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8 Best Mobile POS Systems of July 2024

Cost, flexibility and convenience are top considerations when taking payments from customers with a mobile point-of-sale system.
By Kurt Woock, Lisa A. Anthony, Hillary Crawford
Last updated on January 8, 2024
Edited byChristine Aebischer
Fact checked and reviewed

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Mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems give you the flexibility to process sales from a tablet, phone or other handheld device. Compared with countertop POS systems that let you process customer transactions from only one location, mobile POS systems provide additional convenience, whether you run a restaurant that accepts payments tableside or a retail store branching out beyond its brick-and-mortar location.
The best mobile POS systems include a combination of fair pricing, useful features and some advanced capabilities. Consider your specific industry needs, as well as software, hardware and payment processing costs.
Here are NerdWallet’s picks for the top mobile POS systems.

Best Mobile POS Systems

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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
Cost Estimate
Payment processing fees
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Square POS

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on Square POS's secure website

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
5.0/5

Best for Cost and transparency

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

and up.

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

Helcim POS

Learn more

on Helcim POS's secure website

4.5/5

Best for High sales volume

In-person: 0.4% + $0.08

Online: 0.5% + $0.25

Plus interchange

$0.00

Learn more

on Helcim POS's secure website

Shopify Retail POS

Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

4.5/5

Best for Online-first businesses

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.

Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

Clover POS

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on Clover POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Overall mobile POS system

In-person: 2.3% + $0.10

Online: 3.5% + $0.10

$14.95

and up.

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Toast POS

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Restaurants

2.49% + $0.15

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

$0.00

Starter Kit; $69 Point of Sale plan; custom Build Your Own plan.

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

Lightspeed Retail POS

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on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Retail

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

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on TouchBistro's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Cafes and food trucks

N/A

Quote-based.

$69.00

and up.

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

PayPal Zettle

4.0/5

Best for Alternate payment options

In-person: 2.29% + $0.09

Online: 2.89% + $0.49

$0.00

Our pick for

Cost and transparency

Square POS

Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

and up.

Our pick for

High sales volume

Helcim POS

4.5
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on Helcim POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Online-first businesses

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 mobile POS system

Clover POS

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$14.95

and up.

Our pick for

Restaurants

Toast POS

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

Payment processing fees
2.49% + $0.15

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

Monthly fee
$0.00

Starter Kit; $69 Point of Sale plan; custom Build Your Own plan.

Our pick for

Retail

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

Cafes and food trucks

TouchBistro

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

Payment processing fees
N/A

Quote-based.

Monthly fee
$69.00

and up.

Our pick for

Alternate payment options

PayPal Zettle

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our picks for the best mobile POS systems

Clover POS: Best overall mobile POS system

Why we like it: The mobile Clover Flex is an all-in-one device that includes an internal printer, which sets it apart from many other standalone POS devices. The economical Clover Go system lets you swipe, tap and dip cards with one small device — something Square’s smallest devices don’t do. The Clover card processing rate at higher plan levels is among the best flat rates, although it comes with a larger monthly fee. Read our full Clover POS review.

Toast: Best for restaurants

Why we like it: Toast is built specifically for the restaurant industry, which is evident in the details found throughout the hardware and software it offers. The mobile Toast Go 2, an all-in-one device, is designed to last all day without a recharge, is durable and spill-resistant, and works well in dim indoor settings as well as outdoors. It can process chip, swipe and contactless payments, and it makes sharing information with the kitchen easier with multiple-language support. Read our full Toast POS review.

Square POS: Best for cost and transparency

Why we like it: Square works well for a variety of business types, including retail and restaurants. It offers free software, and many of its hardware options work with the phone or tablet you already have, which can be helpful for new businesses looking to get started on a budget. Like the Clover Flex, the Square Terminal is an all-in-one device that includes an internal printer, but Square’s is $300 cheaper. Read our full Square POS review.

PayPal Zettle: Best for alternate payment options

Why we like it: PayPal Zettle offers a well-rounded POS system that is low cost and doesn’t require a long commitment. Also, the system’s ability to accept payments via QR code for PayPal and Venmo can be a convenience for you and your customers. Payment processing fees are quite competitive, especially if you do a lot of in-person business. The POS app is free to download, and there’s no monthly fee or contract to use it — you just pay per transaction. Read our full PayPal Zettle review.

Lightspeed POS: Best for retail

Why we like it: Lightspeed’s best retail features are accessible by mobile app and can enhance your experience as a business owner. With its cloud-based software, you can check out customers on the spot, track sales and employee hours, and manage inventory on the go from your iPad. Read our full Lightspeed POS review.

TouchBistro: Best for cafes and food trucks

Why we like it: TouchBistro offers a POS system that is built for different types of food businesses, including restaurants, cafes and food trucks. Its hybrid system will work even if Wi-Fi is down or spotty, making it ideal for offsite or mobile ordering. TouchBistro also has a customer relationship management system that can track customer preferences. It can be run from an iPad and integrated with pre-existing hardware. Read our full TouchBistro POS review.

Helcim POS: Best for high sales volume

Why we like it: On top of its interchange-plus payment processing rates, Helcim’s volume discounts could be a plus for businesses processing more than $50,000 in credit card transactions each month. And unlike some competitors’ card readers, Helcim’s reader includes a PIN pad, screen and countertop stand. You can also download its free POS app on a tablet or iPad.

Shopify Retail POS: Best for online-first businesses

Why we like it: Shopify helps business owners build a solid foundation online, but it also offers POS software features and hardware options for stores that make sales in-person, whether it’s at a pop-up or permanent brick-and-mortar location. All plans include a free Shopify POS app, inventory tracking and 24/7 support.

What is a mobile POS system?

A mobile POS system allows business owners to make sales with a portable card reader from anywhere, whether it’s tableside, at a pop-up event or in store. For a brick-and-mortar retail business, most sales will be done at the counter on a POS system with a terminal, cash drawer and receipt printer. Mobile POS systems are convenient for sales that happen anywhere else beyond the counter.
A mobile POS system includes the software that allows you to track sales and sync with the rest of your business software ecosystem and the mobile device hardware. Depending on your system, the POS hardware could be an iPad or iPhone, Android tablet or branded mobile device that you buy through the mobile POS provider.

How to choose a mobile POS system

If your business already uses a countertop POS system, then you’ll first want to explore the mobile POS options from that provider. Adding mobile functionality is typically straightforward: You’ll typically download your existing software onto a mobile device such as a tablet or purchase a mobile hardware package from the provider.
If you’re choosing a POS system for the first time, here are some other factors to think about before making a decision:
  • Your industry. Restaurants that want to process sales tableside will require different features than retailers selling at pop-ups. POS system providers usually brand themselves as solutions for a particular industry.
  • Software costs. If you need only the basics, look for a mobile POS system that offers a free software plan. And make sure to read the fine print to find out whether you’ll be locked in a contract.
  • Payment processing costs. Payment processing costs vary from one mobile POS system to the next. Some integrate with third-party payment processing companies, while others only use their in-house option. Consider your sales volume and which types of payments you’d like to be able to accept.
  • Hardware compatibility. Maybe you already have a tablet that you’d like to turn into a mobile POS system. Some mobile POS system providers are compatible with iOS and/or Android devices, but you’ll probably still have to buy a card reader. Other providers only offer their own proprietary hardware options. While the latter might be costly upfront, those devices often come with convenient features, like barcode scanners and receipt printers.
Last updated on January 8, 2024

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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