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5 Best Cashless POS Systems For Small Business

These POS software systems allow your business to easily accept credit cards, QR codes, digital wallets, and other forms of cashless payment.

    Shannon Vissers
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Matt Sherman
  • REVIEWED BY

    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.
cashless stores

A cashless POS system is an ideal payment solution for almost any type of merchant. While entirely cashless stores—businesses that do not accept cash at all—still aren’t the norm in society, they are becoming more prevalent. Consumers are carrying less cash these days, and electronic payments are the new norm. Digital payments are faster and more convenient than cash transactions (among other benefits), and it’s important that your POS system can handle a variety of digital payment types, even if you also accept cash payments.

Whether you want to go fully cashless, or you just want to modernize your POS with the latest digital payment tech, a high-quality cashless POS system is key. In the broadest sense, any credit card machine can make a POS system cashless. But which of the best POS systems for small businesses take it to the next level and make it safe and easy to go cash-free? Keep reading to learn about the best cashless payment systems for small businesses.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Square POS

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  • Business type: Retail, restaurant, or service
  • $0+/month
  • 2.6% + $0.10 processing
  • Business type: Retail, restaurant, or service
  • $0+/month
  • 2.6% + $0.10 processing

Visit Site

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Clover Mini

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  • Business type: Retail, restaurant, or service
  • $0+/month
  • 2.3-2.6% + $0.10 processing
  • Business type: Retail, restaurant, or service
  • $0+/month
  • 2.3-2.6% + $0.10 processing

Visit Site

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Shopify POS

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  • Business type: Retail
  • $5+/month
  • 2.4-2.7% processing
  • Business type: Retail
  • $5+/month
  • 2.4-2.7% processing

Visit Site

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Toast POS

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  • Business type: Restaurant
  • $0+/month
  • 2.49-2.99% + $0.15 processing
  • Business type: Restaurant
  • $0+/month
  • 2.49-2.99% + $0.15 processing

Visit Site

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Revel POS

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  • Business type: Restaurant or retail
  • $99+/month
  • 2.49% + $0.15 processing
  • Business type: Restaurant or retail
  • $99+/month
  • 2.49% + $0.15 processing

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

What Is A Cashless POS System?

A cashless POS system includes software and hardware that allows merchants to accept various cashless payments, including credit card payments and other electronic payments. QR code payments and contactless payments made from a smartphone or smartwatch are other types of payments you can accept using a cashless POS system.

The 5 Best Cashless Payment Systems

The best cashless POS systems support cashless transactions as well as other digital payment technologies, such as electronic receipts, contactless payments, online ordering, and kiosk mode—while also still giving you the option to accept cash. Read on to learn about the most effective cashless POS software for your business in an increasingly cashless society.

Square: Best For Low-Volume Businesses

Square POS


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Pricing

$0/month

Contract

None

Equipment Cost

$49-$799

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

Pros

  • Free mobile POS
  • No hardware purchase needed
  • Multichannel selling options
  • Month-to-month pricing

Cons

  • Can be difficult to reach live customer service
  • Occasional issues with withheld funds

square contactless reader

Why We Chose Square For Cashless Businesses

Square is a portable POS that works great for startups, small retailers, and fast-casual restaurants. Customers are increasingly accustomed to using Square in many settings, so it will seem familiar. You do have the option to process cash transactions, or you can opt for a completely cashless setup with no cash drawer.

Square is a third-party payment processor, which means you don’t need your own merchant account to use Square, so there are no merchant account fees or any intimidating merchant services contracts to sign. Overall, low-volume businesses with small ticket amounts might save money with Square versus a merchant account.

Square Pricing

Square is free to use, with no monthly fee. However, you can purchase various optional add-ons, including advanced team management ($35/month), email marketing ($17+/month), and others.

Square Cashless Payment Features

Some great electronic payment features Square offers include email receipts, NFC support (for contactless payments), a free eCommerce website, curbside pickup, and an offline mode that queues credit card payments if you lose your internet connection. There’s also a free virtual terminal for keyed-in card entry.

Additionally, Square accepts Tap to Pay on iPhone, which lets you accept contactless payments with just your phone (i.e., you don’t even need a card reader).

Square is always innovating, and its online checkout feature lets merchants send online payment links that allow customers to pay from their own devices. You also get unlimited devices on your free Square account, which can be handy if you have multiple employees selling from their own devices.

Hardware Cost & Options

This easy-to-use POS works on virtually any smartphone, iPad, or tablet, as well as on the proprietary mobile hardware sold by Square.

