Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

Best POS Systems for 2021

By Lori Fairbanks,
Business News Daily Writer
|
Nov 19, 2020

Here are the best POS systems for small businesses in 2021, including point-of-sale solutions for retail stores, restaurants and mobile businesses.
Featured Sponsor
Contactless ordering and payments
Commission-free online ordering
Integrated partner ecosystem
Best POS System for Retail
Pricing: $99-$129 per month, based on annual payment
Devices: iPad
Support: 24/7 phone, email and chat support
Best Mobile POS System for iPad
Pricing: Starts at $59-$69 per month, based on annual payment
Devices: iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch
Support: 24/7 phone, email and chat support
Best POS System for Restaurants
Pricing: Starts at $69 per month, based on annual payment
Devices: iPad and Apple AirPort router
Support: 24/7 phone and email support
Best All-in-One POS System for Small Business
Pricing: $39-$69 per month
Devices: iPads, Android tablets, Macs and PCs
Support: Email and chat support; 24/7 phone support with Premium plan
Here are the best POS systems for small businesses in 2021, including point-of-sale solutions for retail stores, restaurants and mobile businesses.
Updated 11/19/20

Lightspeed has acquired cloud-based POS solution ShopKeep Inc. We've updated our Lightspeed review with details about the sale and what it means for ShopKeep customers.

Your small business needs more than a cash register to ring up sales and accept payments. You need a point-of-sale system that records sales data, manages inventory, generates reports and stores customer contact data. Whether you're in the market for your first POS system or ready to upgrade to a new one, it's challenging to decide which one will be the right fit for your business. As we evaluated more than 100 POS systems to find the best options for small businesses, we looked for affordable, cloud-based solutions that are easy to install, set up and use. Read on to learn about the POS systems we picked, then check our guide for tips on accepting credit cards.

Find the Right POS System for Your Business

Fill out this questionnaire to find vendors that meet your needs.

Reviews

Toast: Featured Sponsor

Toast is an all-in-one point of sale and restaurant management platform that includes front-of-house, back-of-house, and guest-facing technology. More specifically, Toast helps busy restaurant staff bridge the gaps between point of sale, payment processing, marketing, labor management, online ordering and more. Toast's partner network also allows users to tap into numerous third-party applications as needed. In sum, Toast's technology is designed to help you grow your business, provide contactless off-premises dining solutions, manage your team, and build your vision for the future. Toast serves establishments of all sizes, including fine and casual dining, fast casual, bars and nightclubs, cafes and bakeries, and multilocation restaurant groups.

Vend: Vend

Visit Site
Vend has everything you need to run and grow a brick-and-mortar store. Beyond processing transactions, it has real-time reports, inventory management features, and access to various integrations that can help you run your business, save time and boost sales. This POS software is suitable for nearly every type of retailer. Whether you run a clothing store, a sporting goods store, or a specialty service-based business such as a car wash or computer shop, Vend has the features you need.
Read Review

Lightspeed: Lightspeed

Lightspeed is an iPad POS system that has solutions for retail stores, restaurants and online businesses. It's fully mobile, so you can check inventory from anywhere in the store, show customers product images and descriptions, and ring up orders and accept payments on the sales floor or, for restaurants, tableside. Lightspeed has month-to-month and annual service contracts available, gives you a choice of credit card processors, and works with third-party POS equipment. It also integrates with numerous third-party apps, allowing you to customize the system to fit your business.

November 2020: Lightspeed is expanding its presence in the POS and e-commerce market, recently acquiring ShopKeep Inc., a cloud-based iPad POS system. According to Lightspeed, following the sale, it will serve more than 100,000 customer locations around the globe and process $33 billion in gross transaction volume. The acquisition of ShopKeep expands Lightspeed's market share in the U.S., enabling it to increase investments in research and development. For ShopKeep customers, they will have access to Lightspeed's analytics, loyalty, e-commerce, and payment features.

October 2020: Lightspeed has launched Order Ahead, an online order management system that enables North American restaurants to offer their customers a variety of pickup and delivery choices. Online orders automatically appear in the Lightspeed POS, and merchants can send real-time status updates via text. Order Ahead integrates with Lightspeed eCom for Restaurant and supports contactless payments.
Read Review

TouchBistro: TouchBistro

TouchBistro is a simple and affordable POS system that focuses on the unique needs of restaurant owners, with table, reservation and delivery management features. It's suitable for all types of food establishments – fine dining, casual eateries, cafes, pubs, food trucks and more. It has month-to-month subscriptions, offers a choice of payment processors, and runs on the iPad, iPad Pro and iPad Mini, giving you flexibility and mobility, no matter which type of restaurant you own. TouchBistro offers 24/7 phone and email support, video tutorials, and setup guides.
Read Review

Epos Now: Epos Now

Epos Now is an affordable, versatile POS system that nearly every type of business can use. Both retail and hospitality versions of the software are available, each with a robust selection of features to help you run your business. It also has more than 80 integrations, so you can add extra capabilities and connect to the business programs you already use. Epos Now gives you a choice of payment providers, is compatible with third-party POS hardware, and runs on iPads, Android tablets, Macs and PCs – making it highly likely you can use the tablets, computers and POS equipment you already own.
Read Review

The best POS systems do more than just process sales and accept payments. They make it easier to run your entire business, with features that help you analyze sales data, track inventory, connect with customers and manage employees. They include or have integrations for email marketing, loyalty programs, and other capabilities that streamline processes and save you time. The best POS vendors provide reliable customer support that you can contact around the clock, so even if your business keeps irregular hours or you're working late, you can receive help when you need it. 

As you compare POS machines and software, look for systems that give you maximum flexibility, with month-to-month software subscriptions, a choice of payment processors and compatibility with third-party POS hardware that you can purchase upfront. This way, you're not locked into a system or a lease for several years, but can instead switch out whatever parts of the system you want, when you want – whether you are missing features, feel services aren't meeting your expectations or find a better deal elsewhere.

May 2020: Does your POS system allow you to accept contactless payments? If not, you may want to upgrade. A new survey conducted by RTi Research reports that fear of catching COVID-19 has driven 30% of the U.S. consumers it polled to begin using contactless credit cards, smartphones and wearables for the first time. Citing an "increased perception of cash as a transmitter of germs," nearly 25% of consumers said they will continue using cashless payments after the pandemic. Additionally, researchers said that after the pandemic, 20% of consumers will continue using other "newfound conveniences," such as online grocery ordering and food delivery.

How to Decide on a POS System for Your Business

Before you choose a POS system, you need to determine what type of system you need, what features you require and how much you can afford to spend. Ask yourself the following questions to help you narrow down your options. 

Do you want a cloud-based or server-based system?

Cloud-hosted POS systems that run on tablets are popular because they're mobile, easy to use and generally less expensive than other options. They allow you to access your reports and other back-office features from any device with a web browser, so you can keep tabs on your business and accomplish management tasks from anywhere. They also host your data in the cloud, so you don't need to set up, maintain and secure a local server. If you don't have reliable internet access, though, you may need to opt for a server-based system instead. 

Server-based POS systems, also called onsite or on-premises POS systems, are installed on your server and host your data locally instead of in the cloud. As mentioned above, the advantage of this type of system is that you don't need the internet to run it. But as a result, security and backups are your responsibility with this type of system, so you may have additional IT and maintenance costs. 

Do you need retail or restaurant POS software?

Most POS providers have one version of software for retailers and another for restaurants. Some also have a version for service-based businesses, but they often just offer integrations or add-ons to make the retail version suitable for this business type. Other POS providers specialize in one vertical, only offering retail POS software or restaurant POS software. 

Do you prefer Apple or Android devices?

Some mobile POS systems work on both Android and iOS devices, and some – like Epos Now – even allow you to use both. Others are platform-specific, so they only work with iOS devices – iPads, iPhones, iPods and Mac computers – or with Android tablets and PCs. 

Most platform-specific systems are iPad-based, as these are known for being user-friendly, stable and secure. Amongst our reviews, TouchBistro, Vend, Lightspeed and Revel are all iPad-based systems. But only one company makes iOS devices, so they're usually more expensive than Android devices that are available from several different brands. 

Even though more consumers use Android than Apple devices, Android devices are generally less expensive, and developers enjoy the greater customization that the Android platform allows, there are only a few Android POS systems, such as Toast, so your options are more limited. 

Which POS System Features Are the Most Important for Your Business?

In addition to cash register features that allow you to process sales and accept payments, the best POS systems have capabilities that make it easier to run your entire business. Here are some of the feature sets you should look for in a POS solution. 

Reporting

All POS systems have reporting capabilities, but some are basic, with just a handful of preconfigured reports and limited customization, while others are advanced, with dozens of reporting options and filters to help you analyze data for your sales, inventory, customers and staff. The best systems have real-time reports that you can access from any device with a browser or with a mobile app. Before purchasing a POS system, make sure it includes the specific reports that you need to run your business efficiently. 

