How Much Does A POS System Cost In 2023?
We break down POS hardware and software costs and provider specialties by industry so you can easily determine which system is right for your business.
The cost of POS systems is usually split into POS software fees, POS hardware costs, and payment processing fees.
POS system costs will vary depending on the number of POS system software licenses you need, what type of POS hardware you want, and the average transaction volumes your business makes.
We’ve broken down POS system costs and have analyzed the cost of eight POS systems to give you an idea of how much a POS system will cost for your business.
Table of Contents
- How Much Is A POS System?
- 9 Features That Affect How Much POS Systems Cost
- Cost Of POS System Software
- POS Fees For Credit Card Processing
- Hardware POS System Pricing
- Final Thoughts On Finding The Right POS System For Your Budget
- POS System Cost: FAQs
How Much Is A POS System?
A point of sale system costs $0-$300/month in software fees.
You may pay a one-time fee of $49-$1,000 per POS register/card reader. With extra features like a loyalty program, you could pay more per month for POS software. The best POS systems offer built-in features, pricing plans, and payment options.
9 Features That Affect How Much POS Systems Cost
Here are some POS cost factors and how they could impact your overall costs (both in one-time and monthly fees).
1. Number Of Registers
Most POS companies charge you based on the number of registers or POS devices you have. However, additional registers might cost less than the first register, or you may be able to use unlimited registers for one cost.
For example, as of February 2023, Lightspeed Retail starts at $69/month for the first register and charges $59/month for each additional register. Square and Helcim, on the other hand, allow you to have an unlimited number of registers on every POS plan.
2. Number Of Physical Locations
Most POS systems charge for each location your business has. This is because larger businesses have more complex needs, such as inventory transfers from one location to another.
Square charges $60/location on paid plans, while Revel POS has custom-priced multilocation management features such as centralized inventory monitoring and pricing rules that vary by location.
3. eCommerce & Online Ordering
Many POS providers, such as Toast and Lightspeed Restaurant, offer online ordering and online store builders at an added cost. Online ordering and third-party delivery integrations are often an added cost for restaurant POS systems.
Other POS providers, like Shopify, Square, and Helcim have great built-in omnichannel sales capabilities.
4. Number Of Employees
Most POS software plans include a certain number of employees at each price level. If you need advanced employee management features (such as employee scheduling), your POS system may charge you for each employee in the system.
POS systems such as Clover and TouchBistro offer great built-in employee management systems at no added cost.
5. Industry-Specific Features
Specialized industries require very specific POS functions, ones that you may have to pay extra for.
For example, catering businesses need a way to book appointments, take pre-orders, and charge deposits for services. TouchBistro has catering-specific features to handle all of these niche industry needs.
Subscription-based businesses need a secure credit card vault and custom subscription pricing rules, which Helcim includes for free.
Learn how to choose a restaurant POS system that fits your budget.
6. Gift Card & Loyalty Programs
Offering gift cards and loyalty programs are a great way to capture customer interest, re-engage customers who haven’t interacted with your business in a while, and can be used for marketing campaigns.
Clover includes a gift card and loyalty program on all subscription plans, while Lightspeed offers an excellent loyalty program on higher-level plans.
7. Marketing Tools
If you’re interested in using text or email marketing to generate more sales, Shopify has built-in customer segmentation and marketing automation features, plus Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter integrations to market on social media platforms. You can also find great free marketing apps in the Shopify app marketplace.
Revel Systems is another POS provider that helps you build a customer database and send targeted discount marketing campaigns.
8. Third-Party Integrations
If you want to add a feature that a POS provider doesn’t already have, you need to integrate your POS system with third-party software.
POS providers such as Shopify, Lightspeed, and Clover offer several ready-made third-party integrations.
9. Transaction Fees
Transaction fees are broken down into payment processing fees and a potential extra fee you pay to opt out of a POS system’s built-in payment processing solution.
For example, Shopify offers an in-house payment processing system with flat-rate payment processing fees that range from 2.4%-2.9% per transaction. If you use a third-party payment processor, you’ll pay a transaction fee ranging from 0.5%-2%.
Lightspeed Retail offers an in-house payment processing system with flat-rate and custom payment processing, depending on your monthly plan. You’ll pay an extra $50/month to use a Lightspeed-compatible third-party payment processor.
Other POS providers such as Square, Helcim, and Toast require you to use their in-house payment processing system.
Note: Helcim provides custom interchange-plus pricing for every small business, which may be more cost-efficient compared to many flat-rate payment processors that come with most small business POS systems.
If you have (or might soon have) a preferred payment processor, consider choosing a POS provider that doesn’t charge an extra fee for third-party payment processing. TouchBistro and Clover do not charge any extra monthly fees based on your choice of payment processor.
Cost Of POS System Software
POS system software costs $0-$300/month or more, depending on the number of software licenses and software features you need.
Smaller companies can use a free POS system like Square, while larger businesses usually get custom pricing. You may pay monthly fees for third-party software integrations, too.
