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With so many different point-of-sale solutions out there, figuring out which one is right for you is tough. You know you want faster and more accurate transactions, improved inventory management, enhanced customer service, and the ability to generate detailed sales reports but need to figure out which tool is best. I've got you! In this post I'll help make your choice easy, sharing my personal experiences testing dozens of different POS vendors and having researched these tools thoroughly, with my picks of the best POS terminal.

What Is a POS Terminal?

A POS terminal, or Point of Sale terminal, is a hardware and software system used in retail environments to process transactions. It typically includes a combination of a computer, payment processing hardware (like card readers), and software that allows businesses to complete sales transactions, manage inventory, and generate receipts.

POS terminals play a crucial role in modern retail operations, processing payments, recording sales, and managing inventory, providing a centralized system for efficient and accurate retail transactions.

Overview Of The 10 Best POS Terminals

I’ve summarized the key features that I think set these POS terminals apart, as well as any drawbacks or limitations to consider.

Best for B2B sellers

  • Free demo available
  • From $99/month

Stax Pay is an all-in-one business management platform that simplifies payment processes for businesses, offering secure in-person and online credit card payment processing. Its unique selling point lies in its transparent pricing model, providing simplicity and clarity for cost visibility, making it the best choice for businesses looking to save on payment processing fees and make informed decisions.

Why I Picked Stax Pay: Stax Pay offers robust solutions tailored specifically for B2B transactions, which are often more complex than B2C payments. Features like automated invoicing, support for large transactions, and ACH payments make it easier for businesses to manage their B2B payment processes efficiently. This specialization is particularly beneficial for companies dealing with high-value or recurring transactions.

Stax Pay Standout Features and Integrations

Key features include flexible payment options (credit card, ACH, and eCheck), advanced invoicing, recurring billing, and customizable payment plans. The platform also provides detailed reporting and analytics, integrated fraud prevention, and a user-friendly dashboard for managing transactions. 

Stax Pay provides omni-channel support, enabling businesses to accept payments seamlessly across multiple channels—online, in-store, and mobile.

Integrations include popular accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero, customer relationship management (CRM) systems such as Salesforce and HubSpot, and ecommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce. Additionally, Stax Pay connects with payment gateways like Authorize.net and Stripe, as well as marketing tools like Mailchimp and Constant Contact. 

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Seamless integration with popular tools
  • Advanced invoicing capabilities
  • Flexible payment options

Cons:

  • Limited support for international transactions
  • Slight learning curve for new users

Best for omnichannel retail integration

  • The first month is free and the following three months are only $1/month
  • Plans start at $31/month

Shopify POS is a comprehensive, cloud-based POS terminal solution designed to unify in-store and online sales, catering especially to businesses leveraging Shopify for e-commerce.

Why I picked Shopify POS: As a POS terminal, Shopify POS stands out for its seamless integration with Shopify's e-commerce platform, offering a unified system for inventory, sales, and customer management across all sales channels. Its mobile checkout options help staff serve customers faster and check out anywhere in the store or curbside. 

Additionally, Shopify POS offers multiple devices to accommodate any type of business, whether single or multi-store. Hardware includes tabletop terminals, card readers, POS terminals and its mobile device, POS Go.

Shopify POS Standout Features and Integrations:

Features that make this company stand out include its online inventory management which gives you the flexibility to pivot inventory to other locations or online based on performance. I also like its POS smart grid, which keeps your most-used apps, discounts, and products at your fingertips to speed up checkout.

Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, Mailchimp, Klaviyo, LoyaltyLion, Yotpo, ShipStation, DHL Express, UPS, and Canada Post.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Extensive third-party app ecosystem for added functionalities
  • Direct integration with Shopify Payments for streamlined transactions
  • Unified commerce solution integrating online and offline sales

Cons:

  • Limited to Shopify Payments in certain markets.
  • Primarily beneficial for Shopify e-commerce users.

Best for transparent payment solutions

  • Free account available
  • From 0.50% + $0.25 per transaction
Visit Website
Rating: 4.4/5

Helcim is a payment processing tool that offers businesses the ability to accept various forms of payment, including credit and debit cards, both in-person and online.

Why I picked Helcim: Helcim provides transparent pricing and is focused on delivering a comprehensive set of services for businesses to manage their financial transactions and customer interactions.

Helcim Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include services such as merchant accounts, POS systems, card readers, and an online payment platform that supports e-commerce transactions. POS terminals also support invoicing, inventory management, and customer management.

