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7 Best Retail POS Systems To Buy In December 2022

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

    Nicolette Kier
  • UPDATED

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 system for retail is specific to each business owner. Top POS systems generally have strong inventory management, multiple sales channels, and customizable POS functions. Keep reading to find the best retail POS system for your business.

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  • Best inventory customization
  • $69+/ Month
  • Flat-rate processing at 2.6% + $0.10
  • Best inventory customization
  • $69+/ Month
  • Flat-rate processing at 2.6% + $0.10

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  • Best reporting features for midsize/larger business
  • $99+/ Month
  • Custom flat-rate processing
  • Best reporting features for midsize/larger business
  • $99+/ Month
  • Custom flat-rate processing

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  • Best for fast setup & customization
  • $14.95-$54.90/Month
  • Flat-rate processing at 2.3%-3.5% + $0.10
  • Best for fast setup & customization
  • $14.95-$54.90/Month
  • Flat-rate processing at 2.3%-3.5% + $0.10

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  • Best cost-effective all-in-one
  • $0+/ Month
  • Flat-rate processing at 2.5% or 2.6% + $0.10
  • Best cost-effective all-in-one
  • $0+/ Month
  • Flat-rate processing at 2.5% or 2.6% + $0.10

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  • Best for multichannel selling
  • $9+/ Month
  • Flat-rate processing at 2.4-2.7%
  • Best for multichannel selling
  • $9+/ Month
  • Flat-rate processing at 2.4-2.7%

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  • Best for midsize businesses
  • $69+/ Month
  • Flat-rate processing at 2.6% + $0.10 (with Lightspeed)
  • Best for midsize businesses
  • $69+/ Month
  • Flat-rate processing at 2.6% + $0.10 (with Lightspeed)

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  • Best for seasonal businesses
  • $59+/ Month
  • Integrates with many processors
  • Best for seasonal businesses
  • $59+/ Month
  • Integrates with many processors

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

The Best Retail POS Systems For Small Businesses

We chose the following retail POS systems because they are easy to use, have good inventory management features, and will give you insight into your performance with reporting features. They may also come with loyalty and marketing features, plus online and curbside pickup selling capabilities.

1. Lightspeed Retail: Best Inventory Management Features

Lightspeed Retail POS


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Pros

  • Deep inventory management
  • Advanced retail features
  • Integrated eCommerce

Cons

  • Advanced features cost extra
  • API access costs extra

Lightspeed Retail POS

Lightspeed Features

Lightspeed offers the following features for retailers:

  • Customizable inventory tagging
  • Inventory matrix
  • Item bundling and bulk breakdowns
  • Shipping tools (e.g., tracking code assignments)
  • Holds, layaways, and wishlists
  • Reusable gift cards/certificates
  • Customer loyalty programs and personalized promotions
  • Automated text and email campaigns
  • Easy returns and exchanges
  • Work order management
  • Purchase order management
  • Employee time clock, user permissions, and sales reports

Lightspeed Pricing

Monthly pricing starts at $69/month for basic POS functionality on one device, but features such as eCommerce, loyalty, analytics, and accounting software integration will cost you extra. You pay an extra $29/month for each additional device you install Lightspeed Retail on (each plan starts with one POS software license.)

Hardware Cost

Lightspeed Retail runs on iPads and desktop PCs. For hardware bundles or individual hardware such as scanners and printers, you can get a quote from Lightspeed or purchase what you need elsewhere.

Unlike Clover, your Lightspeed Retail POS software will work with any hardware.

Payment Processing

With Lightspeed Payments, Lightspeed Retail’s in-house payment processor, you will pay a processing fee of 2.6% plus a $0.10 flat fee per card-present transaction. That flat fee increases to $0.30 per card-not-present transaction.

Lightspeed Retail also integrates with third-party payment processors, such as FIS Worldpay and TSYS Merchant Solutions.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

You can cancel your monthly contract at any time without facing termination fees.

Where Lightspeed Retail Really Shines

Lightspeed Retail is known for its excellent inventory management and multichannel selling features, making it perfect for fast-growing retailers that need to track large inventories and sync their online and in-person sales.