Pricing for a countertop hardware setup starts at $908 for a Square Stand Kit, which includes an iPad, the proprietary Square Stand swivel screen with its built-in payment reader, a cash drawer, and a receipt printer. Or, you could use a Square Terminal ($299) or Square Register ($799) for a minimal setup with no cash register.

It’s also possible to accept cashless payments using Square without buying any hardware at all—just use a free plug-in Square credit card reader or Tap to Pay on iPhone.

Square Rewards

Square offers a built-in rewards program called Square Loyalty, which starts at $45/month.

Payment Processing Costs

At a flat 2.6% + $0.10 on every swiped, dipped, and tapped transaction, Square’s in-house payment provider does not provide the absolute lowest processing rates in the industry. However, there is no monthly charge to use this handy pocket POS, so there is a very low barrier to entry.

For online payments, Square charges 2.9% + $0.30.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Square does not have any contract or processing minimum, so you can stop using the POS at any time or use it only occasionally. A couple of downsides to Square are its somewhat impersonal customer support and a touchy security system that may flag/freeze your account if you process a very large transaction or a higher-than-usual monthly sales total.

Get Started With Square POS

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Clover: Best For Ease Of Use

Clover Mini


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Pros

  • Free plan available
  • Sleek, multipurpose hardware
  • Multiple processing options
  • Customizable functionality

Cons

  • Long-term contract
  • Some Clover sellers are not recommended

clover mini

Why We Chose Clover For Cashless Businesses

Clover is a compact and customizable POS that might be just right for your cashless store or restaurant. Clover offers several high-tech hardware devices, all of which can accept numerous digital payment forms. Clover POS hardware comes pre-loaded with POS software and a merchant account, making it effortless for any business to go cashless.

Clover is exceedingly easy to use and learn, and you can customize the system’s functionality via the Clover App Market. Clover hardware gives you the option to run your system over ethernet, Wi-Fi, or a data connection. If your internet goes down and you don’t have a data plan, you can continue to accept and queue offline transactions until your connection is restored.

Clover Pricing

Clover also has several software plans that cater to various industries. There is a free plan, which includes payment processing only, while paid plans start at $14.95/month. The popular “Register” plan for most retail businesses is $49.95/month.

Clover Cashless Payment Features

Clover has excellent digital payment features, including contactless payments, paperless receipts, PayPal and Venmo acceptance, a virtual terminal, and more. Clover can also accept EBT and QR code payments and Tap to Pay on iPhone with the Clover Go app.

Hardware Cost & Options

The ideal countertop setup for a cashless business is probably the Clover Mini ($799), which you can use alongside other Clover devices or on its own. The Mini is an all-in-one POS, it has a 7″ touchscreen made with antimicrobial glass, and comes with a built-in receipt printer, a front-facing camera, and the ability to read barcodes/QR codes. The system is also portable, giving you the option of a “floating terminal” setup where employees can take payments from anywhere in your store/restaurant.

Other Clover hardware options include Clover Station, ($1,699-$1,799), Clover Flex ($599), and the mobile Clover Go, ($49), which connects to your smartphone.

You also have the option to accept cashless payments with no hardware—either using the Clover Go app with Tap to Pay on iPhone or using the Clover Virtual Terminal ($14.95/month).

Clover Rewards

Clover offers built-in rewards functionality with a customer-facing app. The program is easy to use and comes free with your Clover POS (on Register plan and higher).

Payment Processing Costs

Clover’s rates depend on which software plan you’re on. In-person processing rates range from 2.3 to 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction (if you purchase your system from Clover.com), while the online and keyed-in fee is 3.5% + $0.10.

If you purchase Clover from a third party, you may be able to get a different payment processing setup, such as interchange pricing or cash-discount processing.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Clover’s standard processing contract is three years, which is longer than many businesses will want to commit. Also, since a number of different banks and merchant services providers sell Clover, it’s important to choose a recommended Clover reseller or buy from Clover directly. Some Clover vendors charge hidden fees and offer poor customer service.

Get Started With Clover Mini

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Shopify POS: Best For Multichannel Retail

Shopify POS


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Pricing

Starts at $29/month

Contract

None

Equipment Cost

$0-$500+

Pros

  • $5/month Starter plan
  • Integrated eCommerce & in-person sales
  • Month-to-month pricing
  • Affordable for very small businesses

Cons

  • Weak offline mode
  • Doesn’t include dedicated merchant account
  • No built-in loyalty program

Shopify POS new interface

Why We Chose Shopify POS For Cashless Retailers

Shopify started as standalone eCommerce software, but has evolved to become a popular in-person selling tool as well. With its retail-focused tablet/smartphone POS, Shopify provides plenty of tools to bridge the gap between online and offline selling seamlessly. These tools range from an eCommerce website to social media selling to in-person payments.