I also like how Helcim emphasizes transparent pricing with their Interchange Plus model and offer Level 2/3 processing to help businesses save on transaction fees. 

Integrations include Xero Payments, QuickBooks, WooCommerce, Foxy.io, and Great Exposure.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Proactive in addressing fraud alerts
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Provides excellent customer service

Cons:

  • Website can run slow
  • Limited features for customizing invoices and receipts

Best for ease of use

  • Free demo available
  • From 2.3% + $0.1 per transaction

Clover’s POS hardware is intuitive and easy to use, with a modern UI design.

Why I picked Clover: Clover’s Flex is a handheld POS system. That means you can accept payments, track sales, and place orders, all from the palm of your hand.

Clover Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include the ability to take all payment types, manage inventory, and use a loyalty program, all from a handheld device. Clover uses cloud storage, so your business data is available with you wherever you go.

I like that there’s minimal setup and training needed, so you can start using Clover’s POS as soon as you take it out of the box.

Integrations include Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Clover has its own app market with hundreds of popular apps like Time Clock, Digital Loyalty, Payroll, and Stream. They also partner with integration services providers who can develop custom apps or integrations for your legacy systems as required.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Multiple integration options
  • Mobile devices that can hold an 8-hour charge
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Higher upfront cost
  • No free trial

Best for low rates and fees

  • Free plan available
  • From $13.95 plus 0.29% + 1.55% per transaction

Merchant One is a financial services tool that helps businesses to process various forms of payments, including credit and debit card transactions. 

Why I picked Merchant One: Merchant One is a great tool for small businesses that require payment processing services, offering a variety of services with a $0.00 setup fee, terminal placement program, flexible equipment lease terms, and interchange plus pricing. 

Merchant One Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include a secure online payment gateway for businesses to process transactions on the web, as well as mobile processing, which enables businesses to process payments using mobile devices. This is particularly convenient for operations that are mobile or attend events, such as food trucks.

I also like that the company offers Clover point-of-sale systems, which include features for managing inventory, engaging customers, and generating reports. Merchant One also ensures compliance with industry regulations for secure payment processing.

Integrations include Authorize.net, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., American Express, Clover Network, Inc., Maitre'D, Paytrace Gateway, Payflow Pro, Payeezy Gateway, USAePay, and Aloha.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Includes advanced authentication and fraud prevention tools
  • Offers a variety of credit card terminals and POS systems
  • Provides a fast and easy approval process

Cons:

  • Slow deposit times reported by some users
  • Requires a three-year contract

Best for e-commerce and retail

  • 3 days free trial
  • From $29/month (billed annually)
Visit Website
Rating: 4.4/5

Shopify’s wireless hardware makes it a good choice if you’re selling your products at markets or pop-up events.

Why I picked Shopify: They offer a range of hardware solutions to fit all retail needs. You can choose the hardware that makes the most sense for your multi-store, single-store, or events-based business.

Shopify Standout Features and Integrations:

Features of Shopify hardware include the fact that they’re wireless, so you can close sales anywhere with your portable POS devices. The Shopify platform has 99.9% uptime, so you can be confident that you can take payments without running into issues.

I really like the flexibility Shopify offers in terms of the different POS devices you can create the custom setup that works best for your business.

Integrations include Shopify’s proprietary POS software.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Highly adaptable
  • Wide range of accessories (like cash drawers and barcode scanners)
  • Supports tap, chip, or swipe card payments

Cons:

  • Monthly fee for Shopify POS software
  • Expensive for larger or quickly-scaling businesses

Best all-around POS terminal

  • Free plan available
  • From $36/month plus 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Visit Website
Rating: 4.3/5

Square is a big name in the POS and e-commerce market. So, naturally, they’ve got one of the best and most widely-used POS terminals on the market.

Why I picked Square: With a line of POS hardware to choose from, Square has a solution that will fit pretty much any business model—whether you’re a brick-and-mortar retail store that needs a full register, a mobile dog groomer that just needs a card reader to accept payments on the go, or anything in between.

Square Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include data analytics and financial reporting tools that let you drill down into your cost of goods sold and analyze profit margins.

I especially like that Square sells hardware kits, but also lets you mix and match your own hardware, registers, terminals, stands, card readers, and other accessories.

Plus, Square has no equipment fees or long-term contracts, and you can cancel at any time.

Integrations include all of Square’s POS Solutions software and specialized solutions like Square for Restaurants, Square for Retail, and Square Appointments.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Competitive pricing on transaction fees
  • Highly customizable

Cons:

  • Can’t run on Windows desktops or tablets
  • Bulky design

Best for durable hardware

  • Free product demo available
  • From $0 per month plus 2.6% + $0.10 per card transaction.
Visit Website
Rating: 4.3/5

Toast’s hardware is built tough for everyday use in busy and messy environments.

