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5 Best iPad POS Systems for Small Businesses of July 2024

IPads that function as point-of-sale systems are affordable, flexible and easy to use. Here’s how to pick the right one.
By Hillary Crawford, Karrin Sehmbi
Last updated on August 1, 2023
Edited bySally Lauckner
Fact checked and reviewed

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

IPad point-of-sale systems allow small businesses to become more mobile and accept payments from anywhere. Just because a particular iPad POS system works for one business, however, doesn’t mean it’ll be suitable for another. The right solution will depend on what type of business you have, the hardware you’re pairing with the iPad (if any) and whether the majority of your sales happen in-store or on the go.
Here are our top picks for iPad POS systems.

Best iPad POS Systems for Small Businesses From Our Partners

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Estimates assume an average interchange fee of 1.81% + $0.10, based on our latest available data. Estimates provided reflect online and in-person transactions, but exclude any keyed transactions. Estimates are based on the lowest monthly plan and processing fees for each provider.

Product
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Payment processing fees
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Shopify Retail POS

Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
4.5/5

Best for Shopify e-commerce users

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$39.00

and up for e-commerce plans with POS Lite; Can upgrade to POS Pro for an extra $89.

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

Square Stand

Learn more

on Square Stand's secure website

5.0/5

Best for Overall iPad POS system

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

Starts at $0/month for unlimited devices and locations.

Learn more

on Square Stand's secure website

Clover Go

Learn more

on Clover Go's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Mostly mobile businesses

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 3.5% + $0.10

$0.00

Payments plan; $14.95 Essentials plan.

Learn more

on Clover Go's secure website

Lightspeed Retail POS

Learn more

on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Customer relationship management features

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$109.00

for Basic plan, $179 for Core plan, $289 for Plus plan.

Learn more

on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

TouchBistro

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Restaurants

N/A

Quote-based.

$69.00

and up.

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

Our pick for

Shopify e-commerce users

Shopify Retail POS

Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$39.00

and up for e-commerce plans with POS Lite; Can upgrade to POS Pro for an extra $89.

Our pick for

Overall iPad POS system

Square Stand

Learn more

on Square Stand's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Starts at $0/month for unlimited devices and locations.

Our pick for

Mostly mobile businesses

Clover Go

Learn more

on Clover Go's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Payments plan; $14.95 Essentials plan.

Our pick for

Customer relationship management features

Lightspeed Retail POS

Learn more

on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$109.00

for Basic plan, $179 for Core plan, $289 for Plus plan.

Our pick for

Restaurants

TouchBistro

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

Payment processing fees
N/A

Quote-based.

Monthly fee
$69.00

and up.

Square Stand: Best overall

Monthly POS software fees:
  • $0 for Square POS, Restaurant, Retail and Appointments Free plans.
  • $29 for Square Appointments Plus plan.
  • $60 for Square Restaurant Plus plan.
  • $69 for Square Appointments Premium plan.
  • $89 for Square Retail Plus plan.
  • Custom pricing for Square Retail and Square Restaurant Premium plans.
Hardware cost:
  • $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional reader) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).
  • $49 and up for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.
  • $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included; monthly financing available).
  • $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer (monthly financing available).
  • $799 for Square Register two-screen system (monthly financing available).
Payment processing:
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions.
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions.
  • 3.3% plus 30 cents for invoices.
Pros:
  • Free software plan available, and it includes a wealth of features.
  • Can finance hardware and pay in monthly installments. APR is 15%.
  • No fees for early termination, PCI compliance or setup.
  • Offers plans tailored to retail stores, restaurants and service-based businesses.
  • Phone, email and messaging support with all plans; available 24/7 in paid restaurant plans.
Cons:
  • Customer loyalty programs and email marketing tools are monthly add-ons.
Why we like it: Square Stand is a top-notch iPad POS system that’s scalable, convenient and promises no hidden fees. In addition to being a one-stop shop for payment processing, POS software and POS hardware, Square offers a variety of add-ons and plans. And its “shop now, pay over time” options, free online store builder and free POS software — which includes essentials like inventory management and employee time tracking — all lower the cost of entry for new small businesses. The company also offers its own in-house payroll software and payment processing, and business owners who don’t already own an iPad can buy one straight from Square’s hardware shop.

Clover Go: Best for mostly mobile businesses

Monthly POS software fees:
  • $0 for Payments plan.
  • $14.95 for Essentials plan.
Hardware:
  • $49 for chip, swipe and contactless Clover Go card reader.
  • $599 for Clover Flex mobile POS with printer.
  • $799 for Clover Mini POS.
  • $799-$899 + $25 per month for kitchen display system.
  • $1,699 for Clover Station Solo.
  • $1,799 for Clover Station Duo.
  • $2,499 + $34.95 per month for self-ordering kiosk.
Payment processing:
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions.
  • 3.5% plus 10 cents for online or keyed-in transactions.
Pros:
  • Free software plan available.
  • Minimal hardware investment needed.
  • 24/7 phone support.
Cons:
  • Inventory management and the ability to set discounts, tips, tax rates and employee logins aren’t included in the free software plan.
  • Clover is sold by a number of resellers, so prices and contract terms could vary.
Why we like it: The free Clover Go app lets business owners accept payments, send receipts and track sales directly through a smartphone or tablet. Small businesses that would benefit from inventory management and need to set up employee logins, discounts, tips and tax rates might consider purchasing a software plan to use alongside the app. The product is ideal for businesses that already use Clover or operate mostly on the go.

