QuickBooks POS Review for 2021: Features, Costs, Reviews

Is QuickBooks POS right for you? Learn about the hardware and software options, features, costs and alternatives.

Maddie ShepherdJul 28, 2020
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QuickBooks point-of-sale software allows QuickBooks customers to run transactions and manage back-office operations. To use the software you must pay a one-time lump sum. Your hardware cost is an additional one-time lump sum. To process payments, you must sign up for QuickBooks merchant services.

Ultimately, there are more powerful, more affordable options than QuickBooks POS. And unless you’re a QuickBooks Desktop user and you’re determined to have your POS synced with your accounting software, there will also be more convenient POS options for you out there. For contingency POS system plans, look to Square or Clover for more affordable, more fully integrated POS system bundles.

What is QuickBooks POS?

A POS is a combination of software and hardware that allows small-business owners to run transactions. QuickBooks provides its POS solution as a combination of desktop QuickBooks software and individual pieces of QuickBooks POS hardware. Note that the POS software is locally installed on your computer and only works with QuickBooks Desktop.

To get a better understanding of the POS solutions available to you through Intuit, let's break them down into two categories — QuickBooks POS software and QuickBooks POS hardware.

Software

Unlike many QuickBooks POS competitors, the QuickBooks POS software pricing is structured as a one-time, lump-sum, rather than an initial cost, plus a monthly access fee. Once your business invests in QuickBooks POS software, it’s yours. That initial investment will likely be more substantial than it would be for QuickBooks Point of Sale competitors that charge a monthly access fee.

QuickBooks POS: Basic

The most basic of the QuickBooks Point of Sale software options is appropriately named “Basic.”

With the Basic version of QuickBooks POS software, your business will have access to all the fundamentals while avoiding the extra cost that all the bells and whistles carry.

Compared to other Intuit payment solutions, Basic QuickBooks POS software will have a short list of capabilities:

  • Ring sales.

  • Take payments.

  • Track customer data.

  • Perform basic sales reporting.

  • Integrate with QuickBooks Desktop.

QuickBooks Point of Sale software’s Basic version will also cost less relative to your other Intuit POS solutions — you’ll have to pay a one-off price of $1,200 for this QuickBooks POS software.

QuickBooks POS: Pro

The next step up for QuickBooks POS software is the Pro version.

This version of the QuickBooks Point of Sale software will grant your business access to a longer list of capabilities, but will also come with a more substantial cost.

The Pro version will cost you $1,700 to access the following capabilities on top of those that come with Basic:

  • Manage employees.

  • Manage payroll.

  • Offer layaway.

  • Offer gift cards.

  • Coordinate rewards and loyalty programs.

  • Perform advanced reporting.

Of all the Intuit POS solutions, the Pro version of QuickBooks POS software will offer you the happiest medium between affordability and power.

QuickBooks POS: Multi-store

The most powerful of all the QuickBooks Point of Sale software options is the Multi-Store plan. Relative to other Intuit POS solutions, the Multi-Store option is the most powerful and the most costly software option.

For $1,900, the Multi-Store version of QuickBooks POS software allows your business to access the following capabilities beyond those that the Pro plan offers:

  • Manage multiple stores and channels.

  • Manage and transfer inventory.

  • Advanced sales and inventory reporting between stores.

Hardware options

The following pieces of QuickBooks POS hardware are for sale individually. So, you’ll be able to mix-and-match according to what your business needs — and doesn’t need — for its QuickBooks Point of Sale system. You can also work with a QuickBooks representative to craft a hardware kit that makes sense for your business.

EMV Ready PIN Pad

This QuickBooks POS hardware — the card reader — is perhaps the most essential to any given POS system. The EMV Ready PIN Pad is the only Intuit credit card processing machine available for QuickBooks Point of Sale systems, and it will allow your business to process payments from magstripe cards and chip cards.

This credit card reader won’t allow your business to accept contactless payments. Many QuickBooks credit card processing competitors will allow your business to accept contactless payments from multiple payment apps like Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Plus, with a $349.95 price tag, this Intuit credit card processing machine is a considerable investment for your business.

Receipt printer

If you want your QuickBooks Point of Sale system to be able to offer your customers hard copy receipts, then you’ll also have to invest in a receipt printer. This device will put your business back $219.95.

Barcode scanner

You’ll have two barcode scanner options for your QuickBooks POS. The first and most affordable is a wire version that will cost your business $199.95.

Wireless barcode scanner

The other barcode scanner option for your QuickBooks Point of Sale system is its wireless barcode scanner. This option is more convenient, but at $409.95, it’s also one of the costliest Intuit hardware items available.

Cash drawer

If your business handles a lot of cash, then you’ll want to consider investing in a cash drawer for your QuickBooks POS. Through Intuit, this piece of hardware will cost your business $109.95.

Pole display

A pole display addition for your QuickBooks Point of Sale system will allow your customers to see the details of their transactions, but it will also cost your business a cool $209.95.