Inventory Management

Very basic POS systems may only support a product catalog, while others can track inventory on a component or ingredient level. Some systems include purchase ordering and vendor management features to simplify reordering. Consider whether standard inventory tools will meet your needs or if you need advanced features to keep your business well stocked. 

Customer Management

POS systems have varying customer management features. Some allow you to capture basic information, like email addresses that you can use for your email marketing campaigns, while others have capable customer relationship management (CRM) features that you can use to create customer profiles that include contact information, purchase histories, preferences, birthdays and notes. You'll want to make sure the system you choose supports the depth of customer information you need to deliver quality customer service. 

Employee Management

Most POS systems allow you to add your employees to the system and manage their access to various features and information. Some have role-based access controls, while others allow you to customize the controls for each employee. Some have timeclocks built in so your employees can use the POS system to clock in and out. Some track employee sales or manage tips. Decide how you want your employees to access the POS system and what types of employee data you want it to track. 

Add-ons and Integrations

Many POS systems have add-on features that are available for an extra monthly fee, such as loyalty programs, gift cards, reservation systems, advanced real-time inventory management or advanced reporting. The best POS systems also have integrations you can use to augment their capabilities or to connect the POS system to the other business applications you use, such as accounting, payroll and email marketing software. When you're comparing systems and features, there may be times when you need to calculate whether it's less expensive to choose the higher tier of one system to get a feature or to purchase an add-on to get the same function on a different system. 

 

POS Systems Price

As you evaluate and compare POS systems, you need to look at the costs for each part of the system: POS software, POS hardware and payment processing

POS Software Costs

There's a lot of variance in pricing for cloud-based POS software. Some POS providers – like Square and PayPal – offer free software as long as you use their credit card processing services, and others charge hundreds of dollars per month. 

Most POS providers give you several service tiers to choose from, with basic, standard and premium tiers that vary in features or the number of users they support. For quality, full-featured POS software that gives you a choice of payment processor and doesn't require a long-term contract, starting tiers range from $40 to $100 per month for one register. 

Because each POS company offers different features with each tier, it's tricky to compare systems, since you first need to decide which tier you need for each system. There may be times when a basic tier for one system includes the features you need, but you may need the premium tier of another system to get that specific feature. 

POS Hardware Costs

When it comes to POS hardware, the first thing you want to find out is if the system works with third-party hardware or if it's proprietary. The advantage of working with POS providers that are compatible with third-party hardware is that if you decide to switch POS software providers, you may still be able to continue using your hardware – saving yourself the money of purchasing a whole new system. 

The second thing you want to find out is if the system is scalable. You want to be able to start out with just a few basic pieces and add peripherals or additional registers as your business grows. For example, if you have a new or very small business, you may only need your tablet (or even your phone) with the POS app installed on it and a card reader, allowing you to accept payments and then email receipts to your customers. 

You could also start out with the peripherals you need to create a basic checkout station with a tablet, stand, receipt printer, cash drawer and card reader. If you already own a tablet, this setup usually costs between $600 and $1,000. 

As your business and budget grow, you can add equipment like barcode scanners, scales, display screens, kitchen printers and even additional registers. Some POS systems can also scale up to support multiple locations. 

Payment Processing Costs

Credit card processing costs can be significant, so it's important to choose a POS system that gives you a choice of credit card processing companies. This allows you to compare rates, fees, and terms and choose the third-party processor that offers you the best deal. If your POS vendor makes you use a certain credit card processor, even if your rates increase or you have problems with that processor, you're stuck with it – unless you go to the trouble and expense of switching out your entire POS system instead of just the processor. 

Several POS companies have in-house payment processing services – which makes integration easy – but some of those companies require you either to use it with their POS system or to pay an additional monthly fee or additional percentage of each sale if you use a different processor. No matter which processor you choose, you should be able to accept EMV chip cards and NFC payments, such as Android Pay and Apple Pay.

Features and Factors to Consider When Choosing a POS System

A lot of factors can contribute to your overall satisfaction with your purchase and how much you end up paying for it. Here are some points to consider. 

Does the POS system give you maximum flexibility?

As you compare POS machines and software, look for POS providers that offer month-to-month software subscriptions, a choice of payment processors and compatibility with third-party POS hardware that you can purchase upfront. This way, you're not locked into a system or a lease for several years; instead, you can switch out whatever parts of the system you want, when you want – whether you are missing features, feel services aren't meeting your expectations or find a better deal elsewhere. 

Does the POS provider offer reliable customer support?

You should be able to contact your POS provider around the clock so you can receive help when you need it, even if your business keeps irregular hours or you're working late. 

Is it cheaper to choose a POS SaaS vs. licenses?

As in other software industries, many POS vendors have cloud-based SaaS (software as a service) subscription plans. These tend to be the most affordable options. This type of plan usually includes customer support and regular updates, so you'll always have the most up-to-date version of the software. If you choose to purchase a software license instead, you pay a large upfront fee for the license, a monthly fee for maintenance and customer support, and an annual update fee. 

What is the term length of the POS software plan?

Month-to-month software subscriptions are the best option, especially when you first begin using a system. If you decide that the system isn't a good fit for your business, you can cancel your subscription relatively easily. Some companies charge more for monthly plans or offer a discount if you pay in advance annually. Before you take the discount, though, use the software long enough to feel comfortable with it and confident that you'll continue using it for at least a year so you won't be locked into a system you don't like. 

Should I buy or lease my POS hardware?

Plan to buy your equipment, even if that means starting with a very basic setup that you add to as you can afford it. This will save you money and frustration. Some vendors offer "free" POS hardware if you sign a contract, or give you the option of leasing or renting POS equipment rather than buying so you pay less upfront. As attractive as these options are, it's going to cost you more over the life of the contract or lease – often many times more – than if you buy the POS equipment upfront. 

If you decide to lease or accept free equipment, the terms are usually three to five years and noncancelable – so even if you sell or close your business and return the equipment, you must continue paying on it until the contract or lease expires. Then, if the contract or lease has an automatic renewal clause (and most do), you have a very short timeframe to cancel – usually 30 days, and in writing – before the contract or lease renews for another year (or three, or five). 

Are there setup and installation costs?

Some vendors charge a fee to help you get your POS system up and running. This ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the scope of the work and whether it's remote or onsite. If you choose a tablet POS system, this is usually an optional service. Installation services may include configuring hardware, migrating data, or setting up your product catalog or menu. Many companies also offer training services, which may be included with an installation package or available as a separate service. 

Are integrations free, or do they cost extra?

If you plan to integrate your POS system with other software and services – such as accounting software, CMS platforms, customer loyalty programs and appointment management apps – you'll want to find out ahead of time if the integration costs extra, and whether it's a one-time or recurring fee.

Frequently Asked Questions About POS Systems

What is a point-of-sale system?

A point-of-sale (POS) system is used to record the products or services a customer intends to purchase, add up the items' cost, calculate tax, accept payment, and generate a receipt. It differs from a cash register in that it has advanced features that make it easier for you to manage sales data, inventory, customers and employees. POS systems have three parts: software, hardware and a credit card processor. 

What is point-of-sale software?

POS software is the "brains" of your POS system. Most POS systems have software you install on tablets using mobile apps, as well as cloud-based software you access using a device with a web browser. POS software is designed for either retail or hospitality businesses, though some vendors offer solutions for both. Additionally, most vendors offer multiple POS plans, with service levels based either on the number of registers you need and how many people will be using the system or on the included features. 

What is point-of-sale hardware? How many register terminals does each location require?

A typical POS terminal has either a tablet, touchscreen or computer monitor, as well as a cash drawer, credit card reader and receipt printer. A retail POS system may also include a barcode scanner and customer-facing screen. Other peripherals, such as scales, kitchen printers and kitchen display systems (KDS), are often available. 

The number of registers, or POS terminals, that each location requires depends on the specific needs of your business. A single POS terminal may be enough for small and new businesses, but you may want to add more if your business is busy and you need to reduce wait times. 

Which POS systems are the least expensive to integrate?

Cloud-based systems are usually the least expensive to integrate because they're plug-and-play – all you have to do is connect to the internet and download an app. You don't have to purchase, set up and maintain a server. 

Which POS systems are the easiest to use?

POS systems that run on iPads or Android tablets tend to be the easiest to use, because they're designed to be intuitive and most users are already familiar and comfortable with this technology. Before you buy a POS system, make sure it's easy for you to use. Sign up for a free demo to learn how to use the major features. Have a list of the features you need on hand so you can ask the sales rep to show you how to use them. 

