Vend POS Review: Pricing, Features, Alternatives

Vend POS is a great option for growing retailers, but its price point may be out of reach for smaller businesses.
Randa KrissSep 30, 2021

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With robust inventory management features, multi-store functionality and thorough reporting, Vend is one of the best point-of-sale systems for growing brick-and-mortar businesses. Vend POS includes unlimited products and users, is compatible with a variety of hardware options and offers 24/7 customer support.

However, unlike some competitors, Vend does not offer its own payment processing service and its pricing may be inaccessible for smaller businesses. Vend is 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. Lightspeed has rebranded the Vend POS system under the name “Vend by Lightspeed,” but has not changed any of its products or services. You may see the system continue to be referred to as Vend or Vend POS.

Pros

Cons

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

  • Unlimited products and users included with all plans.

  • No additional transaction fees charged on top of the fees you pay your processor.

  • Compatible with a range of hardware solutions, including Windows and Mac computers, and iPads.

  • 24/7 customer support.

  • Payment processing is not included. You’ll need to choose your own compatible provider.

  • No free POS software and pricing can be expensive.

  • Promotions, gift cards, e-commerce channels and certain third-party apps not available with entry-level plan.

  • Dedicated mobile app offered only for iPads.

  • Not ideal for restaurants or service-based businesses.

Deciding factors

Software cost

Starts at $99 per month billed annually, or $119 billed monthly for one location and one register.

Hardware cost

  • Runs on iPads, Macs and Windows computers; compatible with industry-standard accessories.

  • Select hardware available through Vend’s partner, POS Portal. Retail bundles start at $600 for a starter iOS hardware kit with receipt printer, cash drawer and bar code scanner. iPad not included.

  • Credit card terminals are provided by your payment processor.

Payment processing cost

Varies based on the payment processor you use. Vend does not charge transaction fees on top of the rates you pay your processor.

Contract length

  • Month-to-month or annual contracts are available. Annual contracts receive a discounted rate.

  • Accounts can be canceled at any time, but fees paid in advance will not be refunded.

  • Once your account is canceled, your data is deleted after 180 days.

  • You have the option to temporarily pause your account with Vend’s On Ice service and freeze your data for $5 per month.

Live support

24/7 customer support available through email, live chat and phone for all Vend POS plans. Onboarding and training packages are also available (for additional costs) if you need hands-on support.

Ease of use

Vend has an intuitive and straightforward dashboard that is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Online customer reviews suggest that Vend is simple to set up and use, although the system can be buggy at times.

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 with Vend POS, you can book a personalized consultation with a sales representative or sign up for a 14-day 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. Vend will ask some questions about your business to help guide you through your startup process.

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. Vend offers customer support resources if you need assistance finding and choosing a payment provider.

  • 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. However, if you create your Vend POS account using the 14-day free trial, you’ll first need to activate your account.

You can activate your account at any time through your dashboard by choosing a subscription plan and preferred billing frequency (monthly or annually) and submitting your payment information.

Vend POS features

Vend offers three versions of its POS software: Lite, Pro and Enterprise. The chart below breaks down the features included with the different options.

Vend POS software

Core features

Lite

  • Manage your inventory in real time: Add an unlimited number of products and customize your catalog.

  • Track and manage your stock levels and orders across locations and sales channels.

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

  • Run basic reports and analytics, such as sales summaries, register closures and inventory levels.

  • Store data in the cloud and sync across locations and registers.

  • Integrate with a compatible third-party payment processor to accept a range of payment types, including: credit and debit cards, contactless payments, mobile payments, cash and more.

  • Take and process customer orders, generate receipts, refunds or returns.

  • Add an unlimited number of users and designate access levels based on their role.

  • Create customer profiles and maintain a customer database.

  • Integrate with accounting software, such as QuickBooks Online or Xero.