Tag printer

Finally, you might want to print tags and labels with barcodes to speed up your business’s checkout process. Intuit payment solutions offers a tag printer for the QuickBooks POS system, but it will come with a $329.95 price tag.

Payment processing

One glaring omission from our rundown of QuickBooks Point of Sale is payment processing. That’s because payment processing doesn’t come built into the QuickBooks POS product. Instead, you have to create a QuickBooks Merchant Services account to start accepting credit card payments through your POS. Similar to QuickBooks’ POS software, QuickBooks Payments comes with three different plans:

Note that to use QuickBooks Online Payments, you must have a corresponding QuickBooks Online account and to use either version of QuickBooks Desktop Payments, you must have a QuickBooks Desktop account. The good news is that QuickBooks Payments does not require long-term contracts, meaning you can use the service as long as you want and cancel at any time. Another benefit is that Payments syncs directly with your accounting platform, allowing you to automate the process of recording transactions in your books.

However, note that if you are using QuickBooks Point of Sale, you must use QuickBooks Payments as your payment processor.

Main advantage of QuickBooks POS

What do all of the details on QuickBooks POS software and hardware mean for your business? There are a few salient pros and cons to opting for an Intuit POS solution for your business. Let’s start with the positive news:

No monthly fees

One feature that’s certainly worth noting is the way the QuickBooks Point of Sale cost is set up.

Once your business invests in QuickBooks POS, it’s yours. So, QuickBooks POS cost won’t involve monthly access fees or setup fees. What you see is what you get — the way QuickBooks POS cost is structured will allow your business to get a better picture of just how much you’ll have to invest in it.

Disadvantages of QuickBooks POS

Despite the upsides to QuickBooks Point of Sale, the system is far from perfect. In fact, there are more notable downsides to opting for a QuickBooks POS system than there are upsides.

Costly lump-sum price tag

No matter how you slice it, QuickBooks Point of Sale cost is one of the highest on the market.

Even if you opt for the most basic setup for your QuickBooks POS system, it’s still going to cost your business a considerable sum — and that’s before you even purchase hardware.

And because this sum will have to be paid in one fell swoop, your business will have to hand over a ton of capital all at once. This can be a serious deal-breaker for many small businesses.

No payment processing included

On top of the initial QuickBooks Point of Sale cost, in order to actually access Intuit credit card processing, you’ll also have to pay for Intuit Merchant Services.

That’s right — even though you’ll only have to pay once for your QuickBooks POS system, QuickBooks credit card processing will be a whole other fish to fry. And it will cost you a certain percentage of every transaction that your business runs through it.

So, while calculating your QuickBooks POS cost, be sure to keep in mind that Intuit payment processing will be another, transaction-based cost to consider.

Only integrates with QuickBooks Desktop

Finally, one last notable downside to getting a QuickBooks Point of Sale system is that it’s completely desktop-based. Unlike QuickBooks accounting software, there is no “QuickBooks POS Online.” You’ll only be able to access QuickBooks Desktop POS software.

As a result, QuickBooks POS software will only be able to integrate with QuickBooks Desktop accounting software. If you want to get a POS system that connects with your accounting software, but you’re using QuickBooks Online for your business’s books, then a QuickBooks POS system would, unfortunately, be beside the point.

User reviews

Here is how customers rank QuickBooks Point of Sale on the major review websites:

  • G2 Crowd: 4 stars out of 5.

  • TrustRadius: 8.3 stars out of 10.

  • Capterra: 4 stars out of 5.

  • Better Business Bureau: A+ (not accredited).

In positive reviews, users tout QuickBooks’ ease of use, strong inventory tracking features and the fact that all transactions are automatically recorded in its accounting software. In negative reviews, users complained about their account crashing with some regularity and that QuickBooks’ customer service isn’t always responsive or helpful.

Alternatives to QuickBooks POS

If you’re not convinced on QuickBooks Point of Sale, here are some other options to consider:

Square POS

If you can’t afford to spend big on your POS, Square POS is a great option. Its POS software comes free, and credit card processing fees cost a flat 2.75% per transaction. Plus, you still get a host of great POS features, including inventory, employee and customer relationship management, plus analytics and add-ons for payroll processing and a loyalty program. What’s more, payment processing is integrated into the Square POS system. Keep in mind though that you’ll still have to lay out cash to purchase your hardware from Square.

Square POS

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on Square's website

Clover POS

If you’re looking for a powerful POS software/hardware bundle, we suggest Clover POS. With Clover, you can purchase your POS software built into your POS hardware for a lump sum ranging between $59 and $1,199, depending on what you need. You’ll still pay a monthly software fee, but it maxes out at $29 per month. Credit card processing fees range between 2.7% + $0.10 and 2.3% + $0.10, depending on the software plan you choose. Regardless of which plan you choose, you’ll get good features, including employee management, offline functionality, text and email receipts and liability protection.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.