked for POS companies that at least offer touchscreen systems, which is what many restaurants now use. We also looked at whether they provide a range of full-system options and whether they provide popular peripherals such as age verifiers, customer displays and PIN pads. Some POS companies offer hardware in bundled versions, others piece by piece.
Keeping your POS terminal running smoothly is critical. Good customer support can often be a decisive factor in selecting a point-of-sale provider. Frequently, service plans require a monthly or yearly support fee, but it is worth it for 24/7 support and conveniences such as overnight delivery of replacement parts. We contacted the POS providers we reviewed to ask what support services they offer clients after purchase. We looked for after-hours telephone support, installation assistance, training and remote support to determine which point–of-sale company offers the best post-sales support.
Payment processing services should be able to process all types of payments. Some POS systems are available free with a credit card processing agreement, while others allow you to choose your processor but charge for the systems. If you choose the free system in your processing agreement, you will need to carefully consider the terms of the contract to see if they are agreeable and that the duration of the contract matches up with your business plan (contracts may last from three to five years). The best payment processors offer options for mobile processing as well as the ability to process other types of payments, including EBT and patron mobile phone payments.
For the most part, POS resellers offer popular point-of-sale software such as QuickBooks POS, Cash Register Express, Restaurant Pro Express and Aldelo. However, a few offer proprietary POS software such as Harbortouch. We looked at the quality of the software each service sells. What your system can do is often POS software dependent. If you need table assignments in your restaurant or inventory reports for your retail store, for instance, you will need to obtain software and associated POS hardware that can do those tasks for you.
A new POS system with efficient software increases customer confidence and revenue. Customers want to see technologically advanced systems, and they enjoy a speedy, accurate checkout. If you are using a clunky, dated cash register or if your company is just starting out, take the time to find the right POS system for your business. It will speed up your checkouts, streamline your accounting and keep your customers satisfied.