Lightspeed also has some unique inventory features, and you can create purchase orders and complete them across multiple vendors. Lightspeed also has fairly advanced loyalty functionality, allowing you to store information on customers and offer specialized discounts.

Get Started With Lightspeed Retail POS

Read our in-depth review

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2. Revel Systems: Best Reporting Features

Revel POS Systems


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Pros

  • Extensive reporting functions
  • Powerful enough for multilocation retailers
  • Custom-built packages tailored to your business
  • Open API access

Cons

  • Long-term subscription requirements
  • Pricey for smaller businesses
  • Must use a minimum of two registers

Revel POS

Revel Features

Revel is equipped with the following robust feature set:

  • Offline payment mode
  • Online ordering through third-party integration
  • Intelligent reporting suite (on labor versus sales, employee activity, etc.)
  • Real-time inventory tracking, including a mass-entry inventory-style matrix
  • Purchase order creation and management
  • Cash management functions
  • Customizable physical gift cards
  • Customizable loyalty program
  • Personalized customer support
  • Real-time delivery tracking and text message updates
  • Open API (application program interface) access

Revel Pricing

If you agree to Revel’s three-year, two-terminal minimum requirements, you will pay $99/month/terminal, billed annually. With this deal, you also have to commit to Revel for your payment processing needs for three years.

Revel’s website does not list monthly fees, so you will need to call for a quote.

Hardware Cost

Revel works on iPads, which you can buy independently or from Revel. You’ll have to contact Revel for a quote on hardware like card readers, printers, and cash drawers.

Payment Processing

With Revel’s payment processing solution, Revel Advantage, you’ll pay a fee of 2.49% plus $0.15 per transaction. If you choose to work with a third-party payment processor (which you cannot do on the three-year plan), you will likely pay a higher monthly subscription fee.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Revel requires a three-year processing agreement and a two-terminal minimum if you want the most cost-effective pricing. It might be worth it to pay a higher monthly price in case you’re not sure whether Revel POS is right for you. You can switch to a long-term plan later on for lower fees.

Where Revel Really Shines

Revel can be customized to fit virtually any retail POS need, from kiosk shopping to delivery management to integrated eCommerce. With its advanced and flexible features, we often recommend Revel for very niche markets, including both as a golf course POS system and a garden center POS system.

Revel’s open API means this versatile system can also integrate with virtually any other business software you use. Midsize and larger retailers with multiple locations will find everything they need in a custom-built Revel solution.

Revel’s reporting suite is the real decision-making feature for retailers with several locations or complex inventory. It puts critical data on your sales, employees, customers, and inventory at your fingertips, so you can easily grow your customer base.

Get Started With Revel POS Systems

Read our in-depth review

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3. Clover: Best Setup Process

Clover POS


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Pros

  • Quick and easy setup
  • Sleek, purpose-built hardware
  • Customizable feature set

Cons

  • Expensive startup costs
  • High online payment processing fees
  • Potential for Clover scams

clover station with physical and digital gift card options

Clover Features

Clover is a solid and versatile all-in-one system that comes with everything you need to start selling within minutes, including:

  • Offline payments, so you can still check out customers even if your store’s Wi-Fi stops working
  • Item modifiers, groupings, and tracking
  • Employee clock-in/clock-out and hourly reports
  • Digital and physical customizable gift cards that can be accessed on mobile devices
  • Customizable loyalty program
  • Email and text promotional campaign setup
  • Online ordering for curbside pickup and delivery (starting at Clover Essentials plan)
  • Built-in item exchanges (starting at Clover Register plan)
  • Detailed customer history and spending habit reports
  • ID verification
  • App market with 450+ apps

Clover Pricing

If you decide to buy from Clover directly, you can purchase a Clover retail software plan for between $14.95/month and $54.90/month if you purchase your Clover hardware upfront.

If you decide to enroll in Clover’s “pay monthly” plan so that you can pay for your hardware over time, you’ll pay one monthly fee for both your hardware and software. That fee will range from $60/month to $175/month, depending on your hardware package.