Shopify works great for cashless businesses because all you really need to start selling is a mobile device and a card reader---though you also have the option to do a full countertop POS setup, depending on your needs.

Shopify POS Pricing

With plans ranging from $5 to $399/month, Shopify is completely scalable and can support micro-businesses just starting out with in-person selling as well as growing multilocation retail outlets.

At just $5/month, Shopify’s Starter plan includes social media selling on Instagram, TikTok, and others, as well as in-person sales using an inexpensive mobile card reader or Tap to Pay on iPhone.

Higher-tier plans include more in-person POS features for brick-and-mortar stores, as well as advanced eCommerce features. For full-scale Shopify POS with eCommerce, you’ll need at least the $39/month Basic plan ($29/month billed annually).

Shopify Cashless Payment Features

Shopify has kept up to date with newer electronic selling methods that combine cashless in-person and online sales. Some of these features include social selling, local delivery, curbside pickup, digital gift cards, and a ship-to-customer option that lets customers pay for an item at your store that is shipped to their home. Alternatively, customers can buy online and pick up in your store (BOPIS).

Shopify POS supports contactless payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as Tap to Pay on iPhone.

Shopify also offers product detail QR codes in your store that customers can scan with their phones to learn more about your products and buy them from your website.

Hardware Cost & Options

Shopify sells retail kits for iPad and Android tablet setups. For example, you can buy the Shopify Retail Kit for iPad on Shopify’s website for $219 (does not include iPad). Shopify POS Go ($399), Shopify Tap & Chip reader ($49), and Tap to Pay on iPhone (free) are some cashless selling options for mobile businesses.

Shopify Rewards

Shopify POS does not have a built-in rewards program. However, Shopify integrates with third-party loyalty/rewards software, including Marsello, Smile.io, and others.

Payment Processing Costs

Shopify includes in-house, flat-rate payment processing. Payment processing costs for in-person transactions range from 2.4 to 2.7% depending on your plan; online transactions range from 2.4 to 2.9% + $0.30 depending on your plan. You can also use Shopify with your own processor for an added fee.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Shopify POS does not have a contract so there is no commitment. Like Square, Shopify Payments is a third-party processor/payment aggregator, so you don’t get the stability and personalized service of having your own individual merchant account.

Another potential negative about Shopify POS is that its offline mode is not super robust—you can’t process transactions if you’re offline. But if you have a stable internet connection or data plan, this shouldn’t be an issue.

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Get Started With Shopify POS

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Toast: Best For Cashless Restaurants

Toast POS


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Pricing

$0-$165 plus custom plan

Online Ordering

Yes

Equipment Cost

$0+

Pros

  • Restaurant-specific features and hardware
  • Free pay-as-you-go plan
  • Multiple digital ordering & payment options
  • Comes with your own merchant account

Cons

  • 2-year contract with ETF
  • High processing fees for online orders, AMEX, and pay-as-you go plan

toast pos with handheld mobile device for tableside payments

Why We Chose Toast For Cashless Restaurants

Toast is the smart POS choice for a restaurant, large or small, that wants to go cashless. Android-based Toast is not just a POS; it’s a complete restaurant management solution with features, such as CRM, inventory management, employee management, and more.

Made specifically for the food service industry, Toast also includes restaurant-specific features, such as service areas and split-check functionality. Toast’s Android-based hardware is custom-designed for the restaurant industry.

Toast Pricing

Toast pricing starts at $0/month, for both hardware and software, if you pay a higher payment processing fee. If you wish to pay for your hardware and software upfront (a more economical option in the long run), plans start at $69/month.

Advanced features such as online ordering and delivery, a customer-facing takeout app, gift cards, and loyalty cost extra, either in the form of additional increases to your payment processing fee or a higher monthly software fee.

Toast Cashless Payment Features

Toast has lots of tech-forward features for cashless transactions. These include contactless payments, kiosk mode, tableside payment devices, a QR code payment option that lets customers pay on their phone, and an offline mode so that you can continue to ring up transactions (and perform other essential features) even during an internet outage.

You can even set your credit card authorization so that it will always behave as if it were offline—this makes the system faster since you don’t have to wait around for an official authorization, though it is slightly riskier to operate in this mode.

Toast also makes it easy to pay for orders online, via the customer-facing Toast Takeout app, or with digital gift cards.

Hardware Cost & Options

You can purchase a countertop Starter Kit from Toast at $875, or $0 if you pay a higher payment processing fee. The kit is suitable for a cashless restaurant, as it includes a Toast Flex terminal, Toast Tap payment reader, and router—but no cash register.

