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7 Best Retail POS Systems In 2024

These popular POS systems for retail offer inventory management, loyalty features, and even eCommerce options.

    Nicolette Kier
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Matt Sherman

    Matt Sherman

    Lead Staff Writer

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

The best POS systems for retail allow business owners to accept payments, sell online, manage inventory, start marketing campaigns, onboard employees, and get financial reports. We compared several of the best POS systems for small businesses based on pricing, ease of use, retail POS features, and software contract terms to help you find the best retail POS system for your business.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For

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  • Best low-cost option
  • $0-$89+/location/month
  • Monthly contracts, no termination fee
  • Best low-cost option
  • $0-$89+/location/month
  • Monthly contracts, no termination fee

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  • Best for high-risk businesses
  • $59-$69+/month
  • Monthly contracts, no termination fee
  • Best for high-risk businesses
  • $59-$69+/month
  • Monthly contracts, no termination fee

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  • Best for multichannel and international sales
  • $29-$399+/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts, no termination fee
  • Best for multichannel and international sales
  • $29-$399+/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts, no termination fee

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  • Most customizable POS software, hardware choices, and contract options
  • $14.95-$64.90/month or custom pricing
  • Custom merchant agreements
  • Most customizable POS software, hardware choices, and contract options
  • $14.95-$64.90/month or custom pricing
  • Custom merchant agreements

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  • Best for B2B/B2G and custom orders
  • $0
  • Monthly contracts, no early termination fee
  • Best for B2B/B2G and custom orders
  • $0
  • Monthly contracts, no early termination fee

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  • Best inventory management
  • $109-$289+/month
  • Monthly/custom contracts, early termination fee
  • Best inventory management
  • $109-$289+/month
  • Monthly/custom contracts, early termination fee

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  • Best for micro-businesses on the go
  • $0
  • Monthly contracts, no termination fee
  • Best for micro-businesses on the go
  • $0
  • Monthly contracts, no termination fee

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Why You Can Trust Merchant Maverick

To find the best POS system for retail businesses, we at Merchant Maverick individually reviewed 17 retail-specific POS systems with a 62-point rubric in five categories: pricing, ease of use, features, customer service, and user reviews. All ratings are determined according to our strict editorial guidelines.

7 Best POS Systems For Retail Businesses

Retail POS System Comparison

POS PricingPayment ProcessingHardware CostFree Trial
Square For Retail$0-$89+/month2.5%-2.9%$59-$1,959
KORONA POS$59-$69+/monthVariesVaries
Shopify POS$29-$399+/month2.4%-2.9%$49-$459
Clover POS$49.95-$84.95+/monthVaries$49-$1,799
Helcim POS$0Custom$99-$329
Lightspeed Retail$109-$289+/month2.6%-2.9%$299-$329+
PayPal Zettle$02.29%-2.99%$29-$239

Square For Retail: Best Low-Cost Option

Square For Retail

Total Rating 4.7

Ease Of Use5.0


Customer Service4.8

User Reviews4.7





Equipment Cost


Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.


  • Free in-app social media selling capabilities
  • Free online selling for pickup or delivery
  • Affordable POS hardware
  • Free virtual terminal, invoice, and subscription payments


  • Occasional fund holds
  • Square For Retail not currently available on Android smartphones

Why We Picked Square For Retail As The Best Low-Cost Option

Square Terminal handheld POS system, Square Register, and Square iPad stand.

Square Terminal handheld POS system, Square Register, and Square iPad stand. (Source: Square)

We believe Square is an excellent low-cost POS system because the company offers free and affordable in-person POS software, a free eCommerce store builder, and affordable POS hardware. Square scores a 4.8/5 feature score, the highest out of all the free and lower-cost POS systems, which makes Square a strong option for most retail businesses on a budget.

Related: Read more on all our best free POS systems.