Additional devices are $9.95/month/register if you have all your registers in one location. If, for example, you have two Clover Minis in two different stores, you’ll have to pay the full Register subscription cost for both Minis.

Hardware Cost

You may purchase your Clover system from Clover or one of several Clover resellers. If you purchase hardware from Clover, you’ll pay between $49 (Clover Go contactless card reader) and $1,799 (Clover Station Duo).

Clover POS software only works with Clover hardware.

Payment Processing

If you purchase your devices from Clover, you must use Fiserv as your payment processor. Fiserv charges the following payment processing fees:

  • Card-Present Transactions: 2.3% + $0.10 (Clover Register plan) and 2.6% + $0.10 (Clover Essentials plan)
  • Card-Not-Present Transactions: 3.5% + $0.10 (all plans)

Card-not-present transactions include online sales, phone orders, orders from third-party shopping platforms, manually-keyed-in card payments, and anything else that is not a chip/tap/swipe card payment, cash, or check.

If a huge chunk of your sales happens online, consider a different Clover reseller or a different POS provider altogether to avoid the relatively steep card-not-present payment processing fees.

If you purchase your device from a Clover reseller, your fees and fee payment structure will change. Large retailers may save on payment processing fees if they choose to work with a Clover-authorized reseller.

Read our Clover POS cost guide for an in-depth explanation of how Clover hardware and merchant services payments work.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Clover offers 36-month and 48-month contracts with early termination fees should you decide to cancel your contract early. There’s also nothing you can do with your Clover hardware if you decide to stop using Clover POS software since Clover hardware is proprietary. The company won’t fix hardware that you obtain from any source other than Clover.com.

If you work with a Clover reseller, you are subject to that reseller’s terms, so do your research before committing. Read your contract thoroughly and other customer reviews of your potential merchant service provider to avoid Clover scams.

You can also check out our article on the best Clover resellers for an idea of the most reputable places to get your Clover machine.

The bottom line is that no matter where you get your Clover hardware from, buying expensive proprietary hardware is a big commitment. So, make sure Clover is right for you before shelling out the money for the fancy POS hardware.

Where Clover Really Shines

While Clover systems aren’t cheap, the streamlined hardware, software, and payment processor setup are smooth enough to be worth the money for a lot of retailers. This is especially true if you have to train new people on the POS relatively often. Clover systems come with many POS features you want, such as built-in loyalty programs and bulk item importing, without having to pay extra.

The company also shines in its simple feature add-on process. Adding Clover-tested apps to your POS system is as easy as adding a new app to your phone. Simply download an app to add features such as employee payroll and customer feedback monitoring or to integrate with third-party software.

Get Started With Clover POS

Read our in-depth review

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4. Square For Retail: Best Free Option

Square For Retail


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

Pros

  • Free plan
  • Built-in text message marketing
  • Free online selling options

Cons

  • Occasional fund holds

Square For Retail POS

Square For Retail Features:

Square offers a variety of features for retailers on both free and paid plans, including:

  • Square online checkout links to sell online for free without a website
  • Free Square online store builder
  • Linking vendors to products in your item catalog
  • Purchase order management and low-stock alerts
  • Employee time clock, scheduling, and reporting
  • Advanced employee management suite (starting at Square for Retail Plus plan)
  • Multilocation inventory and employee management
  • Customizable invoices
  • Online appointment bookings
  • TikTok social media selling and Instagram shoppable posts
  • In-store and curbside pickup
  • Customer loyalty program and marketing suite (paid add-on)
  • Custom-printed gift cards

Square Pricing

Square has a free plan with enough POS features to get small business owners selling with no overhead. Square For Retail Plus costs $60/month/location.

This pricing structure is not the same as many other POS providers, which charge by the register, not by the location. Paying per location could help retailers with many registers keep costs down.

Hardware Cost

Square software works on phones and tablets. You get a free magstripe card reader to start, but you should purchase at least the $49 Square Contactless + Chip Reader so you can take chip cards and NFC-based payments such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. A full Square register bundle is $1,329.

Read our guide to Square POS hardware to make an informed POS hardware purchasing decision.