Why I picked Toast: Its hardware performs well while also being able to handle everyday wear.

Toast Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include restaurant-grade hardware that’s spill-proof, dust-proof, and drop-proof. The Toast Go 2 has a 24-hour battery life. That's twice as long as an iPad and 3x longer than the Clover Flex.

I like that it has a 6.4-inch touchscreen, which makes it easy to take orders and payments indoors or outdoors. And it only weighs a little over a pound, so it’s easy for servers to carry for their entire shift.

Integrations include third-party delivery integrations like DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats, plus API integrations with dozens of apps like Shogo, Restaurant365, Punchh, Paytronix, and Tenzo.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • 24-hour battery life
  • Cloud-based data storage
  • Durable hardware

Cons:

  • More expensive than alternatives
  • Hardware design is plain and boxy

Best for large restaurant chains

  • Free demo available
  • From $99/month.
Visit Website
Rating: 4.2/5

Revel’s POS software and hardware are specifically designed with multi-store POS in mind. They provide what’s needed to handle the demands of a large restaurant chain and tie everything together.

Why I picked Revel: Revel has several POS hardware options to choose from, like self-serve kiosks, integrated scales, and WiFi access points, and they come pre-configured.

Revel Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include “always on mode”, which allows you to take payments uninterrupted whether offline or on a local network. Swiped payments taken offline are automatically queued and processed once your connection comes back. The offline mode can be disabled if you prefer.

Revel’s POS systems use PCI-compliant cloud technology and point-to-point encryption, so both your sensitive business data and customer information is kept safe.

“Conversational ordering” on Revel POS terminals provides an intuitive flow for entering orders in the way that your customers actually say them out loud.

I think large companies will also appreciate Revel’s inventory management features, as well as its reporting and analytics tools.

Revel integrates with dozens of other tools, such as Quickbooks, Restaurant365, Shogo, CheckMate, CrunchTime, Davo Automated Sales Tax, Delphi Display Systems, Grubhub, Moneris, Paytronix, and more.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Pre-configured hardware
  • Tons of integrations
  • Financial reporting and analytics

Cons:

  • Expensive onboarding and implementation
  • Overkill for small businesses

Best for customization

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $99 per month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.1/5

Lightspeed lets you mix and match to create the POS setup you want.

Why I picked Lightspeed: They offer both an iPad POS hardware kit and a desktop hardware kit. Based on your business, you can decide if it makes more sense to have an iPad that you can remove from its stand and walk around the store with or, if you prefer, a securely mounted monitor.

Lightspeed Standout Features and Integrations:

Features of the iPad hardware kit include a LAN receipt printer, cash drawer, Bluetooth scanner, and iPad stand.

However, you should note that the iPad or payment terminal are not included in these kits. You can buy other individual accessories like POS terminals and mobile tap terminals separately.

I like that you can review your shipment history to see individual purchase orders and whether part or all of your order was received and look into any variances between purchase order amounts and the final invoice cost.

Integrations Xero, Shogo, and QuickBooks for accounting; Tenzo, RetailNext, and SMS Storetraffic for analytics; and Accumula, Kosmos eSync, and Restaurant365 for ERP.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Broad use across retail, restaurant, and golf businesses
  • Integrates with many other tools
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Lacks in-depth reporting
  • Pricing is not transparent
Tools Price
Stax Pay From $99/month
Shopify POS Plans start at $31/month
Helcim From 0.50% + $0.25 per transaction
Clover From 2.3% + $0.1 per transaction
Merchant One From $13.95 plus 0.29% + 1.55% per transaction
Shopify From $29/month (billed annually)
Square From $36/month plus 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Toast From $0 per month plus 2.6% + $0.10 per card transaction.
Revel Systems From $99/month.
Lightspeed From $99 per month
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

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Other Options

While the following POS terminals didn’t make it onto my top 10 list, these alternative options that I came across in my research are still worth considering if none of the above options jumped out as the right choice for you.

