Vend POS Review 2023: Pricing, Features, Alternatives

Vend POS is a great option for growing retailers, but its price point may be out of reach for smaller businesses.
Lisa Anthony
Randa Kriss
By Randa Kriss and  Lisa Anthony 
Edited by Sally Lauckner

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Vend is one of the best point-of-sale systems for growing brick-and-mortar retail businesses with robust inventory management features, multi-store functionality and thorough reporting. It is compatible with a variety of hardware options and provides 24/7 customer support.

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However, Vend does not offer its own payment processing service and its pricing may be inaccessible for smaller businesses. It’s designed to accommodate retailers, so restaurants and service-based businesses will likely want to consider alternatives.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Vend was acquired by Lightspeed in 2021 and rebranded to “Vend by Lightspeed,” but you may see it still referred to as Vend or Vend POS.

Pros

Cons

  • Strong inventory management, multi-store and reporting tools.

  • Compatible with Windows and Mac computers, and iPads.

  • 24/7 customer support.

  • Payment processing through third-party providers.

  • No free POS software.

  • Mobile POS system for iPads only.

  • Not ideal for restaurants or service-based businesses.

Deciding factors

Payment processing cost

Varies based on the payment processor you use. Vend does not charge additional transaction fees.

Monthly software cost

  • $89 for Lean plan ($69 if billed annually).

  • $149 for Standard plan ($119 if billed annually).

  • $269 for Advanced plan ($199 if billed annually).

Hardware cost

Undisclosed/quote only.

Contract length

Contract length varies and early termination is not generally an option.

Customer service

24/7 customer support available via email, live chat and phone. Onboarding and training packages are an additional cost if you need hands-on support.

How does Vend POS work?

Vend is a cloud-based POS system that allows you to sell your products, take orders from customers, integrate hardware devices, accept payments and sync data across multiple locations and registers. To get started, you talk with a sales representative or sign up for a free trial.

If you sign up for a free trial, you’ll be able to create a Vend account — no credit card required — and either view a demo store or start building your own store after answering some questions about your business.

When creating your Vend account, you’ll be able to:

  • Set up your business locations and registers.

  • Add users and set their access levels.

  • Link your third-party payment processor and payment terminal.

  • Add and customize your product catalog.

  • Choose and set up your POS hardware.

Once you’ve completed these tasks, you’ll be ready to start selling and taking customer orders. If you created your Vend POS account using the 14-day free trial, you’ll need to activate your account first. Although Vend doesn’t offer a mobile POS app for smartphones, you can use it through Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox on your device.

Vend POS plans and features

Vend offers four versions of its POS software: Lean, Standard, Advanced and Enterprise.

Lean plan features

Lean is the lowest priced plan and offers the following:

  • Locations: Limited to a single location. Additional locations require a plan upgrade to Pro.

  • Registers: One register per location is included and extra registers can be added.

  • Customer support: Receive access to 24/7 customer support via phone, live chat or email.

  • Dedicated account manager: Setup and use support from a person assigned to your account.

  • API access: Gain access to the application programming interface, or API, to create custom solutions for your business.

  • Cloud backup: Store and account information is automatically backed up to the cloud. You can also export your data at any time.

  • Integrated payments: Integrates with most payment processors and accepts credit cards, contactless payments, mobile payments, gift cards, layaway and buy-now-pay-later.

Standard plan features

The Standard plan offers the core features available with Lean as well as accounting and e-commerce channels. Vend integrates with numerous apps including accounting systems QuickBooks, Xero and MYOB, and e-commerce platforms BigCommerce, WooCommerce and Shopify.

Advanced

The Advanced plan includes all the features of the Standard plan, plus:

  • Loyalty features: Customers can earn dollars toward purchases, increasing retention and insights.

  • Advanced reporting and analytics: An analytics suite helps businesses understand their sales, customers and profit sources

  • Serialization: Allows you to generate and assign serial numbers to specific items sold, making them easier to track for warranty purposes.

Enterprise

The Enterprise plan includes all the features of the Advanced plan, plus:

  • Customized onboarding: Receive custom launch services for multi-store operations along with training for your team.

  • Premium API access: Gain access to Vend Workflows (premium APIs that allow you to customize your point-of-sale).

How much does Vend POS cost?

The total cost of the Vend POS system will be based on the software plan, hardware options and third-party payment processor you choose. Here’s what you need to know about pricing:

Software costs

Vend’s subscription plans are priced on a monthly or annual basis; if you opt for an annual plan, you receive a discounted rate.

  • $89 for Lean plan ($69 if billed annually).

  • $149 for Standard plan ($119 if billed annually).

  • $269 for Advanced plan ($199 if billed annually).

Payment processing costs

Vend does not offer its own payment processing service. However, the company is owned by Lightspeed, which does offer payment processing services. Its fees are:

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction.

  • 2.6% plus 30 cents for manually keyed transactions.

You can also choose a compatible payment provider, or you may be able to use your existing provider (if you have one). The processing costs will depend entirely on the payment provider you work with. Regardless of the third-party processor you choose, Vend will not charge transaction fees on top of the rates that you pay your provider.