Other hardware, such as receipt printers, does not need to be purchased from Square. Just make sure that the hardware you buy is compatible with Square software.

Payment Processing

Square is incredibly affordable because the company makes its money on payment processing fees, which means you can only process payments via Square’s in-house payment processor.

Square charges a payment processing fee of 2.6% plus $0.10 per card-present transaction on the free plan. You’ll pay 2.5% plus $0.10 per transaction on the Plus plan. You are charged a 3.5% plus $0.15 fee for card-not-present transactions.

The fee for online transactions and invoices is 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Square subscriptions are month-to-month, and you can cancel your merchant account anytime without consequences.

If you damage your Square hardware within your hardware warranty period, even if you didn’t purchase the hardware directly from Square, the company will send you new equipment. Don’t forget to send old pieces back to Square within 14 days of getting your new hardware, or you will be charged for the new equipment.

Where Square For Retail Really Shines

Square is built for the retail startup with big dreams of selling offline and online and almost no capital to fund those dreams. The free POS software, online checkout links, store builder, social media selling suite, and magstripe reader (that you will hopefully upgrade from) eliminate just about all the POS-related financial hurdles new businesses face.

Small business owners will also appreciate the simple setup and inventory management process, as well as the marketing features in the Square Marketing add-on.

Get Started With Square For Retail

Read our in-depth review

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5. Shopify POS: Best For Online Selling Features

Shopify POS


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Pros

  • Strong retail-centric features
  • Integrated eCommerce
  • Huge app store for add-ons
  • Scalable POS option

Cons

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

Shopify POS

Shopify Features

Shopify, known for its multichannel selling capabilities, includes these features:

  • Split tenders in one transaction
  • Custom payment methods (personal checks, gold coins, IOUs, etc.)
  • Partial payments, deposits, and layaway
  • Refunds and store credit on gift cards
  • Buy online, pick up in-store
  • Local delivery and ship-to-customer
  • Dedicated online store (starting at Basic plan)
  • Social media selling (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, etc.)
  • Email and text marketing
  • Custom line items, so you can integrate specials/seasonal items into normal stock
  • Discounts by percentage or dollar amount
  • Multilocation inventory and employee management (paid add-on)
  • 4,200+ free and paid apps in the Shopify app store

Shopify Pricing

Shopify’s pricing plans range from $5/month to $299/month. You get 10% off if you pay for one year upfront and 20% if you pay for two years upfront.

For more retail features, such as store pickup and unlimited staff accounts, you need the $89/month/location Shopify Pro subscription, which is added to your monthly plan.

Your payment processing rate decreases on the higher-level plans. Businesses with larger transaction volumes should strongly consider upgrading to save money in the long run.

Read our guide to Shopify plans and pricing for an idea of what your business needs for fast growth.

Hardware Cost

The Shopify app itself runs on most phones and tablets.

The Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader, which is the bare minimum requirement for taking card and mobile phone payments, starts at $29. The most expensive hardware is the $569 Shopify Star® mPOP™ With Scanner, an all-in-one customizable retail hardware package.

Not sure what equipment your retail POS system needs? Read our post on Shopify hardware choices, which includes pricing and where to source your hardware.

Payment Processing

Shopify integrates with its own in-house payment processor, Shopify Payments. Retailers that use Shopify Payments do not need to pay transaction fees. In-person Shopify Payments processing fees are between 2.4% and 2.7% per transaction, while online payment fees are between 2.4% and 2.9%, plus a $0.30 flat fee. Percentage fees vary depending on your pricing plan.

If you prefer to use a different processor or do not qualify for Shopify’s in-house payment processor, you have several options, but you will have to pay transaction fees.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Most Shopify requirements surround payment processing. To use Shopify Payments, you must purchase a card reader directly from Shopify. To use a Shopify-approved third-party payment processor, you must use a card reader sold by that payment processor.

You are limited to Shopify Payments as a payment processor on the Shopify Lite plan.

Where Shopify Really Shines

Shopify is an excellent multichannel solution for retailers wanting to sell at one (or several) physical locations, on a website, on an individual seller platform such as Etsy or Amazon, and/or on social media. Customers have several ways to buy and receive their items, which they will appreciate.