  1. Epos Now

    Best for the hospitality industry

  2. CardPointe

    Best for range of payment methods

  3. GoDaddy Poynt

    Best analytics features

  4. PayPal Zettle

    Best option with no monthly fee

  5. TouchBistro

    Best for restaurants

  6. Heartland

    Best for apparel and fashion retailers

  7. ProMerchant

    Best for transparent pricing

  8. Payment Depot

    Best for high-volume businesses in various industries

  9. eHopper

    Best mobile terminal

  10. IT Retail

    Best for grocery stores

Selection Criteria For POS Terminals

Here’s a short summary of the evaluation criteria that I used to determine the best POS terminals for this article:

Core Functionality

First, I evaluated and compared a wide range of POS terminals to see what basic functionality they had in common, and then made sure each terminal met these criteria before making it onto my shortlist.

  • Accept customer payments
  • Print or email receipts to customers
  • Serve as a sales transaction summary
  • Document transaction details

Key Features

To deliver the core functionality that I’ve outlined above, here are some key features that I think all modern POS terminals need to have

  • Ability to process all types of card payments: Terminals should support customers swiping their card, inserting their card and entering a PIN, or tapping. Support for Google Pay and Apple Pay is also a definite plus.
  • Customer loyalty and reward programs: This can be supported natively or through integration with third-party applications.
  • Reporting and analytics: An all-in-one terminal should let you review this data without having to switch to a desktop.
  • Security and compliance: End-to-end encryption is a must-have, especially when data is being transmitted wirelessly or stored in the cloud.
  • Mobile accessibility: The ability to check on your business or accept payments while you’re on the road is a must-have feature for many businesses that don’t have a traditional storefront.
  • Multi-store support: Larger businesses will need to have all of their POS transactions synced and stored in a central database. Terminals need a way to transmit their sales information back to the head office.

Usability

I prioritized POS terminals that would be quick and easy to set up and configure.

These devices are going to be used by people from all walks of life. It’s critical that they have user-friendly interfaces on the customer side, as well as intuitive workflows to minimize the learning curve for employees.

Value for Money

What you get for your money can vary widely with POS terminals. Your business size and industry will determine the caliber and type of system you need.

Small businesses likely want to minimize their upfront costs with an inexpensive terminal in exchange for fewer features. Larger companies probably won’t mind the higher upfront cost of a pre-configured, fully-equipped system.

POS terminal prices can range anywhere from $100 to several thousand dollars.

A basic countertop terminal with simple functionality will be the cheapest, while an all-in-one POS system with more features will have a higher price tag.

To determine the total cost of using your POS terminal, you’ll also need to factor in transaction fees and monthly fees as well.

People Also Ask

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about POS terminals:

What different types of POS terminals are there?

  • Countertop terminals are the traditional stationary POS terminal that you’d expect to find at a cashier or checkout counter.
  • Mobile or wireless terminals typically have built-in barcode scanners and printers, which makes them ideal for delivery services, food trucks, and trade shows.
  • Tablet-based systems use iPads or Android tablets as their primary interface and usually pair with accessories like card readers and wireless printers.

What POS terminal does Walmart / McDonald’s / Starbucks / Disney use?

  • Most Fortune 500 companies have their own custom POS solution, rather than relying on external vendors.
  • For example, Walmart uses SUSE Linux Enterprise Point-of-Service (SLEPOS), which is an open-source operating system for POS client devices.
  • Disney uses a custom POS machine called the PX7 Retail Multilane Terminal. Starbucks uses Oracle Symphony, and McDonald’s uses NewPOS NP6.

How do I choose the right POS terminal for my business?

Selecting a POS terminal is a big decision, and you’ll need to look at several factors, including:

  • What payment options does it support?
  • Is this POS terminal scalable as your business grows?
  • How easy is it to use?
  • What other apps and softwares does it integrate with?
  • What support and maintenance does the vendor provide?

Other Accounting and Finance Software Reviews

If you’re in the market for another business tool or software too, check out some of our other reviews:

Online Accounting Software

Accounts Payable Automation Software

Credit Card Processing Companies

Point Of Sale Systems

Mobile POS Systems

Conclusion

A good POS terminal helps to make the process of processing payments a fast and frictionless one.

After reading through the options I’ve presented here, hopefully, you have a better understanding of the different options and you’re closer to finding one that’s a good fit for your team.

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By Simon Litt

Simon Litt is the Editor of The CFO Club, where he shares his passion for all things money-related. Performing research, talking to experts, and calling on his own professional background, he'll be working hard to ensure that The CFO Club is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to stay informed on the latest financial trends and topics in the world of tech.

Prior to editing this publication, Simon spent years working in, and running his own, investor relations agency, servicing public companies that wanted to reach and connect deeper with their shareholder base. Simon's experience includes constructing comprehensive budgets for IR activities, consulting CEOs & executive teams on best practices for the public markets, and facilitating compliant communications training.