Vend also works with providers such as Square, PayPal, Worldpay and Chase. According to the company’s website, some of its payment partners offer exclusive processing rates to point-of-sale customers.

Hardware costs

You can use Vend POS with an iPad, Windows computer or Mac computer you already own. You can also run the POS on Microsoft tablets, smartphones or using any internet browser. However, Vend’s mobile app only works with iPad devices.

Vend offers some hardware for purchase through its partnership with POS Portal, although you can buy compatible devices from third-party sellers as well.

You’ll receive your credit card processing hardware — card readers, Bluetooth readers, hand-held terminals or other devices — directly from the payment provider you work with.

Benefits of Vend POS

Retail sales features

Vend offers automated tools for inventory management, allowing you to track your stock, adjust levels and fill orders. Unlike other competitors that rely on external scanners, Vend offers a free scanner app that can be downloaded on any mobile device, iOS or Android. The Scanner app uses the camera from your device to read barcodes and data matrix codes and gives you the ability to conduct inventory counts and product lookups quickly and easily, regardless of your location.

Hardware compatibility

Vend is compatible with a wide variety of hardware solutions, including Windows computers, Mac computers, iPads and Microsoft Surface Pros, making it easy to run this POS system on a device you may already own. Some other platforms are not as flexible and make you choose between Android or iOS operating system.

You can purchase hardware accessories to use with Vend from third-party sources or through Vend’s partner, POS Portal. A list of recommended compatible devices on Vend's website. The company's POS iPad app lets you take advantage of the mobile inventory scanner and customer display apps.

Customer support and online resources

All of the Vend POS plans include 24/7 customer support through phone, live chat and email. With the Enterprise plan, you also receive customized onboarding and training for you and your team. The platform also provides online support resources, including a help center, videos, training webinars, guides, e-books and reports.

There’s also a free trial of its POS software, as well as a free online demo.

Drawbacks of Vend POS

Expensive software costs

Compared with POS alternatives, Vend has a high starting cost. And if you want to add another register, it will cost an extra $59 per month — or $49 per month, if billed annually. The entry-level plan also has some notable limitations, including no access to e-commerce channels, accounting integrations, loyalty programsor premium API aceess.

Some retailers, such as smaller businesses and those just starting out, may not be able to afford Vend and might instead consider a competitor with a free software option such as Square.

Payment processing not included

Vend doesn’t offer its own payment processing service, so you’ll need to find a third-party provider to accept customer credit card payments or use Lightspeed Payments for Vend, which is offered by its parent company. Although this may benefit businesses that already have a relationship with a payment provider, those that don’t will have to go through the process of finding a compatible provider, getting credit card terminals and integrating with the Vend system.

If you want to get your POS system set up as quickly as possible, you might consider an option with its own payment processing instead — such asSquare or Shopify.

Alternatives to Vend POS

Square POS

Square POS

Square
NerdWallet rating 
Shop Now

on Square's website

Monthly fees:

  • $0 for Square POS, Restaurant, Retail and Appointments Free plans.

  • $29 for Square POS Plus and Square Appointments Plus plans.

  • $60 for Restaurant Plus and Retail Plus plans.

  • $69 for Square Appointments Premium plan.

Hardware:

  • $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).

  • $49 for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.

  • $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included).

  • $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer.

  • $799 for Square Register two-screen system.

  • $659-$1,479 for various bundles of stands, cash drawers, printers and card readers.

Payment processing:

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions (2.5% plus 10 cents with Retail Plus plan).

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions or invoices without a card on file.

  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices.

Why we like it::

Square is a versatile POS system that can be a great option for retailers, restaurants and service-based businesses. The POS software is free and integrated payment processing is included. The platform has strong inventory management tools, a highly customizable checkout and a range of reporting options. You can also integrate the POS with a variety of third-party apps or add on other products and services it offers, such as an online store, payroll software and a loyalty program. However, add-ons such as loyalty and marketing cost extra. Also, it’s not compatible with Windows desktops and tablets.

Lightspeed Retail POS

Monthly fee:

  • $89 for Lean plan ($69 if billed annually).

  • $149 for Standard plan ($119 if billed annually).

  • $269 for Advanced plan ($199 if billed annually).

Prices are higher if you don’t use Lightspeed as your payments processor:

  • $119 for Lean plan ($99 if billed annually).

  • $179 for Standard plan ($149 if billed annually).

  • $299 for Advanced plan ($229 if billed annually).

Hardware: Quote-based. Contact Lightspeed sales department for more information.

Payment processing:

  • 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction.

  • 2.6% plus 30 cents for manually keyed transactions.

Why we like it:

Lightspeed, the parent company of Vend, also offers a POS system for retail, restaurant and golf businesses. Its POS offers strong inventory management features, 24/7 customer support and a range of third-party integration options. Unlike Vend, it includes integrated payment processing, offering flat-rate pricing through Lightspeed Payments with all plans.The platform also starts at a lower price point and includes one-on-one onboarding, a dedicated account manager and additional free training within that price. But Lightspeed POS still may be expensive for smaller businesses or those just starting out, and access to accounting integrations or e-commerce tools require you to upgrade.

LightSpeed POS

Lightspeed
NerdWallet rating 
Shop Now

on Lightspeed's website

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