If you find that Shopify’s built-in POS features do not provide all the functionalities your business needs, you can add free or paid apps from the huge Shopify app store to complete your POS system setup.

Get Started With Shopify POS

Read our in-depth review

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6. Vend: Best For Brick-And-Mortar Stores

Vend by Lightspeed


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Pros

  • Excellent loyalty package
  • User-friendly
  • Extensive inventory features

Cons

  • Can get expensive fast
  • No built-in eCommerce

vend POS hardware bundle

Vend Features

Vend’s standout features include:

  • Barcode creation, import, and scanner app
  • Price books by location, customer group, and/or block of time
  • Branded gift cards and loyalty cards
  • Customer-facing display option
  • Customer profile builds and behavior analytics
  • Purchase order creation and management
  • Automated stock reordering
  • Stock transfers
  • Centralized product bundling and separation
  • Demand forecasting, which is especially great for businesses with fluctuating monthly or seasonal sales
  • Split tenders
  • Returns and store credit
  • Automated discounts and promotions
  • eCommerce integrations
  • API access

Vend Pricing

Vend (acquired by Lightspeed in 2021) subscriptions range from $69/month to $199/month if you agree to annual billing and use Lightspeed Payments as your payment processor. These prices are for one register and one location.

Additional registers cost $69/month/register. Additional locations cost $119/month/location.

Hardware Cost

Vend works on pretty much any device that can use a Google Chrome browser. The software is also available as an iPad app. You can download the free Vend scanner app to scan products with your phone.

Other hardware can be purchased directly from Vend or sourced from other places.

Payment Processing

Vend integrates with Lightspeed’s payment processor, Lightspeed Payments. There are also several third-party payment processors you can use, such as Worldpay, TSYS, and PayPal.

With Lightspeed Payments, the payment processing fee is 2.6% plus a $0.10 flat fee per card-present transaction and 2.6% plus $0.30 per card-not-present transaction.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Be careful about adding registers and locations to your POS, or you could be paying a huge bill that you’re not prepared for.

Also, you’ll pay an extra $30/month if you don’t use Lightspeed Payments for payment processing.

Where Vend Really Shines

Vend is one of the top POS systems for midsize retailers who want to focus mainly on in-person selling. The software is easy to use, comes packed with inventory management features, and has a great loyalty program.

You also have API access on every monthly plan, so you can integrate your in-person POS with a website, add an employee time clock, and anything in between.

Get Started With Vend by Lightspeed

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

7. Hike: Best For Fluctuating Sales

Hike POS


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Pros

  • Easy to add and remove registers and locations
  • Transparent, affordable pricing
  • Can process payments in offline mode

Cons

  • Can sometimes be glitchy

Hike POS for retail

Hike Features

Hike offers a broad range of retail POS features, including:

  • Offline mode
  • Highly customizable loyalty program
  • Free Mailchimp email marketing integration (starting at Plus plan)
  • Targeted promotions
  • Lay-by and returns
  • Staff scheduling, user permissions, shift updates, and reporting
  • Comprehensive reporting dashboard that updates in real-time
  • Purchase order tracking
  • Multistore inventory transfers, tracking, and sales reports by location
  • Custom barcode creation for receipts
  • Product catalog with sorting features
  • Automated stock re-ordering
  • Custom payment types
  • Quotes (starting at Plus plan)
  • API access (starting at Plus plan)

Hike Pricing

Hike’s Essential plan starts at $59/month if billed annually and $69/month if billed monthly. Additional registers cost $39/month. With this plan, you can only have one location.

For multiple locations, you will have to upgrade to Hike’s Plus plan, which starts at $89/month (if billed annually.) Extra locations cost $99/month. Every new location adds on another register (e.g., if you have three locations, you automatically get three registers, but you can pay for more.)

Hardware Cost

Hike has dedicated apps for iPad and Android tablets. You can also run the POS software on a PC or Mac in a web browser. The company does not make its own hardware but has a list of compatible hardware for merchants.