Square For Retail Plans Price  When To Use
Free Plan $0/month (2.6% + $0.10 processing fees) You have a retail store with basic inventory and reporting needs
Pro Plan $89/month (2.5% + $0.10 processing fees) You have a small to mid-sized retail establishment with advanced back-end needs
Premium Plan Custom pricing (2.5% + $0.10 processing fees) You sell more than $250,000 a year

Other Square POS costs include:

  • POS Hardware: Ranges from $59 (Square card reader) to $1,959 (Square register kit)
  • Payment Processing: 2.5%-2.6% for in-person transactions; 2.9% + $0.30 for online transactions
  • Additional Registers: $0/device on free plan; $40/device/month on paid plan
  • Additional Locations: $0/location on free plan; $89/month/location on paid plan

Square earns a 4.2/5 pricing score, mostly losing points because you are required to use Square as a payment processor. However, Square’s payment processing rates are pretty standard and you get a discounted rate on higher-level plans.

Retailers may also want to consider these popular Square add-ons:

  • Square Loyalty: $15+/month
  • Square Payroll: $35+/month
  • Square Marketing: $15+/month
  • Square Invoices Plus: $20/month
  • Square Online (Paid Version): $29/month Plus plan; $79/month Premium plan

Related: Read our Square Online review.

Retail POS Features

Square’s free retail POS features include:

  • Mobile POS app for selling on the go
  • Free Square online store builder
  • Free employee time clock, scheduling, and reporting (up to five team members)
  • Unlimited number of POS registers on the free plan
  • TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook shoppable posts
  • Free invoicing and online appointment setting
  • No monthly fee for Square physical and eGift card sales

Paid plans offer more inventory features including connecting vendors to products in your catalog, making reordering items easier. You can also manage inventory and employees in multiple locations on the Square Plus plan.

Related: Compare Square with our other choices for the best thrift store POS system.

Who Should Use Square POS

  • Retailers looking for free or low-cost POS software
  • Businesses looking for a line of affordable POS hardware
  • Retail businesses that want to sell online or on social media for free

Get Started With Square For Retail

Read our in-depth review

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KORONA POS: Best For High-Risk Businesses

Total Rating 4.4

Ease Of Use4.1


Customer Service5.0

User Reviews4.4





Equipment Cost

Contact for quote


  • Compatible with high-risk payment processors
  • Lots of POS hardware compatibility
  • Several loss prevention features
  • Equipped for regulated item sales


  • No built-in online sales features
  • POS integration tokens are expensive
  • Reports are difficult to navigate

Why We Picked KORONA For High-Risk Businesses

KORONA POS system hardware

KORONA POS terminal, cash drawer, credit card terminal, and receipt printer.

We believe that KORONA is a great fit for high-risk businesses such as cannabis shops and liquor stores because the software integrates with high-risk payment processors, offers strong loss-prevention features to reduce customer and internal theft, built-in ID verification, and has excellent inventory management features for its price point. We also appreciate that KORONA offers an unlimited free trial and integrates with any POS hardware, making KORONA an even more affordable POS system.

Related: Read up on all our best liquor store POS systems.


KORONA POS Plans Price  When To Use
KORONA POS Core $59/month Basic business operations
KORONA POS Retail $69/month Advanced inventory needs

KORONA earned a 4.9/5 pricing score because the company offers an unlimited free trial, affordable monthly plans, and compatibility with any POS hardware provider and payment processor.

Optional KORONA add-ons include:

  • Plus: $20/month/terminal; includes advanced inventory management features like order level optimization and the ability to create different product pricing for each location
  • Invoicing: $10/terminal/month; includes features like quotes, rentals, and invoicing
  • Ticketing: $50/month/gate; includes features like ticket tiers and printing, customer management, and entry gate management
  • Franchise: $30/month/franchise; includes features like automated royalty payments and consolidated inventory management
  • Integration: $45/month/integration via KORONA’s open API

Self-serve kiosk hardware and software require a custom quote.

You’ll get a custom payment processing fee and POS hardware pricing from your chosen third-party payment processor and POS hardware provider.

Retail POS Features

While KORONA earned a 3.7/5 in features overall, the software ranks very highly for register features and store management features, which is why we recommend KORONA POS for businesses selling mostly in person.