Not all POS providers offer a free trial, but you should look for a company that does. It's a big purchase, so it's important to feel confident that the system has all the features you need and is easy to use – so it makes your business easier to run instead of harder. 

What credit card processors work with POS systems? If I buy a POS system, does that make me PCI compliant?

The best POS systems integrate with multiple credit card processing services so you can shop around for the best value. However, some vendors offer their own credit card processing service and bundle it with their POS software and hardware. 

There are multiple factors in PCI compliance, including the POS system and credit card processing service you use, whether your business stores cardholder data, and whether your network and internet connection are secure. Your credit card processor can help you with PCI compliance; you will likely need to complete an annual PCI self-assessment questionnaire and may also need to submit to system scans. 

When does your business need a point-of-sale system?

As soon as you begin selling goods or services in person, your business needs a POS system, no matter how small your operation is. A POS system makes the checkout experience easier and faster for both your cashier and your customer, reducing the time it takes to ring up a sale and decreasing human errors such as miscalculations. 

It helps with inventory management, tracking the items you have in stock, and some can even assist with purchase orders. POS systems with advanced inventory management tools can track sales from both your e-commerce platform and your physical retail store in real time, or across multiple locations. 

Real-time reporting gives insight into your ROI, showing which items are your best and worst sellers, so you can reorder popular items and offer promotions on those that are underperforming. It can also help you identify your busy and slow hours, days, and seasons so you can optimize how you staff your business. 

What security concerns should you think about in a POS system?

Before you buy a POS system, you want to ask the company what security protocols it has in place. Ask these questions:  

  • How do you store my data?
  • How often do you back up your servers?
  • How physically secure are your servers? 

If the POS provider also handles your credit card processing, make sure it is PCI compliant. You also want to make sure you use an EMV-compliant card reader so you can properly accept chip cards and avoid liability for fraud. 

Finally, you want to find out if the POS system lets you assign unique passcodes to each user and allows you to restrict employee access. This can help your POS system play an important role in reducing theft at your business, as it records every transaction – including who was logged in to the system – and you can choose whether or not a manager must approve returns and voids. Also look for shift reports and blind cash reconciliation, as they discourage employees from stealing from the cash drawer.

What payment methods can a POS system accept?

In addition to cash, the payment methods you can accept using a POS system depends on the credit card processing service you use. Whether you use the POS provider's in-house processing service or work with a third-party provider will play a role on the payment methods you can accept. Nearly all processors enable you to accept cards from all major brands: Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. 

As for how you can accept card payments, that depends on your card reader or credit card terminal – which may be integrated with your POS system or used alongside it. Most card readers allow you to swipe magstripe cards and are EMV compliant, so you can accept chip cards as well. Many also have NFC capabilities that allow you to accept contactless payments from contactless credit cards, smartphones and wearables. 

Is there a free POS system?

Yes, there are free POS systems available – but there are strings attached. If you work with a credit card processing company like Square or PayPal, basic POS software is included as part of your processing service – the catch is that you must use this company as your processor, though this may not be a big deal if you were planning to use the company anyway. 

Then, there are POS providers that offer free hardware – but in addition to locking you in to using their processing services, they require you to sign a three- to five-year contract as they expect to recoup the costs of the system from your processing fees. These contracts are usually noncancelable and automatically renew with just a 30-day window at the end of your term in which you can cancel. 

The company may also charge you fees on your "free" equipment – like a monthly "insurance fee" or "equipment maintenance fee" – and when you close your account, you may find that the equipment was actually just "free to use" and be required to return it. You'll also pay a monthly fee for the POS software in most cases.

Q: How do POS systems make money?

A: The companies that provide POS systems make money in different ways. Many charge their merchants for the POS software and hardware and tack on more fees for additional services. These may include a loyalty program, support for gift cards or integrations with other software. If your business requires multiple POS systems, you could be charged for each additional one.

POS companies that act as a payment processor also make money from credit card transaction fees. Even among those that don't process payments, some will tack on small per-transaction fees.

Q: What is the difference between a POS system and a payment processor?

A: A POS system includes both the software that runs the point-of-sale program and the hardware, or the physical machines that the POS software runs on. It's where the action happens when a customer wants to make a purchase in a physical location. A POS system is much more than just a means to accept payments; it's a hub that helps businesses keep tabs on sales, customer relationships and inventory.

Payment processors are the companies that handle your customers' credit card transactions at the point of sale. The payment processor sends information from a customer's credit card or debit card to your bank and their bank to facilitate payment. If the funds are available, the transaction will go through. Payment processors also undertake fraud checks to ensure the payment and person making it are legitimate. It sounds like a lot of work, but payment processors run these checks in just a few seconds.

Our Methodology

To help you find the right POS systems, we researched and analyzed more than 100 options. Here is a roundup of our 2020 best picks for POS systems and an explanation of how we chose them.

Locating the Best Services

To find the best POS systems for small businesses, we asked small business owners which systems they use and what they like and dislike about them. We then compiled a comprehensive list of POS systems from several sources. We listed the POS systems we were familiar with from our previous research, those mentioned by the small business owners, and systems from companies that reached out to us and asked us to consider them. We also looked on reputable customer research, review and business websites to find additional POS systems to consider.

Choosing the Best Services

We then conducted additional research on the remaining vendors and narrowed our list further, based on use cases for the best-pick categories above. Our process included trying out demos, watching video tutorials, and reviewing how-to guides, installation manuals, articles and other available resources. Additionally, we contacted vendors and asked several questions as small business owners in the market for a new POS system.

Researching Each Service

List in hand, we began our research. We browsed each vendor's website to learn about each system and read customer reviews to see what users with firsthand experience think about their POS systems. We began narrowing our list based on qualities that industry experts and small business owners value.

What to Expect in 2020

The customer experience is paramount in 2020, and merchants will be looking for POS systems that help them better cater to their customers. One capability they'll look for is a unified commerce platform that allows them to offer customers a seamless shopping experience that spans in-person, online and mobile channels. The other feature they'll look for in a POS system is the ability to offer customers the convenience of unattended ordering and checkout options. 

Unified Commerce for Retail and Restaurant Businesses

Move over, multichannel and omnichannel commerce. Unified commerce is the next buzzword in POS systems. Unified commerce is like multichannel and omnichannel solutions in that the goal is to create a cross-channel ordering and purchasing experience that makes it easy for customers to make purchases how, where, and when they want with minimal friction. A BPR study found that 87% of shoppers "want a personalized and consistent experience across all shopping channels." 

Speaking to eMarketer, BRP partner and co-founder Ken Morris explained how unified commerce is different. "In omnichannel, you have multiple channels, but you don't have one piece of software, one version of the truth: You have many versions of the truth. In the unified commerce world, it's all connected in real time." 

The advantage to businesses that provide a unified commerce experience to their customers is that omnichannel customers spend more than single-channel customers. Here's what this might look like in a retail setting: Your customer, Joe, needs new shoes. At home on his computer, he pulls up your website, finds a pair he likes and puts them in his shopping cart. When he's at work the next day, he decides he wants them and opens your app on his phone, where he finds the shoes waiting in his cart. He purchases them but doesn't want to pay for shipping, so he chooses the in-store pickup option. On the way home from work, he stops by your store and picks them up. 

Unattended POS Systems

Consumers enjoy the convenience and novelty of self-ordering and self-checkout technology. Small businesses – including both retail stores and restaurants – can implement this technology now with POS systems that have kiosk and mobile features. With a kiosk module, you can set up tablets as self-service kiosks that customers can use at restaurants to place and pay for their orders and at retail businesses to scan and pay for their items. Mobile features use apps or mobile-friendly websites to allow customers to place orders or make purchases remotely using their phones, tablets or computers. 

For customers, POS kiosks are novel and fun, usually with shorter lines, and mobile ordering and purchasing saves them time. These options may also encourage your customers to spend more money at your business. Quick-service restaurants have found that, on average, customers spend 20% more when they use kiosks to place their orders. 

For merchants, unattended POS systems offer an effective strategy for managing rising labor costs, as they allow one cashier to monitor customers using multiple self-serve POS kiosks instead of ringing up orders at a single station.  

How are POS systems expected to change in the next five years?

Global Payments, one of the biggest credit card processors in the world, says unattended retail is the future of POS systems and predicts that it will become a $13 billion industry over the next five years. The cashierless POS trend is taken to the extreme in aspirational retail stores like Amazon Go that give us a sneak preview of what the future of retail and the checkout experience might look like. It uses an app on customers' phones plus in-store cameras, sensors, RFID, and AI to detect what customers carry out of the store and then automatically charges their credit cards.

Coronavirus Impact 

June 2020: It's no surprise that the coronavirus has disrupted consumer spending patterns, and eMarketer says the impact has eclipsed even the Great Recession of 2008. It has updated its forecasts to predict that "total U.S. retail spending will decline 10.5% to $4.894 trillion." 