Examples Of POS System Costs
Here are some POS starting costs from top POS vendors (for a single register):
- Lightspeed: Starts at $89/month ($69/month with annual billing)
Lightspeed includes excellent inventory management, multi-location management, employee management, and third-party integrations. Common Lightspeed add-ons include an online store, loyalty program, and marketing.
Lightspeed Restaurant’s customizable third-party delivery service integrations and online ordering platform add-on make Lightspeed one of the best food delivery POS systems.
- Square: $0-$60/month/location
Square includes unlimited POS software licenses for no added fees, a free website builder, a free online appointment scheduler, free social media selling, free digital gift cards, free Square online checkout links/QR code generator, and basic inventory management. Common Square add-ons include multilocation management, Square KDS (kitchen display systems) for restaurants, loyalty programs, email marketing, and advanced employee management.
Square’s free website builder and appointment booking software make Square one of the best salon POS systems.
- Clover: Starts at $19.95/month for retail POS and $44.95/month for restaurant POS
Clover’s core offering includes gift card generator, loyalty programs, inventory management, sales tracking, and huge app marketplace. Common Clover add-ons include online ordering platform, payroll, and third-party app subscriptions
Clover’s app marketplace includes a free EBT transaction app, lottery app, and age verification app, which makes Clover one of the best grocery store POS systems.
- Revel Systems: Starts at $198/month
Revel includes a strong offline payments mode, multilocation management, strong inventory management, self-ordering restaurant kiosk, employee management, delivery tracking, and intelligent reporting suite. Common Revel add-ons include an online ordering system, loyalty program integration, and gift card integration.
Revel’s strong offline mode, menu pricing rules, raw ingredient management, and multilocation management features make Revel one of the best food truck POS systems. Its integration with digital signage and drive-through equipment providers also make Revel one of the best drive-through POS systems.
- Toast: $0-$165/month or custom pricing
Toast includes highly customizable POS user interface, third-party delivery service integrations, tableside QR code ordering, automated inventory updates, hold-and-fire handheld POS functions, multilocation management, thorough reporting, and menu customization/pricing rules. Common add-ons include a takeout and delivery app, online ordering app, loyalty program, gift card program, and payroll.
Toast’s durable POS hardware and numerous handheld POS server features make Toast one of the best handheld restaurant POS systems.
- Shopify: $39/month-$399/month ($29/month-$299/month with annual billing)
Shopify includes a core POS system plus several eCommerce sales features. These features include a buy button for online sales via blog, social media, email, text message, and more. There are sales integrations for marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy, plus inventory management, gift card creation, online order management, and customer database. Common Shopify add-ons include multilocation management, employee management, and third-party app subscriptions from Shopify’s huge app marketplace.
Shopify’s omnichannel sales capabilities, shipping/delivery capabilities and huge app store make Shopify one of the best retail POS systems.
- TouchBistro: Starts at $69/month
TouchBistro includes an offline sales mode, menu management by location, raw ingredient tracking, table planning/tracking, waitlisting, and handheld POS customizations. Common TouchBistro add-ons include an excellent loyalty program, online ordering system, and reservation system.
TouchBistro has features for most niche restaurant types, and the user interface is made with servers in mind, which is why TouchBistro is one of the best restaurant POS systems.
- Helcim: $0/month
Helcim is primarily a merchant services provider (merchant services providers also process digital payments.) Since September 2021, the company has been rapidly developing its own POS system that allows you to take payments using any device (smartphone, iPad, tablet, or desktop) and a $109 credit card reader.
This provider offers standard POS software plus excellent subscription management features, invoice customization and monitoring, B2B/B2C customer account management, and a fully customizable online checkout page builder.
POS Fees For Credit Card Processing
POS fees for credit card processing range from 1.5%-3.5% plus a flat fee per transaction. Smaller businesses should consider flat-rate payment processing. Businesses with lots of small transactions or large average transaction volumes should consider interchange-plus processing for the best fee rates.
Example Of Processing Fees With Popular POS Systems
Here are some examples of payment processing costs for in-person transactions with different POS systems:
- Lightspeed: 2.6% + $0.10 or custom pricing
- Square: 2.5%-2.6% + $0.10 (depending on subscription plan)
- Clover: 2.3 to 2.6% + $0.10 (depending on subscription plan)
- Revel Systems: Custom quoted
- Toast: 2.49%-3.5% + $0.15 or custom pricing
- Shopify: 2.4%-2.9% (depending on subscription plan)
- TouchBistro: Depends on which integrated third-party payment processor you choose (integrates with Chase, Moneris, EVO, and others)
- Helcim: Custom interchange-plus processing available; average transaction size of $50 or more gets you comparable and even better payment processing rates
Keeping Your Payment Processing Costs Down
Payment processing costs can vary widely depending on your sales volume and choice of payment processor. While some smaller businesses may find the best (and easiest) way to process payments is through a flat-rate payment processor like Square, businesses with larger sales volumes may benefit from working with a payment processor that uses an interchange-plus model such as Helcim.