KORONA’s best features include:

  • Integration with any payment processor
  • Software works with most POS hardware available
  • Strong cash drawer security and reporting
  • Require manager approval for voids, price changes, returns, and inventory changes
  • Create manager override cards and user codes
  • Shrinkage reports help detect internal employee theft
  • Mandatory ID verification and ID scanners for regulated items
  • RFID tagging integration so businesses will be alerted if a customer tries to steal something
  • Self-checkout kiosk hardware that has built-in theft prevention
  • Integrations with marketing software for regulated industries (alcohol, vape shops, etc.)

The software includes advanced inventory management for its price point, including price and shelf labels, barcode generation, automated product reordering, and inventory counts.

The KORONA Plus add-on offers inventory performance reports, multi-store management, and order level optimization, among other useful inventory management and reporting features.

Related: Compare KORONA POS with our other choices for the best convenience store POS systems.

Who Should Use KORONA POS

  • Retailers in high-risk industries
  • In-person businesses looking for good loss-prevention features
  • Store owners looking for affordable inventory management
  • Businesses that want to choose their POS hardware and payment processor

Get Started With KORONA POS

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Shopify POS: Best For Multichannel & International Sales

Total Rating 4.3

Ease Of Use4.9


Customer Service4.8

User Reviews4.4


Starts at $29/month



Equipment Cost



  • Strong retail-centric features
  • Mobile app works on iOS and Android
  • Huge app store for add-ons
  • Scalable POS option


  • No offline payment processing
  • Potential for transaction fees
  • Some features cost extra

Why We Picked Shopify For Multichannel & International Sales

Shopify POS order for in-store pickup

Shopify POS order for in-store pickup. (Source: Shopify)

We believe Shopify is one of the best POS systems with eCommerce for retailers because the software has the highest-rated multichannel sales features. Shopify's multichannel sales features include the best online store builder available, social media and online marketplace integrations, international sales capabilities, buy online for in-store pickup and returns, and strong inventory management across all sales channels.

We also appreciate Shopify's low-cost card readers and that Shopify is available as an iOS and Android POS system.

Related: Read our Shopify eCommerce review.


Shopify POS Plans Price  When To Use
Basic $39/month ($29/month billed annually) If you have a growing eCommerce business with occasional in-person sales
Shopify $105/month ($79/month billed annually) If you want additional reporting and reduced payment processing fees
Advanced $399/month ($299/month billed annually) If you want advanced reporting and additional discounts on processing fees
Shopify Plus $2,000+/month If your high-volume or large business needs an enterprise-level solution

The pricing above is for Shopify eCommerce plans, which include the free Shopify POS Lite.

Additional Shopify fees include:

  • Payment Processing: 2.4%-2.6% + $0.10 for in-person transactions; 2.5%-2.9% + $0.30 for online transactions
  • POS Hardware: Ranging from $49 (Shopify card reader) to $459 (Shopify retail kit)
  • Shopify POS Pro: $89/location/month
  • Transaction Fee: 0.6%-2%

The optional Shopify POS Pro plan offers more inventory and employee management features, and the transaction fee only applies to retailers that use a payment processor other than Shopify Payments.

Expert Tip: Unless you get a great payment processing rate from a third-party payment processor or have a high-risk business that does not qualify for Shopify Payments, stick to Shopify’s payment processor to avoid transaction fees.

Retail POS Features

Shopify includes these best omnichannel sales features:

  • Buy online for in-store pickup, local delivery, or ship-to-customer
  • Online store using beautiful Shopify store builder
  • In-app Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, and WhatsApp sales (so you can sell directly within static and video posts)
  • Etsy, eBay, and Amazon marketplace sales
  • Dropshipping and wholesale purchasing

In-store features include accepting deposits and partial payments, putting items on layaway, scheduling discounts and coupons, and accepting gift cards and custom payment types.

Shopify’s new Shopify Markets tool allows international business owners to:

  • Automatically translate their store into multiple languages
  • Accept local currency types
  • Create shipping settings for different geographical areas
  • Limit content and product offerings by region
  • Manage duties and taxes

Some of Shopify’s best features come from 8,000+ Shopify add-on apps available.