Despite the overall drop in spending, U.S. consumers have increased their online spending, with e-commerce sales expected to rise 18%. If you have a brick-and-mortar store and haven't yet added e-commerce capabilities to your system, it's a move worth considering, especially as several POS providers are still offering promotions on their e-commerce add-ons (including two of our best picks, Lightspeed and TouchBistro).

Full List of POS Systems

Acme Point of Sale from Total BusinessWare Inc. is an on-premises POS system built for specialty retailers such as grocery, hardware, hobby and pet stores. It's an affordable POS system with a complete back-office solution built into the software. It works with all major credit card processors and POS equipment.
Aireus is an advanced iPad POS system for midsize and large restaurants. Besides floor features like tableside ordering and payment acceptance, happy-hour mode, and bill splitting, it comes with back-end features like reports, built-in CRM software, a timeclock with payroll exporting, offline mode and web orders. Custom solutions are available.
Aldelo Express is an iPad POS solution for bars, restaurants, retail shops and professional service providers. The cloud-based software is free if you decide to use Aldelo Pay as your payment processor, or you can pay a monthly fee and use the software with the payment processor of your choice. The company also offers Aldelo Restaurant POS for small and midsize restaurants that prefer a Windows-based POS system.
Alice POS is an all-in-one, cloud-based POS system for independent retailers as well as those with multiple locations, such as chains, franchises and buying groups. It offers a choice of month-to-month or annual subscription plans for its POS software, and all of its plans support an unlimited number of users, customers and products.
Ambur is an iPad POS system for restaurants that also works on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Like many tablet-based systems, Ambur charges a monthly subscription fee, with three tiers based on the number of devices you add to the system. A discount is available with annual prepayment. Ambur also sells POS hardware, including iPads.
Bepoz provides POS systems to businesses in multiple industries, including restaurants, retail and hotels. It can be used by businesses with a single location or thousands, and it can link with accounting programs, property management systems, gaming and casino systems, and liquor dispensing systems. It has month-to-month subscriptions for its software and provides 24/7 customer support.
Big Hairy Dog Information Systems is a reseller that offers Retail Pro and QuickBooks POS software as well as hardware, supplies, implementation and training services, and technical support. It works with specialty retailers in the United States and Canada.
Based in Lebanon, BIM POS offers POS software and hardware solutions to retail and restaurant businesses in more than 16 countries. It offers the Masterdine POS for restaurants and the STORCheck POS for retailers. Features include real-time inventory tracking, an integrated loyalty program, and a multilingual feature that displays the interface in the preferred language of the employee who is signed in to the system.
Bindo comes with a bevy of tools to help you process transactions and run your business straight from your iPad, all at a friendly price for small businesses. It can be used by retail, restaurant, and salon businesses with one or multiple locations, and it has an inventory database, e-commerce solutions, a built-in timeclock and 24/7 customer support.
Bluestore is a simple and affordable POS system that works on different types of hardware, including iPads. Its plans support unlimited products, users and customers. Updates and maintenance are included in the low month-to-month subscription fee. The company is based in the U.K., but the POS system is available to U.S. customers.
Brilliant POS is a reseller that offers Clover, Cash Register Express, and Restaurant Pro Express software along with hardware, setup, training, and support. E-commerce solutions are also available from this company. It works with many business types, including retail and grocery stores, bars and restaurants, and salons. It provides its merchants with account managers and 24/7 support.
Cashier Live bills itself as smart online POS software for retailers. With web-based access and an iPhone and iPad app, Cashier Live is available seamlessly across a variety of devices. The software helps you quickly ring up sales, track inventory, manage employees, access data, generate reports and more. Cashier Live works for all retail stores, but it has special features for boutiques, hardware stores and pharmacies.
Comcash offers cloud-based POS software for retailers and a mobile POS app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that can be used as a line buster in retail stores or to take orders tableside in restaurants. It also offers e-commerce, CRM, mobile inventory and retail ERP solutions.
Computer Information Services (CIS) has all-in-one POS systems for restaurants, retailers, and specialty shops such as butchers, fashion boutiques, pharmacies, firearms, bookstores and pizzerias. Headquartered in Pakistan, the company also has offices in Texas, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.
Cumulus Retail from Celerant Technology is cloud-based POS software for smaller retailers. It has features for inventory, CRM, loyalty programs, promotions, reports and e-commerce. It integrates with third-party software such as QuickBooks and Shopify, and marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Walmart. It gives you a choice of payment processors.
Denali, the on-premises accounting system from Cougar Mountain Software, can be used by businesses of all sizes, including those with multiple locations. The software is modular, allowing you to customize it with just the features you need. Modules include payroll, inventory and POS. POS hardware and e-commerce websites are also available from this company.
Datio POS is an iPad POS system for retail stores, salons, small cafes, quick-service eateries and full-service restaurants. The company charges a monthly subscription fee for its software, and there's no contract, so you can cancel at any time. It provides payment processing through Vantiv, and you can purchase its POS hardware either directly from the company or from Amazon.
Dinlr Waiter is a POS system for restaurants that runs on iPads and iPhones. You can take orders, manage tables and reservations, split checks, and accept payments with it. It manages inventory at the ingredient level, and its purchase-ordering system can automatically reorder supplies. Using Dinlr Table, your guests can place their own orders from iPad menus at each table.
ECR Software's Catapult is a unified POS platform for grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, and specialty food and beverage stores. It has traditional, accelerated, and self-checkout systems, as well as mobile and e-commerce solutions. Features include inventory, purchase orders, loyalty programs, gift cards, reports and multi-store management.
Enlite POS from Dark POS is designed for dry cleaning businesses with one or multiple locations. It supports automated assembly systems, emails customers when their clothes are ready for pickup, and includes the Driver Mobile App for dry cleaning delivery and laundry routes. It integrates with top payment processors, accounting and email marketing software, and social media platforms.
EposEX is an all-in-one POS solution from Ecologital, a U.K.-based software development company. It serves fashion, jewelry, grocery, and cash-and-carry retailers, as well as restaurants, pubs and bars, nightclubs, wellness centers, and wholesale businesses. Its POS systems include inventory management, delivery tracking, time tracking and marketing tools.
Erply is cloud-hybrid POS software for retailers; it suits independent stores as well as large chains. It runs on iPads and Android tablets, or any other device with a browser. It offers several plans, a choice of month-to-month or annual subscription, and is hardware agnostic.
Franpos, formerly iConnect, is a cloud-based franchise POS system that works with businesses in the beauty, retail and quick-service restaurant industries. Features include inventory, purchase ordering, booking, online ordering, loyalty programs, employee management and reporting. It runs on Android tablets and integrates with third-party software.
GiftLogic is Windows-based POS software for retailers. In addition to processing sales, GiftLogic can help you manage inventory, generate purchase orders and run reports. With its built-in CRM software, you can create customer accounts, track purchase histories and offer a rewards program. GiftLogic also has a full-featured inventory management tool with automatic reordering and discount scheduling.
GoFrugal is an ERP company that offers both retail and restaurant POS software that you can use as an on-premises system or as a web-based platform that you can access from a browser on any computer, tablet, or phone. Based in India, it's used by businesses in more than 60 countries, including the U.S. and Canada. It has integrations for e-commerce, loyalty programs and accounting software.
Gotmerchant.com provides credit card processing services and equipment to retailers, restaurants and online merchants. Its hardware options include credit card machines, wireless card readers, electronic cash registers and POS systems. It also offers touch-tone credit card processing and integration with Yahoo Merchant Solutions accounts.
Harbortouch is a Shift4 Payments company that provides POS systems and payment processing services to small businesses. It has both retail and restaurant POS systems that nearly every type of business can use. It also has a bar POS system, which is featured on the TV show "Bar Rescue."
Heartland POS (formerly Dinerware) is a Global Payments company that offers multiple retail and restaurant POS systems for small and midsize businesses. Its retail offerings include pcAmerica and LiquorPOS, and its restaurant options include Dinerware, Digital Dining and Xpient.
Hospitality Control Systems, or HCS, is a reseller that supplies Focus, SoftTouch, and CAP POS systems and Berg Liquor Control Systems to retail and hospitality businesses in Ohio, West Virginia, and western Pennsylvania. It also provides installation services and tech support.
Imonggo is a retail POS system with a free plan for startups and very small businesses, specifically those with fewer than 1,000 inventory items that sell 1,000 products or fewer per month. A paid plan that supports an unlimited number of products and transactions is also available. Imonggo is web-based, so you can access it anytime, anywhere, from any browser. Features include inventory management, sales analytics, digital receipts and loyalty programs.
Instore is an all-in-one iPad POS system for restaurants, cafes, bakeries, delis, bars and retail businesses with one or multiple locations. With Instore, you can take orders and accept payments from anywhere in your store, manage your menu or product catalog, analyze sales data, track inventory, issue gift cards, and customize receipts with coupons and special offers.
The QuickBooks POS software transforms your desktop into a powerful POS system. Besides accepting credit cards and processing sales, QuickBooks POS lets you manage inventory, nurture customer relationships and perform other tasks to manage your business. As expected, QuickBooks POS easily integrates with QuickBooks accounting solutions.
Kounta, recently acquired by Lightspeed, is a POS system that works with both Android tablets and iPads. It can be used by hospitality businesses such as restaurants, cafes, bars, food retailers and hotels. It has a strong mix of features, and integrations are available so you can connect to other business programs or augment the system's capabilities. There's no lengthy contract requirement for this system, and it's compatible with third-party hardware.
Lavu
Lavu is an iPad POS system for restaurants, food trucks, coffee shops, bars, pizzerias and other eateries. Features include order management, inventory tracking, a timeclock and sales analytics. Lavu offers a basic package for new restaurants. More established businesses can take advantage of advanced features such as kitchen display systems, digital menu boards, online ordering and self-ordering kiosks.
LivePOS is a cloud-hybrid POS solution suited for retail, service, and healthcare stores with one or multiple locations as well as franchises. In addition to register features, it has customer and employee management, inventory, and reporting tools. It also has an app marketplace and its own API, giving you plenty of options to fully customize the software. The company offers 24/7 phone support.
Loyverse is a free mobile POS system for iOS and Android devices that's packed with features to help you ring up sales and run your business. It has a user-friendly back office with a dashboard that makes it easy to access sales analytics, track inventory, manage employees and launch marketing campaigns. Loyverse is suited for retail stores, salons, restaurants and cafes.
Meridian Star is a Future POS reseller that provides software, hardware, installation, training, and support to restaurants in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. It has solutions for full- and quick-service restaurants, pizzerias, bars, and nightclubs.
MicroBiz is retail POS software that can be used by many store types, including clothing, sports, toy, pet, garden, repair, liquor and vape shops, with single or multiple locations. Cloud- and Windows-based versions of the software are available, so you can store your data in the cloud or onsite. It integrates with QuickBooks and Magento.
