Point of Sale software typically costs between $29-100 per month for small businesses with one register, while larger businesses and franchises will likely have to multiply that figure by the number of additional registers needed. Combine this with the initial cost of hardware, and POS systems can easily cost users between $1200 and $6500 for the first year, and $600 to $1200 for each subsequent year.
Granted, this is a broad range. There are loads of quality POS suppliers on the market, some of whom offer free services. Others charge per transaction or may do it on a business-by-business basis, instead. Our experts have spent hundreds of hours researching the POS market to make your choice as easy as possible. We provide all the information you need upfront to help you compare and contrast providers before making your decision.
What's more, you can even use our quick and easy price quote comparison tool which will allow you to collect bespoke prices from all the leading providers on the market.
POS Costs by Provider
To give you an idea of how much POS costs, here's a side by side comparison of some industry-leading Point of Sale system providers. (All prices correct as of July 2022)
Free vs Paid POS Systems
Paid POS systems
Paid POS systems can cost anywhere from $29 to $100+ a month, depending on your software and hardware needs. However, for businesses looking for a more stripped solution, cheaper plans are available for as little as $15 per month. What's more, lots of plans don’t feature user caps, meaning licensed tills can often be used by an unlimited amount of workers.
While paid monthly plans vary from provider to provider, they are often available at escalating price points, from basic through to bespoke. Below is an example of a typical paid POS pricing plan.
New Restaurant Basics
You can learn more about Toast’s pricing model here.
Free POS systems
The pricing structure of free POS systems works slightly differently. Free point of sale software is typically free to install, and charges businesses per transaction instead of monthly. To understand how a typical free plan works, let's take a look at Square. Square is an all-around point of service system with an excellent free plan. In fact, our research suggests it's one of the best free software providers on the market.
Users of Square's free plan are subjected to the following transaction fees:
- 2.6% + 10¢ for all card-based transactions
- 3.5% + 15¢ for manual keyed-in sales
For smaller and growing businesses, free plans can be a very cost-effective option. Yet, for businesses that manage a large number of sales, the costs of these transaction fees can accumulate fast.
Also, while POS software can be free, providers often expect businesses to cover the cost of hardware. Depending on your provider and the size of your business, these costs can considerably hike up the overall cost of the POS. Large businesses running over multiple venues may need to pay up to $10,000 upfront for hardware devices, whereas smaller businesses can often set themselves up for under $500.
In Square's case, you can get your first mobile card reader for free, but prices escalate after this, for example an iPad stand (first gen) with card reader is $129, while a full Square register and terminal kit is $1329.
Businesses are also commonly caught out by setup and training fees. These are the costs associated with setting up your POS and training you and your staff, and they vary from provider to provider. Free and paid point-of-service systems are both known to request these fees so it's always advised to read the small print before moving forwards with a solution.
POS System Costs by Industry
As you'd imagine, different industries place different demands on their POS systems. Restaurant and hospitality businesses, for example, often need to help customers split bills and offer takeaway orders. Traditional retail businesses, on the other hand, require quick and effortless checkouts with dependable inventory features.
Of course, all businesses now require online functionality — not simply due to the pandemic — but also due to growing consumer demand for online features. If there's one reason to get started with a new POS in 2022, it's online features.
We'll cover exactly how much your business should expect to pay for a POS system depending on the industry it's in, as well as the best providers for those industries. You can also choose to get bespoke quotes for your restaurant or hospitality business, or your retail business quickly and easily.
Retail POS system costs
The best retail POS on the market is the cost-effective solution Square. It charges no monthly fees and instead charges transaction fees on every sale you make — 1.75% for card-based transactions or 2.5% for keyed-in sales. Zettle is another cost-effective solution. It's capable of working for any type of business — but was specifically designed for retail stores. Like Square, Zettle is free to install, but charges transaction fees instead.
Vend is another great retail point of service system. Businesses can use the system for as little as $69 per month. For this flat rate, users have access to inventory and analytics tools and aren't required to pay any transaction fees.
When considering retail POS systems, a strong inventory system is essential. This will let you see and control all of your products, helping you to fulfil orders, move products between stores, offer discounts, and know when you're running low on stock.
Vend POS, for example, uses one central product catalog which syncs across all your sales channels — whether that's in-store, online, or on social media. As a result, if you sell your last product in-store, your website will automatically update to reflect your stock status.
Store and business managers can import or add products to Vend's backend, including barcode information and any product variants — different sizes, colors, materials, and so on. You can even automate stock orders, helping to ensure that you never run out of your top sellers.
All of this is available on Vend's cheapest plan, Lean. It costs $69 per month and you won't have to pay any transaction fees on the sales you make. However, if you want to access ecommerce sales, you'll need to choose Vend's Standard plan which costs $119 per month.
Online sales are essential these days — and Square is a great choice for retail businesses looking to expand (or solidify) their online presence.