Related: Compare Shopify with our other best POS systems for a clothing store.

Who Should Use Shopify

  • Retail businesses that want to sell on a custom website and in-person
  • Retailers that sell locally and internationally
  • Businesses that want to sell on online marketplaces and social media

Get Started With Shopify POS

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Clover POS: Most Customizable All-In-One POS

Total Rating 4.3

Ease Of Use4.8


Customer Service4.4

User Reviews4.1


Starts at $0/month


Depends on merchant services provider

Equipment Cost

$49-$1,799 per device


  • Several payment processors to choose from with no added fee
  • Customizable feature set
  • Several POS register and accessory options to choose from
  • Quick and easy setup


  • Expensive startup costs
  • Potential for scams from Clover resellers
  • Average eCommerce features

Why We Picked Clover As The Most Customizable All-In-One POS

Clover countertop POS system, handheld POS system, barcode scanner, cash drawer, and card reader

Clover countertop POS system, handheld POS system, barcode scanner, cash drawer, and card reader.

We appreciate that Clover is the only retail POS system provider on this list that allows you to choose your own payment processor without paying any additional transaction fees so you'll pay the least amount possible to accept payments. You also get to mix and match registers and accessories from Clover's proprietary line of POS hardware, choose between two retail POS software plans, and install any of the 450+ add-on apps from the Clover app market.

With all these customization options, you can choose the right software, hardware, and payment processing setup for your retail business.


Clover POS Plans Price  When To Use
Clover Payments $0/month If you only need to process payments and don’t need any POS hardware
Clover Essentials $14.95/month If you have a small retail/service-based business and don’t take returns
Clover Register $49.95/month If you have a small to mid-size retail/service-based business and need more POS features
Clover Counter Service Restaurant $54.95/month If you have a quick-serve restaurant, cafeteria, or mobile food service business
Clover Table Service Restaurant $84.95/month If you have a full-service restaurant or bar

Other Clover POS features include:

  • POS Hardware: Ranging from $599 (Clover Flex) to $1,799 (Clover Station Duo)
  • Payment Processing: Depends on payment processor
  • Clover Apps: $0-$400 per app

Read our Clover pricing guide for more information on how Clover software, hardware, and payment processing fees are connected.

Retail POS Features

Clover retail software itself is a pretty straightforward offering, with an online ordering page for pickup or delivery, in-store discounts and promotions, physical and eGift cards, and an offline payments mode so you can still check out customers even if your store’s Wi-Fi stops working.

Whatever advanced or specialized features you want will come in the form of a Clover app. There are 450+ apps available in Clover’s app store for any function, from accepting EBT payments (great for a grocery store POS system) to scanning IDs (great for a winery POS system) and more.

Clover is also special because you can get a merchant account with one of several Clover hardware/software resellers, meaning that you can find great payment processing fees and contract terms (so long as you get your Clover setup from one of these best Clover merchant account providers).

Who Should Use Clover POS

  • Retailers looking for a line of handheld and countertop POS hardware
  • Businesses looking for a reputable payment processing provider
  • Retail businesses looking for popular and niche add-on apps

Get Started With Clover POS

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Helcim POS: Best For B2B/B2G & Custom Orders

Total Rating 4.2

Ease Of Use4.8


Customer Service4.5

User Reviews4.0





Equipment Cost

$99 - $329


  • Free POS and online store builder
  • Custom quote/estimate/invoice builder
  • Excellent retail/service subscription manager
  • Works on all device types


  • No built-in loyalty program
  • Not many integrations

Why We Picked Helcim POS For B2B/B2G & Custom Orders

Helcim POS invoice creation for retail craft store B2B order

Helcim POS invoice creation for a retail craft store B2B order. (Source: Helcim)

We believe that Helcim's strong quote and invoicing features, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) customer management, lower payment processing fees on qualifying B2B/B2G orders, wholesaler account management, and direct-to-customer register features make Helcim a great option for B2B and custom order businesses.

We also appreciate Helcim's 4.1/5 price score which is due to the free POS software and online store builder, custom interchange-plus payment processing rates, and low-cost POS hardware.


