What Is mPOS? How To Spot What You Need In 2023
mPOS systems (mobile point of sale systems) are smartphones, tablets, or other devices that allow businesses to take payments anywhere they have set up shop. Read on to find out what makes a good mPOS solution for your business.
How many “cash-only” stores, restaurants, or pop up shops have you been to lately? The number is probably pretty low, considering the dramatic increase in payments using debit, credit, and mobile wallet payments. With a mobile point of sale (mPOS) system, businesses of every size can take a variety of digital payments at a low cost on the go or within a store.
Read on to find out what mobile point of sale is, what kinds of businesses need an mPOS system, and what makes a good mPOS solution for your business.
Table of Contents
- What Is mPOS?
- How Much Does An mPOS Cost?
- 9 Features To Look For In An mPOS
- Does Your Business Need An mPOS?
- FAQs: mPOS Systems
What Is mPOS?
mPOS systems (mobile point of sale systems) are smartphones, tablets, or other devices that allow businesses to take payments in a physical store and on the go. An mPOS system is equipped with software that turns the device into a payment register, automatically storing customer payment data online.
Benefits Of An mPOS
The magic behind the machine is the mPOS system’s mobile credit card reader, which processes credit card payments both in-store and remotely.
The benefits of using an mPOS system for your in-person sales include:
- Convenience: Cash is now the least popular payment method among point of sale purchases in the US. Many vendors, especially vendors without a physical location, lose out on potential sales simply because they don’t offer a convenient, cashless way to pay. mPOS systems allow you to reach those consumers who don’t want to carry cash around.
- Low Cost: With an mPOS system, merchants don’t have to purchase new hardware or software to start processing transactions. Instead, mPOS systems use cloud-hosted subscription plans, which offer affordable upfront costs and monthly payments.
- Reduced Wait Times: If you have a physical location, cut down on checkout times by equipping multiple mobile devices with payment processing capabilities. Then, customers at your restaurant or store can pay wherever they are in the building instead of standing in a line.
- Flexibility: Businesses have the freedom to pick and choose the type of mPOS hardware that best suits the size and scope of their operations. There are also multiple contactless and physical card readers to choose from to best accommodate their volume of sales, industry niche, and existing business software.
- Inventory Tracking: Whether you’re at a mobile event trying to figure out how many pre-orders to take, telling customers whether you have an item in stock or not, or selling in-person and online, your mPOS can automatically track and update your inventory.
- Security: mPOS systems improve security because transactions are encrypted and the devices themselves do not store customer data. Rather, the data is stored in secure, cloud-based systems. mPOS helps businesses of all sizes maintain industry security standards and use security monitoring systems from their mPOS software provider.
- Reporting Capabilities: Established businesses that want to participate in pop-up events, launch temporary shops, get a booth at trade shows, or sell at community events can use an mPOS to consolidate and segment their sales reporting. These businesses can then deploy their mPOS system with mobile functions to maximize sales based on their sales reporting results.
How Much Does An mPOS Cost?
An mPOS system has three associated costs: hardware, software, and payment processing fees. Hardware can cost anywhere from $0 to $800. Monthly software subscriptions start free and can go up to $272/month. Payment processing fees are around 2.6% plus a flat fee per transaction.
9 Features To Look For In An mPOS
Despite the fierce competition between mPOS systems, there remain several major features that set any decent mPOS system apart from its competitors, regardless of the target industry:
Your mPOS system should automatically update your inventory, allow you to make manual updates, and generate downloadable inventory reports. Consider an mPOS with the inventory management feature if you plan on permanently adopting mPOS transactions.
Mobile POS systems should come with at least the essential POS reports, such as sales reports that segment your sales figures by the methods your customers are using to pay and the devices they’re using to process transactions. For businesses with established online stores, sales reporting features like those that come with Shopify Lite can also integrate access to a mobile POS on their website through a call to action button.
With an mPOS, there’s no longer a reason for businesses to make one location, be it their website or a storefront, the focal point for their sales. A good mPOS system will allow customers to pay in a variety of contactless ways such as contactless card payment, near field communication, and mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay) in addition to accepting credit and debit cards.
Your mPOS must be PCI-compliant for you to accept any digital payment methods. A good mPOS will also help you fight any disputed charges or security issues.
Many mPOS systems provide features to accelerate your marketing efforts, such as coupons, gift certificates, and loyalty program builders.
If you are planning on using a website in any capacity (for selling, booking appointments online, making reservations online, etc.) consider platforms that offer POS hardware and apps in addition to website builder software. Square, for example, offers a free square card reader and an inexpensive contactless and chip reader that’s perfect for low-volume businesses that may operate in-store and online. If you get an mPOS system before starting a website, make sure your eCommerce platform will work with your mPOS system.
While not absolutely necessary, the ability to advertise and take payments for products, services, and appointment bookings through social media platforms can benefit any business. Many mPOS systems allow you to sync your inventory and shopping cart with your social media posts.
If you plan on using any third-party software to manage your business, such as advanced accounting or inventory management apps, sign up with an mPOS provider that offers several third-party integrations.
A solid mPOS system should give you the ability to create several employee accounts, with different levels of feature permissions depending on their role. Then you can see who brings in the most sales, and who makes errors (ideally, this will never happen, but we’re all human, after all.)
Does Your Business Need An mPOS?
Businesses that focus primarily on in-person sales, especially ones that do not have an established physical location to house a traditional register, need an mPOS system to reach more customers and conduct sales faster.
Restaurants, cafes, and food kiosks can use an mPOS to make it simpler for their customers to order food and quickly pay for it, either at their table or in another area that is not where customers order.
Vendors who show up at any mobile event, such as a farmer’s market or craft show, need an mPOS system to cater to customers who do not carry cash around with them.
Retail shops with lots of in-store sales representatives should also consider using mobile POS terminals. Staff who are no longer confined to a single register area can make sales on the spot, and customers won’t have to wait in any lines.
If you decide to go for a mobile point of sale solution, these are the best mPOS systems to help your business grow. If your business is just starting up and you don’t have much capital to invest, check out our list of the best free credit card readers. These readers connect to your phone via headphone jack or Bluetooth, so you won’t have to spend any money on hardware.
Make sure to select an mPOS provider that’s suitable for your business and offered at a price that’s affordable for you.