5 Best Mobile POS Apps

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As modern technology increasingly allows people to conduct business from wherever they happen to be, more businesses are embracing mobile POS systems. Mobile point-of-sale is ideal for small businesses that take in-person credit card payments or other types of cashless payments (e.g., Apple Pay or PayPal), but who don’t necessarily operate out of a store or office every day. These cloud-based point of sale systems are affordable, convenient, and of course, mobile. However, with so many emerging mobile POS and mobile payments technologies it can be difficult to figure out which are best for merchants, and which come with a lot of hidden fees and strings attached.

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In this article, we’ll explore the top five mobile POS systems available to merchants today. Then, I’ll give you some brief advice on how to choose the best mobile POS for your business. This article will focus on low-cost, mobile-focused POS software to accept credit card payments on the go. If you have a larger budget and don’t mind the possibility of a bulkier system, check out our iPad POS software comparison chart as well. 

1. Square Payments

Square review

Square (see our review) is industry-leading in mobile POS for a reason. It offers inexpensive payment processing alongside a well-designed POS app and attractive hardware.

  • For iPhone, Android, and iPad
  • No contract or monthly fee
  • Free magstripe reader
  • Flat 2.75% fee for swiped card processing
  • Get headphone-jack EMV reader to accept chip cards and NFC payments (Apple Pay) for only $29, or contactless EMV reader for $49

Created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey in 2009, Square is certainly the biggest name in mobile POS, processing $50 billion in business transactions in 2016. Square also boasts one of the most feature-rich mobile POS apps, especially considering that it does not charge a monthly fee.

Square’s service selection

Some slick features you get with Square include an online store, invoicing, inventory management, and an offline mode to capture credit card information even when you don’t have internet access. Square merchants have the option to use Square as an iPad register at their brick-and-mortar store, as well as on-the-go with their mobile phone.

It is quick and easy to get started with Square, no matter how small your business is. This pocket-sized POS is perfect for small retail and food-service businesses, though you could also use it for professional services, home and repair services, salon services, and other low-risk, low-volume businesses.

Square is not really suitable for larger businesses, as its aggregate merchant account model does not allow for the level of stability and control high-volume businesses require — these businesses’ needs are better met by POS systems that use a “dedicated merchant account.” Many businesses, especially high-risk businesses, which process the occasional large transaction or a higher monthly volume have complained about funding holds and account freezes using Square. 

2. SumUp

SumUp (see our review)  is in the market to take on Square, and it’s making substantial waves. Users like the easy signup process, rates lower than Square’s, and that there are no monthly fees. The app is free to test out after sign up, so there’s no risk in giving it a spin.

  • $0 in monthly fees
  • A flat 2.65% per transaction
  • All-in-one contactless, chip, and magstripe reader
  • Quick and easy signup process

Overall, the features are similar to what Square offers. While Square has more of an omnicommerce focus, SumUp competes well with its standard mobile POS app. It’s not as powerful as a full-featured POS app, but it’s more than enough for most small businesses. For anyone who wants something similar to Square but doesn’t like Square for whatever reason, SumUp is worth a look.

3. Intuit GoPayment

Intuit Merchant Services QuickBooks Payments review logo

Intuit GoPayment (see our reviewis the mobile POS of choice for QuickBooks diehards. GoPayment syncs seamlessly with your QuickBooks bookkeeping software, as well as with any other QuickBooks solutions you use, e.g., Quickbooks Payments and QuickBooks Point of Sale.

  • For iPhone, Android, and iPad
  • No contract or monthly fee (unless you choose the paid plan)
  • Free chip card reader
  • Seamless QuickBooks integration
  • Free ACH processing for some online accounts

Besides its QuickBooks affiliation, GoPayment has a lot of other good things going for it. Uniquely among the mobile POS’s on our list, an Intuit GoPayment account comes with your own merchant account, which means more account stability and control and reduced risk of funding SNAFUs. Moreover, this mobile payment app offers advanced features that are on-par with Square’s — from invoicing and recurring billing to branded email and text message receipts and the ability to process cards from a web browser via a virtual terminal.

GoPayment provides reasonable credit card processing rates via a pay-as-you-go or paid monthly plan. The free pocket-sized EMV reader is pretty cool too.