Designed specifically for wine, beer, and liquor stores, this POS software has inventory and customer management tools, more than 70 reports, and a built-in timeclock. It runs on Windows-based hardware, including full-service Microsoft tablets, and integrates with QuickBooks. Cloud hosting is available for a monthly fee if you prefer not to manage a local server.
NCR Counterpoint is a POS system for retailers of every size. It supports omnichannel sales and has tools for inventory management, tiered pricing, purchase ordering, analytics, and email marketing and customer loyalty programs. This system is available from resellers that provide installation, custom programming, training, support and cloud-hosted solutions.
National Retail Solutions' POS+ system is designed for small, independent retail stores. It has dual touchscreens, a cash drawer, a scanner, a receipt printer and a card reader. The software includes register features, vendor and inventory management, reports, and a loyalty program. The company also provides payment processing.
Nobly is an iPad POS system for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, delis and food trucks. Although its focus is hospitality businesses, salons and retail stores can also use it. You can use it to take orders tableside, track inventory at the ingredient level, manage customers, offer loyalty promotions and generate reports.
NorthStar from Custom Business Solutions is an iPad POS system for quick- and full-service restaurants, cafes, bars, amusement parks, and cruise lines. It has tableside, online and kiosk ordering solutions; supports multiple menus and happy hours; and has cloud-based reporting so you can accomplish back-of-house tasks anywhere you have browser access.
Oracle MICROS for Restaurants is the POS solution from the Oracle Corporation, the parent company of NetSuite. It can be used by restaurants of every size, from small establishments to enterprise chains and large entertainment venues like stadiums and theme parks. It provides POS software and hardware, including mobile options. Features include inventory and labor management, reports and analytics, scheduling, loyalty programs, a self-service kiosk, and a kitchen display system.
Ordyx is a POS system for restaurants with single or multiple locations. It tracks inventory, generates reports, and has online ordering and delivery features. It also has a customer loyalty program and integrates with several accounting, payroll, property management, and email marketing applications.
PAR Technology provides cloud-based POS systems to some of the country's most popular restaurant chains, including McDonald's, Subway, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Its Brink POS software is designed for quick-service and fast casual eateries, and its PixelPoint POS is for full-service restaurants. The company also offers payment processing through PAR Pay.
Passport POS from Gilbarco Veeder-Root is a touchscreen POS system for gas stations and convenience stores. It includes employee management, access control and reporting features. It also supports third-party loyalty programs that allow you to reward frequent customers. The company says your employees can learn to use the system in 20 minutes, and customer service is available by phone 24/7/365.
PayPal lets businesses of all sizes, including startups and microbusinesses, accept credit cards with minimal application requirements. It's affordable, has transparent pricing and terms, and is easy to use for both in-person and online transactions. It includes free, basic POS software and also integrates with many POS systems and shopping carts.
Pathfinder's POS system is designed to give retailers and restaurants data and insights based on customer purchases. The company, located in India and the UAE, specializes in systems for businesses located in airports and shopping centers. It also offers software for business intelligence, analytics and customer engagement.
PHP Point of Sale can be used by retailers, grocery stores, bakeries, coffee shops and museums. It runs on iOS phones and tablets as well as Mac and PC computers. It's compatible with several processors and various third-party hardware, so if you already own POS equipment, you may be able to continue using it.
Pinogy is an easy-to-use retail POS system with a full suite of features, such as inventory, customer and multi-store management, reporting, and integrated credit card processing. It offers a free version of its software for very small businesses that have fewer than 100 products and only need two user accounts. A paid version that supports an unlimited number of products and five users is also available.
POS Nation is a reseller that can set you up with a POS system. It offers a variety of POS software, hardware, and processing options and works with many business types, including retail and grocery stores, vape shops, full- and quick-service restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. It also provides employee training for using the system and 24/7 customer support.
POSGuys offers a wide range of products for retailers, restaurants and salons. Its solutions include POS software, traditional POS hardware systems with touchscreen monitors, and mobile POS systems that use tablets. Peripherals such as barcode scanners and scales are also available.
Pioneer Solution Inc. designs and manufactures POS hardware such as tablets, all-in-one touchscreens and printers. The company partners with software vendors, system integrators and value-added resellers in many industries, including retail, healthcare, hospitality, kiosk, gaming and manufacturing.
PointOS is a POS system designed for restaurants and bars. Its features include customer profiles, tab and table management, age identification, inventory tracking, timecards, and payroll reports. It offers options for automatic happy-hour pricing as well as item and check discounting, and you can send orders to the kitchen printer or the service bar. It also has an integrated music feature that you can use to create playlists for your establishment.
Posandro is a U.K.-based Android POS provider. Its POS system is built primarily for restaurants and other food-based businesses, though retail stores can also use it. It is affordable, has no lengthy contract requirement, is compatible with third-party POS hardware and has a good selection of features. It only has one payment processor integration, though you can use the system alongside your processor of choice.
Pose is a cloud-based POS system that can be used by stores, cafes, booths, salons and service providers working on location. It's a web-based system, so you can access it on any browser, whether you prefer to use a desktop computer, laptop or tablet (a native iPad app is also available). This system gives you the flexibility to take your POS system with you anywhere you go.
Poster is a restaurant POS system that runs on both Android tablets and iPads, and the company says you can set it up in 15 minutes. It has a web-based management console, so you can access it from any device with a web browser. It includes features for table, inventory, and menu management, and it lets your customers order or make reservations online.
Punchey is a cloud-based POS system for appointment-based retail businesses that you can use with the computer or laptop you already own. Features include appointment scheduling, employee management, inventory tracking, integrated payment processing, and gift card and loyalty programs.
If you're a clothing or shoe retailer, Quetzal has a solution for you. This cloud-based iPad POS system is packed with features, such as inventory management for up to 10,000 items and 2 million SKUs, sales analytics to help you identify buying trends, and customer engagement tools that help you understand your customers.
Rapid POS is a reseller and systems integrator that can set your small retail business up with NCR Counterpoint software and POS hardware such as all-in-one terminals, receipt printers, barcode scanners, and other peripherals. The company can configure and customize the POS system to meet your needs and provides 24/7 customer support.
Retail Pro is an enterprise-level POS system for specialty retailers. Its features include customizable workflows, personalized shopping recommendations for customers based on purchase history, CRM, inventory management, merchandising tools and accounting. Retail Pro is a scalable POS system, so you can start with the basics and add capabilities as your business grows.
Rezku is an iPad POS system for restaurants, bars, breweries and nightclubs. It has drag-and-drop menu management that supports photos and color coding, ingredient-level inventory tracking, and seat and table management. It also has a built-in timeclock and sales reports that show your most popular items, busiest hours, and top employees.
Sabor is a cloud-based restaurant POS system that runs on Windows 10 devices, including Microsoft Surface. It also has a companion app for Windows phones. The company says that its POS system has more than 200 features, including table management, kitchen processes, dashboard reports and a built-in CRM.
SalesVu is a cloud-based, all-in-one POS system. Its features include inventory management, employee scheduling, customer management, accounting, and email and social media marketing. SalesVu works on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch and is suitable for businesses in many industries, including retail, restaurant, and professional services.
ShopKeep is a cloud-based iPad POS system for retail stores and restaurants. It has a ton of timesaving features that small business owners need to run their businesses and boost sales. It also has multiple customer support resources, including free 24/7 phone and email support, live chat, and community forums.
Smartwerks is cloud-based POS software for specialty retail such as gift and hobby shops, jewelry boutiques, and furniture stores. It can be used by both small and midsize companies with either a single store or multiple locations. The software helps you manage your inventory, customers, and staff, and it includes loyalty tools and a timeclock app.
Springboard Retail is a cloud-based POS and retail management system designed by retailers for multi-store, multichannel businesses, helping you deliver consistent service across your locations and your online store. It works on iPads and has advanced features for inventory and customer management, purchase ordering, and customizable reporting. APIs are available for custom integrations.
Swim's iPad POS system is made specifically to help jewelry retailers process sales and manage their businesses. It comes with jeweler-specific features like instant quotes, custom orders, and stock counting with RFID and barcode support, as well as marketing tools like the ability to collect customer data (including wish lists) and view purchase histories.
The General Store is a POS and retail management system that you can use to process sales, track inventory, reorder stock, track employee time and commissions, and manage customers. It's suitable for stores with one or multiple locations and for nearly every specialty, including apparel, sporting goods and furniture.
Thr!ve POS from Granbury Solutions is a tablet-based point-of-sale system for delivery restaurants and pizzerias. It can be used by independent establishments as well as regional and national chains. Features include order management, a delivery app for drivers, employee scheduling and a timeclock, ingredient-based inventory tracking, and reporting tools.
TigerPOS is an easy-to-use, touchscreen POS system for bars and liquor stores. It includes features for age verification, shelf labeling, purchasing and receiving, reporting, and security camera integration. TigerPOS also has a retail-based POS system specifically for wine stores.
Tillpoint is an iPad POS system for retail businesses and restaurants that has a rich suite of features. In addition to its register capabilities, it helps you manage your inventory, suppliers, purchase orders, customers and staff. It has a built-in timeclock and accounting system. Its restaurant-specific features include reservations, table and delivery management tools, and a kitchen display system.
TouchSuite offers multiple POS systems and business services, including credit card processing. In addition to the TouchSuite Restaurant POS system, it resells Grubbrr kiosks and POS hardware for Clover, Talech, QuickBooks POS, and NCR Silver.
The uAccept POS system from Workwell Technologies comes with a touchscreen, card reader, receipt printer and cash drawer. Its POS software is for retail businesses and quick-service restaurants, and its features include a loyalty program, reporting tools and integrated text messaging. You'll need to add an EMV terminal to the system, as the built-in card reader only accepts magnetic stripe cards.
Union, a POS system designed for bars and restaurants, prides itself on being a fast system for busy businesses. As a hybrid POS system, it uses a local server and cloud backup to avoid service interruptions if your internet drops or lags. From the manager portal, you can view your sales data, schedule pricing events like happy hour, and manage your menu. One unique feature is its Union app for customers that allows them to see their tabs, add a tip and close out.
Veeqo is a POS and order management system that streamlines sales channels for multi-outlet e-commerce businesses. This cloud-based system has iOS and Android apps that allow you to access your sales data from anywhere. It integrates with your e-commerce platforms, online marketplaces, and shipping partners to automatically update and sync your inventory, fulfill orders, and create invoices.