TouchBistro: Best for restaurants

Monthly POS software fees:
  • $69 for base plan.
  • $25 for gift cards feature.
  • $50 for online ordering feature.
  • $99 for loyalty features or marketing features.
  • $229 for reservations feature.
Hardware cost: Quote-based.
Payment processing: Quote-based for TouchBistro Payments.
Pros:
  • 24/7 phone, chat and email support.
  • Offers customizable plans for a variety of restaurant types.
Cons:
  • Add-ons like customer loyalty programs and online ordering can get expensive.
  • No free plans.
Why we like it: TouchBistro is an iPad POS system built specifically for restaurants. It offers customizable solutions for full-service restaurants along with food trucks, quick-service restaurants, bars, bakeries and coffee shops. The company’s core software plan includes inventory management, menu and table management, reporting, tableside ordering capabilities and staff management tools. Reservations, online ordering, digital menu boards and customer loyalty programs are available for an extra monthly fee. The system is a solid option for restaurants that need more functionality than other companies’ free plans have to offer.

Lightspeed: Best for customer relationship management features

Monthly POS software fees:
Lightspeed offers three different plans for retail stores:
  • $109 for Basic plan ($89 if billed annually).
  • $179 for Core plan ($149 if billed annually).
  • $289 for Plus plan ($239 if billed annually).
Hardware cost:
Pricing for Lightspeed's iPad and desktop hardware kits is quote-based. Individual hardware products are listed in Lightspeed's online store:
  • $79 for Mobile Tap V2 card reader.
  • $199 for iPad stand or swivel stand.
  • $299 for WisePOS E countertop reader.
  • $429 for Lightspeed Lite Server for data backup and offline mode functionality.
Payment processing:
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction.
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
Pros:
  • 24/7 phone, text and email support.
  • Free onboarding session that includes live online training and one-on-one follow-up.
  • Robust set of customer relationship management and inventory management features.
Cons:
  • No free plans.
  • Annual contracts required for lowering pricing.
  • Add-ons such as accounting integrations and customer loyalty programs cost extra in restaurant plans.
Why we like it: Lightspeed’s CRM tools let businesses create customer profiles, offer discounts to regulars, record each customer’s purchase history and explore shopping trends. The product is a good fit for restaurants and retail stores that know how to use this type of data to grow and better appeal to their audience. The company’s inventory management tools are also notable. Businesses can create product variants, assign unique serial numbers to products and order new stock directly through the POS system.

Shopify: Best for Shopify e-commerce users

Monthly POS software fees:
Shopify e-commerce plans:
  • $29 for Shopify Basic when billed annually (or $39 when paid monthly).
  • $79 for regular Shopify when billed annually (or $105 when paid monthly).
  • $299 for Shopify Advanced when billed annually (or $399 when paid monthly).
  • Custom pricing for Shopify Plus.
  • All e-commerce plans come with POS Lite for selling in-person. Upgrading to POS Pro for brick-and-mortar businesses costs an extra $89 per location.
Shopify’s alternative solutions for mainly selling in-person:
  • $5 for Starter plan, which includes one POS Lite location.
  • $79 (when billed annually) for Retail plan, or $89 when paid monthly; includes one POS Pro location.
Hardware cost:
  • $49 for Tap & Chip card reader.
  • $219 for Tap & Chip countertop kit (iPad not included).
  • $299 for Shopify POS Go mobile device.
  • $349 for Shopify POS terminal.
  • $459 and up for POS terminal countertop kits.
Payment processing:
  • 2.5%, 2.7% or 2.9% plus 30 cents for online payments for Advanced, Shopify or Basic plan, respectively.
  • 2.4%, 2.5% or 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person payments for Advanced, Shopify or Basic plan, respectively.
Pros:
  • Low payment processing rates.
  • Can pay for Shopify Retail Stand in installments.
  • 24/7 email, chat and phone support.
  • All plans include a free online store for your business, shipping discounts, the ability to print shipping labels and an abandoned cart recovery tool.
Cons:
  • Must pay separately for a Shopify e-commerce plan.
  • Basic and Shopify software plans limited to two and five staff accounts, respectively.
Why we like it: Like Lightspeed, Shopify’s iPad POS system lets businesses create customer profiles and save order histories in all plans. Shopify really stands out, however, because of its e-commerce perks and relatively low processing rates. Businesses that do most of their sales online, particularly those that already use Shopify, will benefit the most from its shipping discounts, online marketplaces and ability to add an unlimited amount of products and variants in your POS.
Maddie Shepherd contributed reporting to this article.
Last updated on August 1, 2023

Methodology

NerdWallet’s point-of-sale systems provider ratings reward companies whose products and services are priced well and work in a variety of payment scenarios, among other criteria. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including cost, system capabilities, contract requirements, customer service and integrations and add-ons. Learn more about how we rate point-of-sale (POS) systems providers.
These ratings are a guide, but services, hardware and pricing can vary widely from business to business and provider to provider. We encourage you to shop around and compare several providers.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
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