Some other sketchy payment processors are not transparent about their fee structure, include penalty fees in the fine print of your contract, and may not meet security standards. If you want to avoid unnecessary fees and issues, make sure to avoid low-quality payment processors.
If you’re not sure what you need in a payment processor, or what makes a payment processor trustworthy, read our post on the best online credit card processing companies for small businesses.
Also, read our complete guide to credit card processing rates and fees for ways to lower or offset your payment processing fees.
Hardware POS System Pricing
POS hardware costs $49-$1,000 for registers and card readers. Smaller businesses can use a card reader and smartphone/iPad to take payments. Durable custom-made hardware is more expensive and suited for businesses with a physical location. Items like barcode scanners and kitchen printers cost $100-$500.
Example Of Hardware POS System Costs
These are examples of hardware POS system pricing for popular POS providers:
- Lightspeed: Pricing ranges from $500-$1,000 for full register systems, depending on where you purchase your hardware from; you can use iPads as registers.
- Square: Pricing ranges from $49 (Square Contactless Chip + Card Reader) to $1,319 (Square Register bundle).
Square is especially known for its durable, affordable hardware for several industry types. For example, the Square Terminal and the new Square mobile POS are both great handheld POS systems for restaurants.
You can also bring your own iPads and smartphones to use as register interfaces, kitchen display systems, customer-facing displays, and self-service kiosks, as Square software can work as a mobile app.
Read our guide to Square hardware to figure out what your business needs to take payments and run smoothly.
- Clover: Pricing ranges from $49 (Clover Go card reader) to $1,699 (Clover Station)
Clover hardware is durable, user-friendly, and highly customizable.
But it’s important to note that you can only use proprietary Clover hardware with Clover software. If you decide to stop using Clover POS software, you can’t use Clover hardware with another POS software provider.
Thoroughly test out Clover software before investing in proprietary Clover hardware.
- Revel Systems: Compatible card readers start at $79; must contact Revel for a quote or source POS hardware on your own.
Revel software runs on iPads, which you can use for registers and customer-facing displays. Revel offers its own self-ordering system, Kiosk XT, which you have to call and get a quote on.
The PayPal Zettle is the least expensive compatible card reader and costs $79.
- Toast: $o upfront; alternatively you can pay a one-time $609 fee for Toast Handheld Starter kit, or one-time $799 fee for Toast Countertop Starter kit.
Toast hardware is the most durable restaurant POS hardware in the restaurant industry. The Toast Go 2, in particular, is the most durable handheld POS hardware on the market right now, which is important when you consider the number of spills and drops that happen in a fast-paced restaurant setting.
The company has a special hardware deal. You can pay $0 upfront for a countertop or mobile POS starter kit and pay a higher payment processing rate, or you can purchase your kit outright and pay a lower processing fee.
The $0 down deal sounds great, but the higher payment processing fees will add up. If you’re able to, you should purchase your Toast hardware outright.
- Shopify: Pricing ranges from $49 (Shopify Tap + Chip Card Reader to $639 (Star® mPOP™ with Scanner register bundle).
Shopify POS systems are great in the retail store setting and on the go. It’s important to note that if you want to use Shopify Payments, Shopify’s in-house payment processor, you must purchase a Shopify card reader directly from the company.
- TouchBistro: Compatible card readers range from $49 to $900 depending on what third-party card reader and merchant service provider you use to take card payments; software runs on iPads
With TouchBistro, you can use iPads for registers, kitchen display screens, and customer-facing displays.
Avoid Fees By Steering Clear Of Leasing Agreements
Many businesses may not have the money to buy a full POS system outright, and business owners may consider hardware POS leasing agreements.
However, financing your equipment or getting a small loan to purchase your equipment is a better option in the long run. This is because you may end up paying higher monthly fees and higher interest rates if you lease your equipment.
Plus with leasing, you don’t actually own your hardware. If you finance your equipment or get a small loan, you’ll own your POS hardware by the time you pay off your equipment.
These are the best small business loans and the best equipment financing companies to help you pay off your POS hardware.
Final Thoughts On Finding The Right POS System For Your Budget
Your POS system costs will vary depending on what your business needs now and what it will need as it scales up. Most single-register businesses should be able to get the POS hardware they need for somewhere between $49 and $1,500, and spend less than $100/month for the accompanying POS software. If you have very little money to invest upfront, though, consider getting one of these best free POS systems.
To keep costs down, we recommend finding a POS system provider that offers several subscription plans and allows businesses to scale or a provider that offers one plan with all its features available. Start purchase POS hardware conservatively and add more on as you need to. Once your business grows in transaction volume and/or average transaction size, consider moving from a flat-rate payment processor to an interchange-plus payment processor for better payment processing rates.
Take advantage of all the free software trials available, test out the customer service, get feedback from employees who will be using the POS every day, and always be sure to read any merchant contracts before signing. Do not commit to any long-term contracts before you’re 100% sure you’re satisfied with your POS software, hardware, and fees.
To help you decide which POS system to use, read our best small business POS systems post and go from there.