You can easily create an online store for free with Square's cheapest plan. You'll be able to list an unlimited number of products — whether they're physical or digital, automatically synced with the rest of your inventory. You can send order status text alerts to customers including order confirmation, pickup location and time, and delivery information. Users will also be able to click and collect in-store.
Contact forms can easily be created, as well, which allow you to gather user information including email addresses and contact information. These can help you build mailing lists and other marketing tools to help you with promotions. What's more, if you choose Square's Performance or Premium retail plans — $26 and $72 per month, respectively — you'll be able to issue abandoned cart emails to help customers convert and let customers create product reviews.
Find the best retail POS system for your business with our personalized POS quiz. Match your retail needs to comparable quotes.
Sales features are critical to a good retail POS. Vend, Square, and Talech all let your business accept credit, debit, contactless, chip, and good old-fashioned cash payments with their first-party and third-party terminals and card readers. You can also issue and track gift card payments through all three companies.
Payment processing — the act of getting the money from a customer's transaction into your merchant account — can be complex but, with Square, payment processing is handled in-house. Vend and Talech, on the other hand, work with a range of huge payment processors including PayPal, Shopify, and even Square.
When running a retail business, you need the hardware to offer a great service to your customers. Square, for example, gives you a free contactless and chip card reader, which plugs straight into an iPhone or Android device whenever you sign up for an account.
For $10, you can get a swipe card reader to fit iPhones or Android devices, while for $49 you can grab a standalone contactless card reader. A portable terminal, meanwhile, costs $299.
Talech and Vend POS, however, work with a range of third-party hardware devices including payment terminals, receipt printers, and more. You can buy these directly from the providers, or separately and sync them up with your platform.
Restaurant POS system costs
The best POS systems for restaurant businesses are user-friendly Square, feature-rich Toast, and TouchBistro. Square's transaction fee-only model, as well as its range of restaurant-specific features, make it the perfect choice for startup and established hospitality businesses, alike.
Epos Now is an affordable POS option with prices starting from $39 per month. It's probably best suited to larger restaurant businesses with excellent employee management tools. TouchBistro, meanwhile, is a bit more expensive, with prices starting at $69 per month. While its price point is slightly steeper than other hospitality-based POSs, its promising restaurant-specific features improve its bang for its buck.
Match your restaurant, café or bar to the right POS system, and compare prices, with our free POS quiz.
Getting the right hardware is absolutely essential for restaurant and hospitality businesses — it's not as simple as just offering customers a card reader.
Restaurant businesses will need portable card readers to offer tableside payments as a bare minimum. Many restaurants also use tablets or portable interfaces to help take orders at tableside, as well. Square, for example, works brilliantly with iPads, which can easily let staff process orders and payments while moving around.
Businesses with busy kitchens would also likely benefit from a kitchen display system (KDS). TouchBistro's KDS, for example, will instantly surface orders placed by your servers to your kitchen staff to get started on. You can also integrate the KDS with printed tickets. It can also help you manage order pacing, so each person at a table gets their meal at the same time.
Fast service cafes and restaurants can also use customer-facing displays or self-service kiosks to help customers feel in control of their orders — and reduce staff workloads. Square and TouchBistro both offer their own systems to help make customers' lives easier, however TouchBistro no longer offers self-service kiosks.
Takeout and delivery
Being able to offer takeout and delivery is huge for restaurants — and even some bars and pubs during the pandemic.
Square, for example, lets you integrate popular delivery and takeout services through its central dashboard. The restaurant-specific POS TouchBistro, meanwhile, doesn't quite have the same level of integration — you have to take orders separately and enter them into your POS. Epos Now also offers a range of integrations for delivery and takeout services.
While it is essential for all businesses to track what goes into a sale and what comes out — it is even more essential for those in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. TouchBistro and Epos Now both offer the ability to track your inventory down to the ingredient level.
Navigating a new point of service can be challenging. Read our guide on how to use a POS to get the most out of your system.
This granular level of detail can help you keep track of how many ingredients you have in stock — if you make pasta or bread in-house, for example, it's prudent to keep an eye on how much flour you have in stock. It also allows you to make efficiencies with your operation: Do some items sell out faster than others, for example?
POS System Cost Factors
Not all POS systems are equal. Even the best POS systems might not be quite right for your unique needs. Here's a checklist to help you think about which one you'll want.
- Size of your business — This has a major impact on the price of your POS. Each additional register or location will cost extra under most POS software plans. A tiny market stall or mall kiosk with no plans to expand, meanwhile, might not even need to pay at all, thanks to the free options available. Some providers are well-suited to franchise businesses, as well.
- The number of products you sell — Some providers let you sell an unlimited number of products (or have an unlimited turnover) right off the bat. However, some providers will give you a maximum number of products to list and/or sell depending on the pricing plan you choose.
- Amount of features — Perhaps the least surprising cost factor is the sheer amount of features a POS system has to offer. After all, it only makes sense that a more comprehensive, useful system would cost more. If you're unsure which features will be essential to your business, you can read more about the best ones over here.