Clover is a complete point-of-sale system that gives you all of the functionality you need to accept debit, credit, and gift card payments; transact mobile payments; process refunds, returns, and exchanges, take orders; organize your inventory; and manage your team of employees. While the cloud-hosted POS system has a number of built-in tools that let you get it up and running quickly, it also offers a lot of opportunities for customization. Via the Clover app store, you can add in new features and access integrations that connect the POS system with many popular programs you are already using. Clover provides 24/7 customer support.

Cake from Sysco is an all-in-one restaurant point-of-sale system designed for small restaurant businesses. It's a hybrid system, so you can use its cloud-based software to access your reporting and other back-of-house tasks from any browser. It uses a router and has an offline mode, so you don't need to worry if your internet connection lags. Cake offers add-ons for guest management, iPad tableside ordering and online ordering. Third-party integrations are also available for this restaurant POS system.

Linga, formerly Benseron Hospitality, calls its iPad restaurant point-of-sale system the world's first rOS (restaurant operating system). It can be used by all types of food and beverage businesses, including table-service restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bakeries, bars, food trucks, pizzerias and franchises. Establishments of all sizes can use Linga, from those that are very small with one location and a single register to large chains with multiple registers at each location. This Naples, Florida, company works with restaurants in more than 65 countries and supports more than 30 languages. 

We selected Linga POS as the best iPad POS for quick-service restaurants because it has a strong feature set with innovative options well suited to this business type, like self-service kiosks, internet of things integrations (Nest cameras and thermostat) and Wi-Fi for guests. Even though it no longer offers a free plan, it continues to be one of the more affordable iPad restaurant POS systems because its plans are less expensive than competitors with similar feature sets. All plans give you the choice of month-to-month or annual subscriptions, and it works with third-party hardware and all major credit card processors, so you can comparison shop or use what you already have. 

Linga POS Pricing and Terms

The company has transparent pricing, so you can easily see what you can expect to pay and determine if it's within your budget before you spend time on the phone or attend a demo. Its website clearly displays its monthly and annual subscription rates for its cloud POS software, and provides a helpful feature comparison chart so you can see which features are included with each plan. It also posts the prices for its add-on services and hardware. 

POS Software

Linga offers four plans – all can be paid either monthly or annually – and you can add an unlimited number of users and products to the system. You can also add an unlimited number of registers, though pricing is per register, so additional ones will cost extra. If you need a custom solution, you can contact the company for a quote. 

One thing to be aware of is that the company charges an implementation fee, which will increase your startup costs significantly, so you'll want to plan ahead for that expense. 

The company offers demos and a 14-day free trial to help you decide if Linga POS is the right POS solution for your restaurant. Here's an overview of Linga's costs. 

  • The Basic plan costs $19.99 per month, per register (billed annually) or $39.99 if you pay monthly. It's best suited to counter- or quick-service restaurants.

  • The Pro plan costs $49.99 per month, per register (billed annually) or $69.99 if you pay monthly. It's a good choice for most other types of restaurants, including full-service, as it includes table management and inventory tools.

  • The Enterprise plan costs $89.99 per month, per register (billed annually) or $109.99 if you pay monthly. This is the plan you'll need if you have multiple locations.

  • Pricing for the Linga One plan isn't posted, so you'll need to call the company for a quote. It's designed for restaurants that need three or more registers, and in addition to the Pro plan features, it includes multiple add-ons, including online ordering, caller ID and reservation management. 

You can enhance your POS system with a variety of add-ons, though some require you to subscribe to the Pro plan first. Several other POS companies offer add-ons, but Linga POS is more upfront about them than most, posting what they are and how much they cost on its website. 

All add-on pricing is per month, based on annual billing. 

  • Caller ID costs $5.99 per site.
  • A customer display costs $9.99 per station.
  • Linga KDS costs $19.99 per station.
  • Texting alerts cost $19.99 per site.
  • Customer loyalty costs $29.99 per site.
  • Linga Schedules costs $29.99 per site.
  • A self-order kiosk costs $49.99 per station.
  • Online ordering costs $59.99 per site.
  • Waitlist and reservation costs $99.99 per site. 

For quick-service chains and franchises, Linga's Enterprise plan has an add-on to help you manage a central kitchen and warehouse. Call center services are also available. 

Service Fees

Linga offers a variety of support services for implementation, menu programming and training, all of which cost extra. These prices are posted on the company's website, which is admirable, but you have to hunt around a little to find them since they're not on the main pricing page. Rather, you have to go to the Shop page and click on the Support Services tab. 

While most are optional, the New Customer Implementation Package is mandatory, and at $999, it's very expensive. Linga isn't the only restaurant POS provider to charge an implementation fee, but it's higher than what some of its competitors charge. The website says training is also required, but the company representative we spoke with told us that it is included with the implementation package. 