4. PPH

  • For iPhone, Android, iPad, and Windows mobile devices
  • No contract or monthly fee
  • Free magstripe reader
  • EMV/NFC reader is $149 (with $100 rebate to your PayPal account after $3,000 processed within 3 months)
  • 2.7% per US card swipe

PayPal Here review: One of the top Square alternatives

As the mobile payment processing arm of PayPal, PayPal Here (PPH) (see our reviewprovides businesses with an easy on-the-go method of accepting payments. PPH is a good mobile pa

yments system/mobile POS for businesses who already have a PayPal business account, as it integrates effortlessly with other PayPal services. For example, you can get same-day funding to your PayPal account if you already have a PayPal merchant debit card. PayPal Here also lets you accept payments directly from customers’ PayPal accounts.

Did you know that PayPal integrates with Vend POS?

However, even if you don’t already use PayPal for your business, you might consider using PayPal Here to take debit, credit, NFC, and PayPal payments on your mobile phone. PPH has cheaper rates than Square, and features functions like invoicing, multi-user support, cash and check recording, and even QuickBooks integration. This is also one of the few mobile POS systems that works with Windows phones and tablets, if that’s important to you.

PPH is a solid POS option for small mobile businesses such as mall kiosks or coffee carts, and it could also be a good compliment to your regular POS for taking occasional mobile payments. For a more robust POS solution for your restaurant or retail store, PayPal partners with iPad point of sale solutions POS Lavu and Vend.

PayPal Here has the same aggregate merchant account model as Spark Pay and Square, though PayPal Here doesn’t have as many customer complaints about account issues as Square does (seeing a trend here?) and PayPal also offers a decent customer support experience for dealing with account issues, if they do arise.

Note that you don’t want to just sign up for PPH if you’re not actually going to use it (which is something you can kind of do with Square) — after a year of inactivity, PayPal will start charging you $3.99 a month until you cancel your account or start using the service again.

5. Spark Pay (Discontinued)

  • For iPhone, Android, and iPad
  • No contract or monthly fee (unless you choose a paid plan)
  • Free magstripe reader
  • Accept Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and EMV chip cards with $249 wired reader
  • Swiped card rates: 1.99% + $0.05 per swipe + $19/month or 2.65% + $0.05 + $0/month

spark-pay-logo-white

The Capital One-owned Spark Pay was both a mobile payments service and a mobile POS system offering basic register functionality. With Spark Pay, you also got some nice extras like customizable electronic receipts, inventory reporting, and barcode scanning with Stitch Labs integration (sold separately). As with Square, Spark Pay provided “register” functionality if you uses the app on the iPad vs. on your smartphone.

Also like Square, Spark Pay had an aggregate merchant account model, though this service didn’t have nearly as many customer complaints about account issues for higher-volume transactions as its competitor — and Spark Pay’s customer support was better, too.

Spark Pay’s paid plan gave higher-volume merchants a very reasonable swiped/dipped card transaction rate of 1.99% + $0.05. The paid plan was a better deal than the free plan for merchants processing more than $1,400/month.

One thing to note about Spark Pay is that the sign-up process was a little more rigorous than it is for some other mobile point of sales — Spark Pay ran credit checks on all applicants.

How to Find the Best Mobile POS

We hope you’ll look into these mobile POS systems and try out one or more of these services to find the best one for your business — all of these POS’s have free/pay-as-you-go options, so you could try out all if you’d like. If you’re not actually sure whether you should use a mobile POS like Square or a POS that uses a dedicated merchant account, you might want to first refer to our merchant account comparison chart. Or, if you are looking for more of an iPad/tablet POS rather than a smartphone POS like the ones on this list, you should check out some of the Top iPad POS Software Systems.

For further help choosing the right POS or mobile payment solution for your business, email us and we’ll be happy to help you find the best mobile POS with the lowest fees and the functions you need.

Square PaymentsShopify MobileSumUp PaymentsIntuit GoPaymentPayline Mobile
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Best POS AppBest Website ToolsBest Card ReaderBest QuickBooks SyncLowest Rates
Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson is an independent writer and editor who loves e-commerce, digital marketing, technology, and social media. Once upon a time, she earned a journalism degree, but she went on to discover that she could work from home, researching, editing, and writing about the things she found most interesting. When she's not tied to her laptop, Melissa can usually be found in the kitchen, reading a book, or doing something of the nerdy persuasion.
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