Toast also offers a handheld ordering kit called Toast Go for $627 + $69/month, and a guest self-service kit for $1,009 + $99/month.

Toast Rewards

Toast has an in-house digital loyalty program which you can purchase for $50/month or as part of a package that also includes online ordering, email marketing, and gift cards, for an additional 0.40% per transaction.

Payment Processing Costs

Toast offers in-house payment processing and claims it can meet or beat the rates you’d get with another processor. However, you cannot use an outside merchant account with Toast; if you want to use your own existing merchant account or don’t want to get locked into a long-term contract, Toast is not right for you.

Toast has a standard in-person processing fee of 2.49% + $0.15 (2.99% + $0.15 on the $0/month plan). With Toast’s online ordering options, restaurants will pay card-not-present processing fees, which are 3.5% + $0.15 for Visa, Mastercard, and Discover, and 3.89% + $0.15 for American Express.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Toast’s standard contract is two years, with an early termination fee should you try to exit your contract early.

Get Started With Toast POS

Read our in-depth review

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Revel Systems: Best For Multilocation Businesses

Revel POS


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Pricing

Quote-based

Contract

Three-year commitment for lowest rate

Equipment Cost

Call for quote

Pros

  • Full offline functionality
  • Customizable feature sets for different industries
  • Multichannel loyalty
  • Excellent customer support

Cons

  • 3-year contract
  • Expensive for very small businesses

revel pos on iPad with stand

Why We Chose Revel Systems For Cashless Stores

Revel Systems is an excellent POS for cashless stores. Not only is it sleek and modern, but it also offers a full suite of digital payment and ordering options and is powerful enough to serve as a complete cloud-based business management hub. Revel is fast and reliable and robust enough to power enterprise-level, multi-location businesses in either restaurant or retail industries.

This iPad POS is mainly marketed to quick-serve restaurants and retail stores, and some big names, such as Cinnabon and Goodwill, use it to power their franchises. One big advantage to Revel is its full offline functionality. Very few point of sale systems will allow you to process electronic payments and execute all other POS functions offline the way Revel does. For an even faster and more reliable POS, you have the option to connect your Revel-equipped device to a proprietary iPad-ethernet connection—another rarity in the world of tablet POS systems.

Revel Systems Pricing

Revel is easily the priciest option on this list, starting at $99/month, billed annually, with a two-terminal minimum. This means your minimum monthly software fee will be $198—though this is not a terribly high fee if you need two registers anyway.

Revel Systems Cashless Payment Features

Some of the many cashless POS features you get with this NFC-ready POS include built-in PayPal acceptance in-store, online ordering options for customers who want to order ahead for pickup/delivery, kiosk mode, and QR code payments.

Hardware Cost & Options

Revel uses iPad POS hardware exclusively, and you may be able to source some or all of your hardware yourself if desired. Revel doesn’t list its hardware pricing so you will have to call them for a quote.

Revel Systems Rewards

Revel features an in-house loyalty program, which customers can access online, or using your POS, kiosk, or mobile app. Pricing isn’t publicly listed.

Payment Processing Costs

Revel’s standard fee is 2.49% + $0.15 for all transactions. Revel can also offer custom rates or integrate with an outside payment processor using the USAePay gateway or others.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Revel Systems’ standard plan requires a three-year contract and processing agreement with Revel Advantage. However, it may be possible to negotiate a shorter contract.

Get Started With Revel POS

Read our in-depth review

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Our Methodology: How We Chose The Best Cashless POS Systems For Small Business

To select the best POS systems for inclusion in this best-of list, we evaluated all of our POS reviews for vendor suitability.

In particular, we looked for systems that make it easy and reasonably affordable for small businesses to accept not only credit card payments, but also other types of digital/electronic payments such as QR code payments, online payments, and mobile wallets.

We prioritized systems that require a minimal amount of hardware or startup fees, with the option of a cash register-free setup.

Finally, we narrowed our list to include only one system for each purpose (retail, restaurant, multilocation, etc.).

Reasons To Upgrade To A Cashless Payment System

There are many benefits of cashless POS systems. These point-of-sale systems meet customers’ needs for newer payment options while being equipped with the latest security technology to keep your transactions safe.

Customers Are Carrying Less Cash

An increasing portion of the population no longer carries cash, especially the younger set. In fact, roughly two-thirds of small business customers don’t carry cash to pay for their purchases, according to a survey conducted by Weave. This means that if you don’t accept cashless payments, those customers will likely take their business to a competitor.