Helcim POS Plans Price  When To Use
Free Plan $0 If you need free in-person POS software, an online store builder, subscription manager, and/or customer account manager

Helcim’s POS software is completely free to use. You only pay Helcim’s payment processing fees, which are transparent and fair.

Helcim’s free features and transparent interchange-plus payment processing make this POS provider one of the best credit card processing companies.

Retail POS Features

Helcim earns a perfect 5/5 score in invoicing features, which is great for creating custom orders and charging wholesale accounts. Helcim’s best invoicing features include:

  • Quote to invoice generation
  • Add line items and discounts to invoices
  • Accept invoice payments in person and through a virtual terminal
  • Set payment terms and accept deposits
  • Charge a card on file
  • Send B2B invoices to new and established corporate clients

You can generate a catalog of your brands and collections for B2B clients and end consumers. Customers can create online accounts and order single items or wholesale.

We also like Helcim’s AI-powered Level 2 and 3 transaction data capture (e.g. data like freight information, tax ID) to improve transaction security and decrease B2B/B2G payment processing fees from card-issuing banks.

Who Should Use Helcim POS

  • B2B/B2G businesses looking for lower payment processing fees
  • Businesses looking for strong invoicing and customer management software
  • Retailers that do not need several integrations or multi-location management
  • Businesses looking for affordable POS hardware

Get Started With Helcim POS

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Lightspeed Retail: Best Inventory Management

Lightspeed Retail

Total Rating 4.1

Ease Of Use4.4


Customer Service4.1

User Reviews4.0


$109-$289/month ($89-$239/month billed annually)


Monthly, annual, and custom

Equipment Cost



  • Excellent inventory management
  • Lots of third-party software apps available
  • B2B and B2C retail product sales
  • Integrated eCommerce


  • Advanced features cost extra
  • Must use Lightspeed Payments

Why We Picked Lightspeed Retail For The Best Inventory Management

Lightspeed Retail tablet POS, store management dashboard, and loyalty program points on smartphone

Lightspeed Retail tablet POS, store management dashboard, and loyalty program points on a smartphone. (Source: Lightspeed)

We believe that Lightspeed Retail is one of the best POS systems for retail inventory management because the inventory manager is highly customizable and easy to use. Department stores, wholesale businesses, and even stores that offer rental items can easily upload and categorize items. You can also create purchase orders and automatically complete them across multiple vendors, which will help midsize to large retailers save a lot of time on ordering.

Related: Learn where Lightspeed Retail ranks on our list of best garden center POS systems.


Lightspeed Retail Plans Price  When To Use
Basic Plan $109/month ($89/month billed annually) For single/multi-location retail business looking for strong inventory management and a customizable POS interface
Core Plan $179/month ($149/month billed annually) For single/multi-location retail businesses looking for eCommerce and accounting features
Plus Plan $289/month ($239/month billed annually) For single/multi-location retail businesses looking for a strong loyalty program and advanced business reporting

Additional Lightspeed Retail POS fees include:

  • POS Hardware: $299 for card reader; $329 for iPad; $199 for iPad stand
  • Payment Processing: 2.6% + $0.10 for in-person transactions; 2.9% + $0.30 for online transactions
  • Additional Registers: $59/register/month
  • Additional Locations: $69-$269/location/month
  • Lightspeed Add-Ons: Varies

We rated Lightspeed a 3.7/5 price score. It earned points because Lightspeed is a low-cost iPad POS hardware and offers industry-standard payment processing, but lost points because of an early termination fee and some undisclosed fees.