Payment Processing

Hike integrates with a variety of payment processors, including PayPal, Westpac, Square, Tyro, and Worldpay.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

You can add or remove locations or registers as you need to. Just don’t forget to cancel any add-ons before you get charged for another month.

Where Hike Really Shines

Hike POS is extremely transparent about pricing, offering a breakdown of what you can expect to pay each month. You can also add or remove registers, locations, and users as needed with no fees or added difficulty.

This, as well as the impressive inventory and reporting features within Hike’s user dashboard, are what make Hike POS one of the top POS systems for businesses with fluctuating/seasonal inventory, employees, and sales.

Get Started With Hike POS

Read our in-depth review

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Which Retail POS Is Right For Your Business?

The best POS system for retail will not be the same for every business owner.

If you’re looking for the top POS systems for inventory management, Lightspeed and its secondary POS system, Vend, are excellent options.

The least expensive POS systems for retail are Square (free) and Shopify (starting at $9/month.) Both offer great online selling options, as well.

Clover POS is known for its simple system setup and modification. Hike is also a highly customizable POS option.

Finally, Revel POS is excellent for reporting and analytics, making it one of the best grocery POS options. Midsize and larger businesses looking to use available data to grow will highly appreciate how Revel compiles it into actionable reports.

Whatever POS system for retail you choose, make sure it fits your business size and budget. It should also allow room for your business to expand. Consider how many employees, how much stock, and how many sales channels you plan on having during your search.

If you need funding to start or grow your business, read our post on the best business loans for salons.

FAQs: Retail POS Systems

What is the all-around best point of sale system for retail?

In our assessment, one of the best POS systems for retail is Lightspeed Retail. This iPad POS system combines advanced retail features with affordable monthly pricing. Lightspeed includes built-in inventory management, reporting, marketing, loyalty, eCommerce, and more.

What POS system is easiest to use?

Most tablet-based cloud POS apps are intuitive and easy to use. The retail POS systems with the best ease of use include Clover and Square.

What point of sale systems have text marketing?

Square for Retail and Lightspeed Retail both have built-in text message marketing. Other top POS systems may not have text message marketing built-in but can integrate with third-party text marketing software. For example, Revel, Vend, Shopify, and Clover have text marketing software integrations.

What is the cheapest retail POS system?

Monthly software costs for a retail point of sale system can vary widely. Square starts at $0 and includes everything you need to set up your inventory and take a sale. We recommend purchasing the Square contactless + chip reader ($49) and avoiding the free magstripe reader, however.

What retail pos system is best for a new business?

If you are just starting out and have yet to establish a regular monthly volume, we recommend Square as the best retail pos system. Square doesn’t require credit checks or specific monthly volumes, so you can set up an account and start selling on the same day.

In Summary: The Best Retail POS Systems For Small Businesses

  1. Lightspeed Retail POS:
    • Best inventory customization
    • $69+/ Month
    • Flat-rate processing at 2.6% + $0.10
  2. Revel POS Systems:
    • Best reporting features for midsize/larger business
    • $99+/ Month
    • Custom flat-rate processing
  3. Clover POS:
    • Best for fast setup & customization
    • $14.95-$54.90/Month
    • Flat-rate processing at 2.3%-3.5% + $0.10
  4. Square For Retail:
    • Best cost-effective all-in-one
    • $0+/ Month
    • Flat-rate processing at 2.5% or 2.6% + $0.10
  5. Shopify POS:
    • Best for multichannel selling
    • $9+/ Month
    • Flat-rate processing at 2.4-2.7%
  6. Vend by Lightspeed:
    • Best for midsize businesses
    • $69+/ Month
    • Flat-rate processing at 2.6% + $0.10 (with Lightspeed)
  7. Hike POS:
    • Best for seasonal businesses
    • $59+/ Month
    • Integrates with many processors
Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Expert Analyst & Reviewer
As a small business owner, contributing writer Nicolette Kier has been sharing her knowledge on all things related to freelancing and eCommerce since 2019. She earned a BS in Physics and a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh.
Nicolette Kier
View Nicolette Kier's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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