Pro

All the features of Vend POS Lite, plus:

  • Access advanced reporting capabilities and build your own reports. Use custom report filters for sales, customers and product performance.

  • Run promotional programs and issue gift cards to customers.

  • Integrate with third-party apps for email marketing, scheduling and more.

  • Connect to an e-commerce platform and sync customers, products and reports.

  • Oversee more than one location and manage your entire catalog, customers and operations from your single VendHQ account.

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

Enterprise*

All the features of Vend POS Pro, plus:

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

  • Get a dedicated account manager for support and receive product training for you and your team.

  • Receive custom onboarding. Vend will set up users, accounts and products; migrate your information; and personalize your system to your needs.

*Although these are the standard features of the Enterprise plan, you can talk to the Vend sales team about creating a custom, tailored solution for your business needs since this is a quote-based option.

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 Vend’s 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.

All plans start with one location and one register. If you want to add another location or another register, you’ll need to pay an additional monthly (or annual) fee. If you pay for the cost of an additional location, however, you always receive one corresponding register within that price.

The chart below outlines the costs associated with each plan.

Vend POS plan

Cost

Cost per additional location

Cost per additional register

Lite

$99 per month billed annually, or $119 per month billed monthly.

Not applicable. Plan accommodates only one location.

$49 per month billed annually, or $59 per month billed monthly.

Pro

$129 per month billed annually, or $159 per month billed monthly.

$129 per month billed annually, or $159 per month billed monthly.

$49 per month billed annually, or $59 per month billed monthly.

Enterprise

Quoted-based.

Quoted-based.

Quoted-based.

It’s important to note that the Lite plan has a monthly turnover, or sales, limit of $20,000. If you exceed this limit three times within a 12-month period, Vend will require you to upgrade to the Pro plan. The Pro and Enterprise plans do not have any turnover limits.

Payment processing costs

Vend does not offer its own payment processing service. You’ll need to find and choose a compatible payment provider, or you may be able to use your existing provider (if you have one). Therefore, your payment processing costs will depend entirely on the payment provider you work with.

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

Regardless of the third-party processor you choose, Vend will not charge transaction fees on top of the rates that you pay your provider.

Hardware costs

You can use Vend POS with an iPad, Windows computer or Mac computer you already own. You can also run Vend POS on Microsoft tablets, smartphones or using any internet browser. However, Vend offers a mobile app only specifically for 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. Here are the prices of some hardware bundles and accessories:

  • Motorola bar code scanner: $120.75

  • Star Micronics cash drawer: $125

  • Epson thermal receipt printer: $230

  • Starter hardware kit for iOS with receipt printer, cash drawer and bar code scanner: $600

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 POS includes a strong suite of retail features that allow business owners to sell their products, serve their customers and manage their day-to-day operations. With Vend, you can create and customize your product catalog — adding an unlimited number of products with all plans — and sync data through the cloud across locations and sales channels.

Vend offers automated tools for inventory management, allowing you to track your stock, adjust levels and fill orders. The Vend scanner mobile app also gives you the ability to conduct inventory counts and product lookups quickly and easily, regardless of your location.

Moreover, Vend POS includes thorough reporting, tools for customer relationship management and a customizable checkout — with the option to use the Vend Display app to turn your iPad into a customer-facing display.

You can add an unlimited number of users to your Vend POS account. And if you upgrade to the Pro plan, you can access tools for e-commerce, loyalty programs, gift cards and multi-store management.

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. And although Vend doesn’t offer a mobile POS app for smartphones, you can use it through Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox on your device.

You can purchase hardware accessories to use with Vend from third-party sources or through Vend’s partner, POS Portal. Vend conveniently provides a list of recommended compatible devices on its website based on whether you’re using a Windows computer, Mac or iPad.

If you use Vend on an iPad, you can run the dedicated Vend POS iPad app and 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 a dedicated account manager to provide ongoing support and training for you and your team.