Customers Want To Earn Rewards

Besides the convenience factor, cashless payments also provide monetary perks for consumers. Whether they pay with a physical card, smartphone/watch, or online, consumers are also getting used to the perks of electronic payments, as many personal credit cards offer generous points and cash-back programs.

Similarly, implementing your own small business rewards program—a feature of many cashless POS systems—can help customers earn additional rewards for spending at your small business, and hence keep them coming back.

Customers Expect Cashless Payment Options

As more retailers and restaurants embrace newer cashless payment methods like contactless payments and various types of online payments, more of your customers are expecting to pay using these methods at your store.

According to Square, customers want digital payment options such as payment apps (e.g., Cash App, PayPal, Venmo), digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay), and buy-now-pay-later (Afterpay, Klarna).

Again, if you don’t offer these cashless payment methods, your customers may take their business elsewhere.

Cashless Transactions Are Secure

Credit card fraud may be a concern for some merchants when going all digital. Fortunately, electronic payments can be more secure than cash, thanks to credit card encryption and tokenization technologies for in-person and online payments, as well as biometric authentication (a user signing into their phone with their Face ID or fingerprint) for mobile payments.

Here are some tips and things to know about keeping your cashless payments secure:

  • Make sure your POS system is PCI DSS-compliant and includes point-to-point encryption.
  • A POS system with employee permissions and different levels of access can help prevent data theft from within your organization.
  • Credit card tokenization is not strictly required for electronic payment security but is a nice bonus to have.

Features To Look For In A Cashless POS

A good cashless payment system should have a modern feature set and the capability to accept multiple forms of electronic payments. In particular, your POS should offer the following features:

  • Contactless payments
  • Online payments
  • Mobile capabilities
  • Offline functionality
  • Email receipts
  • Strong security
  • Integrations with eCommerce and third-party delivery apps
  • Socially-distanced selling features (curbside pickup, kiosk mode, QR code payments, etc.)

Note that not all small businesses will need to accept online payments, as some may just want to be able to accept credit cards and digital wallet payments in-store. Still, most cashless POS systems will give you the option to add online ordering or an eCommerce website (usually for an add-on fee) in case you want to offer online orders in the future.

Make Way For Cashless Payments With The Right POS System

Even if you’re hesitant or used to operating a cash-only business, small business owners need to get used to electronic/digital payments because that’s what your customers want and expect.

But which POS is best for accepting cashless payments? The answer to this question depends on your business’s particular needs and budget, as well as your customers’ demographics. Keep in mind that all of the systems highlighted in this article also allow you to accept cash transactions, so you always have the option to start taking cash if the cashless model doesn’t work out for you.

Many grocery stores, fast-food chains, restaurants, and clothing boutiques might not be ready to go completely cashless yet. Still, by investing in a POS system that handles cashless payments well, today’s merchants are investing in the survival of their brick-and-mortar stores.

Want more options? Check out some more tablet POS systems that can help your small business go cashless.

Cashless Payment FAQs

What is a cashless payment system?

A cashless payment system allows businesses to accept electronic payments that do not involve the exchange of cash. Some cashless payment methods include credit cards, digital wallets, online payments, and QR code payments.

Is POS cashless?

POS (point of sale) systems can accept cashless payments, such as traditional credit cards and various contactless payments. However, most POS systems also give you the option to accept cash, in addition to cashless payments.

What are the pros and cons of a cashless system?

Some pros of a cashless system include speed, convenience, and security. The main disadvantages of going cashless are that some customers prefer to pay with cash, and payment processing fees are deducted from every transaction. One way to offer cashless payments but minimize fees is to use cash-discount processing.

In Summary: The 5 Best Cashless Payment Systems

  • Square POS:
    • Business type: Retail, restaurant, or service
    • $0+/month
    • 2.6% + $0.10 processing
  • Clover Mini:
    • Business type: Retail, restaurant, or service
    • $0+/month
    • 2.3-2.6% + $0.10 processing
  • Shopify POS:
    • Business type: Retail
    • $5+/month
    • 2.4-2.7% processing
  • Toast POS:
    • Business type: Restaurant
    • $0+/month
    • 2.49-2.99% + $0.15 processing
  • Revel POS:
    • Business type: Restaurant or retail
    • $99+/month
    • 2.49% + $0.15 processing
Shannon Vissers

Shannon Vissers

Senior Staff Writer at Merchant Maverick
Shannon has been writing for Merchant Maverick about small business software and financing since 2015. She started writing professionally about business topics in 2005. Shannon has been featured in the Washington Post, Reader's Digest, US News, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, and other publications. She has a bachelor's degree in English from San Diego State University and currently resides in San Diego, California.
Shannon Vissers
View Shannon Vissers's professional experience on LinkedIn.