POS Hardware

You can use an iPad, iPad Pro or iPad Mini with Linga POS. In addition to using iPads as registers, you can use them as customer displays and self-serve kiosks. 

You can purchase POS hardware on the company's website, either one piece at a time or bundled. It sells iPads, iPad stands, cash drawers, receipt printers, kitchen printers, scales, barcode readers and supplies like receipt paper rolls. If you already own POS equipment, you may be able to use it with Linga POS, so you'll want to check with the company for compatibility before buying new POS equipment. 

POS Software and Hardware Bundle

Linga POS offers a bundled solution for customers who need both POS software and hardware, though it requires you to sign a lengthy contract. 

The Platform as a Service (PaaS) plan costs $49 per month and has a three-year contract. In addition to the POS software and hardware, it includes software updates, a warranty and 24/7 phone support. 

Features

Linga POS has an impressive feature collection, though the features vary from plan to plan, and some are add-on services that cost extra. If you need specific capabilities, make sure they're in the plan you choose. 

One of Linga POS's unique features is its ability to remotely connect with internet of things devices, such as Nest security cameras, thermostat controls and door locks. Also notable is its multilanguage feature that allows you to assign a language to each user. You can set the kitchen printer to print tickets in another language as well. Both of these features are useful when you have a multilingual staff. Linga supports multiple currencies as well, which can be a plus for restaurants near busy tourist destinations. 

Restaurant Management Features

Linga's app has a good assortment of order management tools. You can add photos of your menu items to the buttons on the register, manage the order in which dishes are served, and set optional and mandatory modifiers for menu items. If a customer has a special request, you can note it on the order. You can also track how long it takes for your customers to receive their orders and for your tables to turn over. When your customers are ready for checks, you can split them evenly, by seat or by item. 

With this iPad restaurant POS system, you can bundle menu items into combos, provide coupons, and offer event- or time-based discounts such as happy hour. You can also manage bar tabs. Tabs are searchable, and you can look up both open and closed tabs using the customer's name, the last four digits of their credit card, or by order number. 

For restaurants that offer delivery service, Linga POS has Delivery Dispatch, a feature that groups delivery orders based on destination and plans the most efficient route for your drivers. 

For restaurants that offer table service, it has table management tools you can use to create a floor plan and see at a glance which tables are open or occupied. It also has a waitlist and reservation add-on that you can use to estimate wait time and text guests when their tables are ready. 

Inventory Management

Linga POS's inventory management tools track your supplies at the ingredient level and allow you to set thresholds for low-stock alerts. The system can manage contact information for your vendors, and allows you to create and email purchase orders directly from the system. 

Reporting

The dashboard displays your transactions, net sales, refunds and other metrics that give you an overview of your restaurant's performance. Sales reports reveal your most and least popular items, and the food cost analysis breaks down how much it costs to make each item on your menu. You can compare your inventory costs from the previous week or month to anticipate how much you need to order. You can also run reports to show you your busy hours so you can optimize your staffing and track labor costs. 

Customer Management

Linga POS has a customer database where you can create customer profiles, and use the information for your marketing efforts and delivery services. You can add names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, birthdays, notes and even profile pictures. If you offer customers free Wi-Fi, you can use it to collect customer email addresses, which you can then use to send coupons inviting your customer back for another visit. 

You can use the loyalty add-on to reward your repeat customers. This add-on provides customer analytics to help you understand their purchasing habits. 

Employee Management

Linga POS has role-based permissions that allow you to choose which features and information your employees can access. The software has a built-in time clock, allowing your employees to clock in and out of the system using a PIN. 

Integrations

Linga POS integrates with Nest devices, allowing you to control your restaurant's thermostat, security cameras and door locks remotely. It doesn't post much information on its website about the other third-party applications it integrates with, which include Oracle NetSuite ERP, Givex for gift cards, Zenpepper for white-label online ordering apps, and Mailchimp for email marketing. Using an integration with Shogo, you can connect to popular accounting software like QuickBooks, Xero and Sage One. An API is available if you need custom integrations. 

Additional Considerations

Linga POS now has its own credit card processing service, called Linga Pay. However, it allows you to choose your payment processor from some of the biggest companies in the industry, such as FIS (Worldpay), Fiserv (First Data) and Global Payments (TSYS). Having a selection of processors allows you to shop around for the best rates and terms. 

Email customer support is available on all paid plans, but if you prefer to contact customer service by phone or chat, you'll need the Pro or Enterprise plan. If you experience a software issue, company representatives can, with your permission, remotely connect to your system to resolve it. Or, if you prefer to troubleshoot issues yourself, you can find a knowledgebase with user manuals, release notes and tutorial videos. 

The company provides a variety of support services, though they cost extra. It can provide training and menu programming remotely, or if you need onsite help installing the system, the company can send representatives or select a local company to install the system for you. 

Drawbacks

Though Linga POS's Basic and Pro plans are very affordable for a small business and even its Enterprise plan is comparable to many of its competitors, there are still some costs to watch out for. 

The New Customer Implementation Package that you're required to have is expensive and increases your startup costs dramatically, which may be an issue for many small restaurant owners. However, even with this large upfront expense, it's still a better option than the three-year contract that many of Linga's competitors require. 

Another thing to carefully consider pricewise are the add-ons. There are a lot of great options to choose from, but each adds an extra monthly cost, so this system can get expensive if you need a lot of advanced features and start piling on the add-on services.

Besides register capabilities, Revel has a ton of additional features, such as ingredient-level inventory management, analytics and QuickBooks integration. The company offers solutions for all business types and sizes, including retailers, coffee shops, restaurants, wineries and event companies. Revel also lets you create custom POS integrations using its API, so you can tailor the system to your business's needs.
Featured Sponsor
If you're looking for an Android POS system for your restaurant, Toast has you covered. This all-in-one restaurant management solution is packed with features like online ordering, delivery tracking and real-time reporting. It's fully customizable and suitable for all types of food establishments, such as full-service and quick-service restaurants, cafes, bakeries, bars, and nightclubs.
Upserve POS, formerly Breadcrumb, is a feature-rich iPad POS system for restaurants, bars, clubs and similar establishments. It has hundreds of capabilities, including ingredient-level inventory management, and integrates with more than 50 third-party restaurant tools, so you can tailor the system to make it perfect for your business. Upserve offers 24/7 customer support.
Square has clear, affordable pricing on its credit card processing services with no contracts, credit checks or complicated setup processes. Its card reader and Square Point of Sale app turn your iPad or Android tablet into a robust POS terminal that lets you accept credit cards at the checkout counter or on the go. For businesses that need advanced features, it offers Square for Restaurants and Square for Retail POS software.
NCR Silver is a cloud-based POS system that delivers big-business features on a small-business budget. Its subscription prices include the hardware, and you can choose a system that works with your iPad or one with a built-in 10-inch display. It offers different versions of its POS software for retailers and restaurants.

Talech, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, provides POS solutions to small retailers and restaurant businesses in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain. The company serves more than 8,000 businesses and was recently acquired by U.S. Bank. It has an app that lets you use an iPad as your POS terminal. Alternatively, you can use it with the Poynt Smart Terminal and the all-in-one Elo PayPoint. As it's a cloud-based system, you can access your data anytime, anywhere, from any device with a browser.

Talech Pricing and Terms

Talech posts its subscription-based software pricing on its website. It provides its POS software on a month-to-month basis, with no lengthy contract requirements or early termination fees. However, a discount is available if you decide to pay for the software annually. The company's terms of service, which you can read on its website, are shorter and more straightforward than many such documents. The company doesn't sell POS hardware, and it doesn't make offers of free or leased POS equipment that would tie you to expensive contracts with long, unfavorable terms. 

POS Software

Three subscription tiers are available from Talech for the retail, restaurant and services versions of its POS software. Features vary by tier, and the Standard and Premium plans include features that typically cost extra, such as a loyalty program, gift cards, kiosk mode and online ordering. There's no free tier or free trial available for Talech, just a demo – so if you know you need certain features, you should have a list of them ready when you call the company so you can ask which plans include them and how they work. Here is a breakdown of each plan: 

  • The Starter plan is $44 per month (based on annual billing) or $49 if you choose to pay month to month. This plan is for cafes and small retail stores that need a single device, have up to five employees, and sell up to 100 products. 
  • The Standard plan is $62 per month (billed annually) or $69 if you pay month to month. You can add an unlimited number of extra devices for $35 each per month (billed annually) or $39 (month to month). This plan is for quick-service or fast casual restaurants and midsize retail stores. There's no limit on the number of employees and products you can add to the system with this plan, and it supports multiple locations. 
  • The Premium plan is $89 per month (billed annually) or $99 (month to month). You can add an unlimited number of extra devices for $44 each per month (billed annually) or $49 (month to month). This plan is for full-service restaurants, large retail stores, salons and spas. There's no limit on the number of employees or products you can add to the system with this plan, and it supports multiple locations as well. 