Retail POS Features

Lightspeed has high scores in register, store management, and niche features, which include:

  • Layaway purchases
  • B2C and B2B online accounts with custom price lists
  • Create bulk and bundle discounts
  • Start returns and exchanges online, then ship or bring items back into the store
  • Inventory matrixing to sell in one or multiple departments
  • Low-stock alerts and set minimum inventory levels
  • Automated purchase orders via email or supplier website
  • Inquiry forms for custom quotes that can be converted into orders
  • Rental POS system app to manage rental windows, fees, etc.
  • Loyalty program (available on the Advanced plan or as a separate add-on)
  • Extensive customer and inventory reporting

Multi-location businesses will especially appreciate these special Lightspeed features:

  • Stock transfers across locations
  • Pricing modifications that are dependent on location
  • Master inventory, purchase order, and item performance dashboard
  • Lightspeed Loyalty program cross-location sync so customers can earn points no matter their location
  • Buy online, pick up in any store

Related: Read our Lightspeed eCom review.

Who Should Use Lightspeed Retail

  • Retailers that need strong inventory management and reporting features
  • Businesses that sell B2B and B2C
  • Retail businesses with niche needs (rentals, appointments, etc.)

Get Started With Lightspeed Retail

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

PayPal Zettle: Best For Mobile Micro-Businesses

PayPal Zettle

Visit Site


No monthly fee



Equipment Cost

$29 for your first card reader


  • Lower payment processing rates for small ticket sales
  • Lower payment processing on QR code sales
  • Affordable card readers
  • Connects with other PayPal business tools


  • Basic inventory management
  • No native online store builder
  • Fund holds

Why We Picked PayPal Zettle For Mobile Micro-Businesses

PayPal Zettle terminal and receipt printer

PayPal Zettle terminal with a built-in receipt printer. (Source: PayPal)

We like that PayPal offers lower in-person payment processing fees than competitors like Square for all businesses. For small-ticket businesses like small jewelry businesses, PayPal offers Dynamic Micropayments, a payment processing program that automatically charges the lowest payment processing fee available for very small orders. Combined with PayPal's low-cost mobile card readers and built-in inventory management, PayPal is a great deal for micro-businesses on the go.

Related: Compare Square vs PayPal to help decide which free POS system is right for your business.


PayPal Zettle Plans Price  When To Use
Free Plan $0/month If you have basic retail or restaurant POS needs

PayPal’s only other mobile POS costs are:

  • Payment Processing: 2.29% + $0.09 per in-person transaction; 2.99%-3.49% + $0.49 per online transaction
  • POS Hardware: $29-$79 for basic card reader; $199-$239 for handheld PayPal Zettle terminal

Related: Read up on the best mobile POS systems.

Retail POS Features

The best PayPal Zettle retail features include:

  • Dynamic micropayments program for automated lower payment processing rates
  • QR code payments for easy on-the-go payments
  • Tap-to-pay contactless payments on iPhone and Android devices
  • Print and email receipts
  • Built-in inventory management with barcodes
  • Apply item discounts
  • Generate business reports

PayPal Zettle also connects to the company’s suite of products including integrations with eCommerce store builders and invoicing.

Who Should Use PayPal Zettle

  • Businesses selling small-ticket items
  • Retailers who want to work with PayPal’s other business tools
  • Mobile businesses looking for an affordable card reader

Get Started With PayPal Zettle

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Retail POS Review Methodology

Merchant Maverick has been researching and reviewing POS providers since 2012. Our writers have tested over 100 different point of sale systems, evaluating pricing, features, ease of use, customer service, and user reviewers. Read more about how we rate POS providers.

Weighted Rating Breakdown

Pricing 40%
Features 30%
Ease Of Use 15%
Customer Service 10%
User Reviews 5%

When comparing different POS software systems, we consider many data points, including relative pricing, the depth of niche features offered, the price of hardware, and any associated payment processing fees. Our lists of the best providers include only apps we’ve deemed worthwhile from multiple vantage points. The POS vendors we pick share qualities such as widespread availability, accessibility, user-friendliness, and reasonable pricing. We also look carefully at niche features, such as check-splitting, inventory management, eCommerce, loyalty programs, gift cards, and more.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure the providers included meet our internal standards for quality and reputation.


Vendors evaluated


Attributes assessed per vendor


Features weighed


Combined years of experience

What Is A Retail POS System?

A retail POS system is software that, combined with a credit card reader, allows you to take digital payment types at your retail store or on the go.