- Quality of features — While most POS systems offer an analytics feature that displays data, some are more complex than others. A more pricey POS might offer more detailed data-crunching options that can help streamline a large business's operations.
- Type of industry — Restaurants and retail are the biggest industries with their own types of POS systems, but plenty of niche industries have specialized POS systems that address their specific needs, from pizza delivery tracking to table layouts.
- Potential for expansion — What's the five-year plan for your business? If you aim to open a new location, you should take into account how much more your POS vendor of choice might charge you. You can always migrate to a new POS if you need to, but picking one that will best suit your growing company can save you time and effort down the road.
- Hardware — Some POS providers work with all manner of third-party peripherals from receipt printers to iPads. However, other providers' platforms only work with the company's own hardware — make sure you know where your provider stands before committing.
Total cost of a POS system – examples
Typically, single location businesses with one register will need to pay between $29 and $80 per month for software. Hardware costs will be separate but could run to more than $1,000 depending on the exact pieces you need.
Larger operations with multiple locations, on the other hand, should expect to pay between $80 and $300 per location, per month. Again, hardware costs should become similarly expensive, and you could expect to pay around $3,000 in total — plus ongoing costs for extra receipts and the like.
A small restaurant choosing TouchBistro, for example, could expect to pay $69 per month for the software, around $300 for an iPad to control the POS — or $700 for a Mac Mini if it is using multiple iPads for different servers. Cash drawers start from around $50 while card readers can be had for around $70. All told, then the restaurant could kit itself out for $490 plus the ongoing software cost.
Small retail businesses using Vend, for example, would likely need to pay $119 per month for the software. Plus the $50 cash drawer, $30 barcode reader, $300 iPad terminal, and $70 card reader, these businesses could get off the ground for around $450 plus the software.
If you're confused about what options would most suit your business — we get it. It's time-consuming doing tons of research and we understand how costly getting it wrong can be. That's why we've created our custom-built comparison form. It allows you to get matched to the providers that suit your specific business needs, all in under a minute.
Most businesses will be familiar with the hardware devices we’ve listed above. However, certain types of hardware, like self-service kiosks and kitchen display systems, won’t be suitable for everyone.
If you need to set your business up from scratch, the costs of essential devices can accumulate fast. However, lots of POS providers offer hardware bundles which are typically much more economical than buying the hardware separately. The contents and costs of these bundles vary, but they tend to include the core devices your business requires to get up and running and cost a flat rate of just under $1000.
For example, Square’s hardware bundle contains a register, customer display, accessory hub with a mounting plate, and a power adapter and cable, and is available for $49 per month or a one-time fee of $999. The restaurant POS provider, Toast, also offers a generous ‘Toast Terminal Package’ featuring a stand, cash draw, reader, receipt printer, cable, and switch. This bundle is available for an upfront fee of $799.
Lots of providers retail their own custom-build hardware too. These devices are typically more expensive than third-party POS hardware but include comprehensive warranties and hardware support.
The Android POS provider Clover offers a broad range of proprietary hardware, with its basic plan, Clover Station Solo, costing businesses $1.369 upfront, and its slightly more advanced package, Clover Station Due, retailing at $1,649.
Moreover, lots of POS systems also rely on iPads, rather than monitors. These cost between $329 to $599 depending on whether you want a cheaper, smaller iPad Mini or a more expensive iPad Air, or even an iPad Pro. Businesses should also note that not all POS systems require an iPad, some are also compatible with other tablet devices.
Cash vs card
You'd be forgiven for thinking that modern businesses don't need to bother with cash drawers — everyone has cards. However, while cash drawers can seem an expensive outlay, you need only make a few transactions before they start to recoup their costs — plus it's always better to be safe than sorry.
POS hardware can make your system costs spiral quickly, so it pays to get the right system right from the beginning. That's where our bespoke quotes form comes in. We match your business' needs to the perfect POS supplier and make sure that you don't pay a dime more than necessary.
Verdict: How Much Does a POS Cost?
Retail businesses can get started with a new POS system, including software and hardware for as little as $579 — with most of that cost being the one-off hardware expenses.
Restaurant businesses, meanwhile, can get a fully-featured POS system with new hardware from just $559 — again, with most of the cost being hardware.
Of course, both businesses could shrink those costs significantly by eschewing the monthly software fees with Square POS. With its transaction fee-only model, you'll only start paying for the service when you start making money. What's more, Square is perfect for almost all businesses — regardless of whether they're in the retail or hospitality sectors.
However, you could save a not inconsiderable sum of money by getting bespoke quotes from the leading POS providers on the market, regardless of which industry you're in. Our quick and easy quotes comparison tool will provide you with obligation-free quotes from all the providers on this page (and a few more) in just a couple of minutes.
How Much Does a POS Cost? FAQs
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