In addition to its standard customer support, Vend offers professional services that allow you to work with a Vend expert for personalized onboarding, training and other assistance (for associated costs). Vend also provides thorough support resources online, including its help center, on-demand courses, training webinars, e-books and reports.

Vend offers a 14-day free trial of its POS software, as well as a free online demo. You can also book a personalized consultation with a Vend representative to learn more about the system before signing up.

Drawbacks of Vend POS

Expensive software costs

Vend POS starts at $119 per month, or $99 per month if billed annually. If you want to add another register, you’ll need to pay an extra $59 per month — or $49 per month, if billed annually. With this plan, you have a $20,000 turnover limit per month and you do not have access to promotions and gift cards, e-commerce channels, third-party apps, multi-store management or APIs.

Compared with POS alternatives, Vend has a high starting cost, especially considering some of the limitations of the entry-level plan. Some retailers, smaller businesses and those just starting out in particular, may not be able to afford this price point — and might instead consider a competitor with a free software option, like Square.

Payment processing not included

Vend does not offer its own payment processing service, so you’ll need to find a third-party provider to accept customer credit card payments. Although this may be beneficial for 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.

As part of this process, you’ll also have to compare processing rates and determine which provider offers the best deal for your business. According to the Vend website, its system is compatible with a range of providers, but you’ll need to reach out to its sales team to receive the full list based on your region.

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 — like Square or Shopify — that offers flat-rate, transparent pricing.

Alternatives to Vend POS

Square POS

Pricing:

  • Software: $0 per month.

  • Hardware: Free Square Reader for magstripe included when you sign up for an account. Additional hardware costs vary.

  • Payment processing: 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction for in-person payments; 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction for online payments.

Pros:

Square is a versatile POS system that can be a great option for retailers, restaurants and service-based businesses. Square offers a free POS software, integrated payment processing and a user-friendly mobile app, which allows you to set up your account and start selling quickly and easily.

Square has strong inventory management tools, a highly customizable checkout and a range of reporting options. You can also integrate Square POS with a variety of third-party apps or add on other products and services Square offers, such as an online store, payroll software and a loyalty program.

Cons:

Although Square can meet the needs of a wide variety of businesses at a low price point, there are more specialized POS systems available for retail businesses and restaurants.

Square also requires that you pay additional fees for add-ons like loyalty and marketing, which are included within the software costs of other systems, such as Shopify POS and Vend POS Pro. Moreover, while Square is great for iOS and Android devices, it is not compatible with Windows desktops and tablets.

Lightspeed Retail POS

Pricing:

  • Software: Starting at $69 per month, billed annually, and $29 per month for each additional register.

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

  • Payment processing: 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction for card-present payments; 2.6% + 30 cents per transaction for card-not-present payments.

Pros: 

Lightspeed Retail is the proprietary POS system sold by Vend’s parent company, Lightspeed. Lightspeed Retail POS offers strong inventory management features, 24/7 customer support and a range of third-party integration options. Unlike Vend, Lightspeed includes integrated payment processing, offering transparent flat-rate pricing through Lightspeed Payments with all plans.

Lightspeed also starts at a lower price point — $69 per month, billed annually — and includes one-on-one onboarding, a dedicated account manager and additional free training within that price. Plus, if you upgrade to a higher-tier plan, you can receive access to accounting integrations, e-commerce features and omnichannel loyalty programs.

Cons:

Like Vend, Lightspeed POS still may be expensive for smaller businesses or those just starting out — especially considering alternatives like Toast and Square offer free POS software solutions.

Similarly, if you want access to accounting integrations or e-commerce tools, you’ll need to opt for the Standard plan ($119 per month, billed annually). You’ll need to choose the Advanced plan ($199 per month, billed annually) for access to loyalty programs and the analytics core platform.

Moreover, Lightspeed does not provide information about its hardware pricing upfront. You have to contact a sales representative for a quote, making it difficult to compare the cost with competitors.