A POS for retail also helps business owners manage POS inventory, create customer profiles for targeted sales and coupons, and allows you to sell on your own website, on social media, and/or on marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy.

How To Choose A POS System For Retail

To choose a POS system for retail, consider your POS system cost, the features you need, and what to expect from your POS contract.

POS System Cost

Your retail POS system cost includes:

  • Software Fees: $0-$300/month on average for base POS software; additional registers, locations, and add-ons may increase your monthly pricing
  • Hardware Cost: $49-$599 for handheld card readers; $799-$1,959 for countertop POS devices
  • Payment Processing: Payment processing fees are per-transaction fees. If you have a smaller business, flat-rate payment processing of around 2.6% for in-store purchases and 2.9% for online purchases are good rates. If your business has larger sales volumes per month, interchange-plus payment processing is typically a better deal.

POS Features

Important POS features to look for include:

  • Inventory Management: Depending on your product offering, you may need only basic inventory management. However, if you have a large inventory or custom/complex products to sell, you’ll need more thorough inventory management features.
  • Online Ordering: Depending on what you’re selling, you may want to sell online for in-store pickup or delivery. Also, if you sell items like crafts or vintage items, you may want to sell on marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, or Amazon.
  • Store Management: Your store management features will vary depending on the number of staff you have, whether you need theft-prevention measures, and whether you have any niche needs such as appointment management or invoicing.
  • Customer Management: Most POS systems allow you to store customer data to use for future marketing efforts. However, you may need extra customer management features if you accept custom orders, work with businesses, or regularly invoice customers.
  • Marketing: Key marketing features include a customer loyalty program, email marketing, and discount sales. These marketing features may not be useful for your business type, but you should consider them when developing a plan to gain and retain customers.
  • Hardware Options: Depending on what you sell, you may need a POS system that’s compatible with a barcode scanner, weight scale, security cameras, an ID scanner, or another hardware accessory. If you want to use your own payment processor, your POS system must be compatible with external card readers.

POS Contract

When looking at your POS contract, consider:

  • Free Trial: Get a free trial of your POS software whenever possible. If that’s not an option, then make use of demos and software walkthroughs from customer representatives. Do not purchase POS software without seeing it in action first.
  • Contract Length: We generally recommend starting with a smaller contract length, just so you can easily switch to another POS provider with minimal financial consequences. However, if you’re set on your POS system and it’s cheaper to get a long-term plan, then go for it.
  • Hardware Leasing/Warranties: We recommend purchasing your POS hardware outright over leasing when possible. It’s typically more cost-effective in the long run. However, if you’re not sure whether you should purchase proprietary hardware from a provider like Clover, a rent-to-own agreement may be the right choice. Also, look out for hardware warranties.
  • Early Termination Fee: Many POS providers charge an early termination fee, and it often depends on the length of your software contract. This is another reason why we recommend starting with a short-term contract.

Related: Read more on how to choose a POS system.

FAQs: 7 Best Retail POS Systems In 2024

What POS system is easiest to use?

Clover and Square are the two easiest-to-use retail POS systems, but most tablet-based cloud POS apps are intuitive and easy to use.

Can you sell retail and wholesale at the same time?

You can sell retail and wholesale at the same time if you get POS software designed for both B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to customer) sales.

Lightspeed Retail, Helcim, and Revel Systems are POS systems equipped with wholesale POS capabilities.

What is a mobile POS system for retail?

A mobile POS system for retail combines cloud-based POS software with wireless card readers so you can check out customers and accept cards and contactless payments. Mobile POS systems offer a low-cost way for retail business owners to start taking payments.

Some of the best mobile POS systems include the Square contactless card reader, Shopify mobile card reader, and Clover Go card reader.

Do all POS systems charge per transaction?

Most POS systems charge by transaction. However, some POS systems, like Helcim, allow you to start a cash discount program to avoid per-transaction fees.

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Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Expert Contributor
Nicolette began writing on small business topics in 2020. After hundreds of hours researching, testing, and assisting small business owners with web building and point of sale software, she is now an expert on all things eCommerce and point of sale. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Nicolette Kier
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