Add-ons

Talech has a few extra features that carry additional costs. 

  • The Getting Started package is a mandatory add-on with the Standard and Premium plans that costs $199. With this package, Talech's training partner, Boomtown, helps you remotely set up your system and trains you to use all the features in a two-hour session. You can then schedule additional free remote training with Talech if needed. 
  • The Campaigns add-on is available with the Premium plan and costs $29 per month. With this feature, you can send an unlimited number of emails to unlimited customers. 
  • A feature that allows you to offer digital gift cards is available with the Standard and Premium plans and costs $49 per month. You can offer physical gift cards as well, but you will need to purchase the cards from a third-party printing company. 
  • Talech Online Ordering is available for restaurants. It includes a mobile-friendly branded website that automatically syncs with your menu, integrated payment processing, and seamless order management, with automatic notifications that are sent in the app as well as by email and SMS text. It also provides access to customer insights and reports. Talech doesn't post pricing for this feature, so you'll need to reach out to a sales rep to get a quote. 

iPad POS Hardware

The Talech POS app runs on iPads, and you can use whichever tablet size you prefer (iPad, iPad Pro or iPad Mini). You can use the iPad and app as a mobile register, ringing up orders on the sales floor or taking payments tableside, or you can attach the iPad to a stand or all-in-one dock to create a stationary checkout station. You can set up additional iPads in Guest Mode, which allows them to function as self-service kiosks that your customers can use to place and pay for orders, which may be especially useful for quick-service restaurants. The iPads can also be customer-facing displays that allow customers to see their sales ticket or order as you create it, and you can add custom messaging or promotional information to the screen. 

You can access the system's back office through any device with a browser, allowing you to view sales data, run reports and accomplish other tasks anytime, anyplace. 

Talech works with third-party POS hardware; you can view compatible makes and models on the company's website. This can save you money, as you may be able to use POS equipment you already own, and allows you to purchase POS hardware from the vendor of your choice if you decide to buy new equipment. 

Features

Talech's website says that it has more than 100 features, though features vary by plan. The Starter plan is basic, though it does have inventory tracking, which some competitors only offer at higher tiers. The Standard and Premium plans include features that usually cost extra, such as loyalty programs and gift cards. Like other top cloud-based POS systems, Talech is regularly updated and posts its release notes online so you can see which features the company has added, enhanced or fixed. 

Inventory Management

All three plans include basic inventory management tools with inventory tracking. You can create item variations, add modifiers or exclusions, and set discounts. 

The Standard plan allows you to bundle products, sell items by weight and manage suppliers. It also supports automatic discounts and allows you to offer exchanges and store credits. You can print barcode labels with the retail version and add a kitchen printer to the restaurant version. 

The Premium plan has advanced inventory tools, such as low-inventory alerts that email certain employees when items fall below the thresholds you set, and popup warnings on the register to notify staff that items are out of stock. You can create and email purchase orders to suppliers from the system, perform stock takes, and view the inventory log, which shows details about product purchases and sales, including information about items manually added or removed from inventory. You'll need this plan if you want your system to support BOGO promotions. 

Reporting

You can run a variety of sales reports to gain insights on your revenue, customer behavior, hot products and top-performing sales staff. You can access back-office features through the app or from any browser. The Starter plan comes with basic reporting, which doesn't include the dashboard, product mix report or automated reports. 

The Standard plan has most of Talech's reporting features, including the dashboard, insights, product mix, void, timesheet and labor cost reports. It also has an automated report feature that allows you to schedule which reports you receive daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly. 

The Premium plan has all of the reports in the Standard plan, plus a staff utilization report. It also has an appointment-by-channel report for service-based businesses that use its appointment-scheduling features. 

Customer Management

All plans include customer management tools that you can use to create customer profiles and view sales histories. With the insight reports in the Standard and Premium plans, you can see data that helps you understand customer behavior, such as visit frequency and average amount spent per visit. These plans include a loyalty program at no additional cost and allow you to add gift cards for a monthly fee. 

The Standard and Premium POS plans have a "house accounts" feature that tracks customer balances and sends automatic monthly statements to them. Restaurants can use this feature to manage bar tabs. 

With the Premium plan, you can also subscribe to Campaigns, an email marketing solution you can use to run and track marketing campaigns, sending discounts, coupons and announcements to your customers. 

Employee Management

All plans allow you to add your employees to the system and set permissions to control the tasks and data they can access. 

The Standard plan has a built-in timeclock, so employees can clock in and out with this POS software. You can manage their timesheets and generate labor cost reports. 

The Premium plan has all the Standard plan features, plus time-off tracking. The restaurant version of the software has tip tracking by staff member, and the services version has staff scheduling tools. 

Integrations

You need either the Standard or Premium plan to use Talech's integrations. It integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, Sage Business Cloud Accounting and Homebase employee scheduling software. The restaurant version of the POS software also integrates with Fresh KDS and Epson to send order tickets to kitchen display screens. An API is available for custom integrations. 

Retail Features

Talech has product list variations that allow you to specify item color, size, price, cost and quantity. You can create product bundles to group items or components together to sell at a set price. The software supports barcodes, which makes it faster to ring up products at checkout, and allows you to print barcode labels from any desktop printer. 

Restaurant Features

The Premium plan for Talech's restaurant POS software has table management features, allowing you to create a floor plan of your restaurant. You can see which tables are open or occupied and track how long it takes to turn a table, which can help you gauge the efficiency of your kitchen and waitstaff. 

Your servers have coursing tools to ensure items are served in the correct order. When diners are ready for their checks, servers can split shared orders across checks, merge orders and divide checks by seat position. You can set up the system to prompt for tips with suggested amounts and add automatic gratuity for large parties. You can also offer happy-hour and BOGO discounts. 

Online ordering is available from Talech. From your branded website, customers can place orders and then pay either online to complete their order or at the register when they pick up their orders. 

Services Features

The Premium plan for Talech's services POS software includes appointment booking with a mobile-friendly website for your customers to use, an appointment calendar and staff scheduling tools. It can send automatic confirmation and reminder messages by text or email. 

Additional Considerations

Talech integrates with several major U.S. payment processors, including Bank of America, Chase, Elavon, Fiserv (First Data), Heartland and Worldpay by FIS (Vantiv). This allows you to shop around for the best rates or continue working with your current processor, which is an important consideration in a POS system if you're already under contract with a processing company. 

The brands of credit and debit cards you can accept depend on your processing agreement. Whether you can accept EMV chip cards and contactless payments, such as mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay, depends on the type of payment terminal you purchase from your processing company, though they should all support all major card processors and offer credit card readers that support both chip cards and contactless payments. You can split payments with Talech and accept gift cards, cash, checks and store credit. 

You can reach Talech for customer support 24/7 by phone and email. Live chat is available weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT, with no additional fee for this service. You can also reach the company on Facebook and Twitter. 

In case you prefer to troubleshoot problems yourself, the company's website has a variety of helpful resources, including a knowledgebase, video tutorials, a blog and how-to articles that give useful guidance on specific features. 

Drawbacks

There's no free trial period for Talech, which makes it difficult to determine whether the software is a good fit for your business before you subscribe. However, you can check out how-to videos on its YouTube channel and schedule a demo to get some idea of how the software works and what it can do. If you want to take the software for a test run before buying, it's not a bad idea to start out with a month-to-month subscription to the Starter plan. You'll want to avoid the Standard and Premium plans until you're ready to commit, since they require you to purchase the Getting Started package, which costs extra. The setup and training fees are another extra cost to consider before signing up with Talech, as some of the other top POS systems don't charge extra for these services. 

The Talech website doesn't specify which reports are included with the basic accounting tools that come in the Starter plan. One item not included in the Starter plan is the dashboard, which most other POS systems include in all their plans. 

Talech doesn't offer as many integrations as some of its competitors either, so you might not be able to seamlessly use all your related programs in conjunction with the system.

Square is the simplest and fastest way to accept credit cards with a smartphone or tablet. It has clear, affordable pricing with no contracts, credit checks or complicated setup processes, so you can get started right away. You can start small with a simple credit card reader, then transition to a Square terminal, tablet stand or register as your business grows.
Lori Fairbanks
Lori Fairbanks,
Business News Daily Writer
See Lori Fairbanks's Profile
Lori Fairbanks has years of experience writing and editing for both print and online publications. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she worked as a magazine editor and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies, including marketing firms and a medical university. She now writes about small business finance, including accounting software, credit card processing and point-of-sale systems for business.com and Business News Daily.
Image Credit: DERO2084n / Getty Images
Back to Top
Back to Top