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14 Best POS Systems for Small Businesses of June 2024

Factor in hardware portability, software integrations and your business’s specific industry needs to determine the best POS system.
By Lisa A. Anthony, Karrin Sehmbi, Hillary Crawford
Last updated on June 18, 2024
Edited byChristine Aebischer
Fact checked and reviewed

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The best point-of-sale (POS) systems do more than allow your business to accept payments from customers. POS systems also help you manage sales, track inventory and improve daily business operations by offering numerous hardware options and feature-rich POS software. Many options come with built-in payment processing services, too.
Square is our pick for the best overall POS system, thanks to its transparent pricing, intuitive user interface and comprehensive free plan. However, like several options on our list, it isn’t compatible with third-party payment processors. If you’d like to pair your POS system with a different payment processor, Clover is likely your best bet.
Here are our picks for the best POS systems.

Best POS Systems for Small Businesses

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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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Helcim POS

Learn more

on Helcim POS's secure website

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

Best for High sales volumes

In-person: 0.4% + $0.08

Online: 0.5% + $0.25

Plus interchange

$0.00

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
Learn more

on Helcim POS's secure website

Stripe Terminal

Learn more

on Stripe Terminal's secure website

5.0/5

Best for Online business to in-person sales

In-person: 2.7% + $0.05

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

Learn more

on Stripe Terminal's secure website

Square POS

Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

5.0/5

Best for Transparent pricing

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

and up.

Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

Shopify Retail POS

Learn more

on Shopify POS's secure website

4.5/5

Best for E-commerce platform integration

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

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Choosing your own payment processor

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 doing dine-in and online business

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

SpotOn Restaurant

Learn more

on SpotOn Restaurant's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Restaurant-specific add-on features

1.99% + $0.25

For most cards in paid plans.

$0.00

and up.

Learn more

on SpotOn Restaurant's secure website

SumUp POS

Learn more

on SumUp POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Automated marketing

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 3.5% + $0.15

$0.00

for card readers only; $99 for Connect Lite plan; $199 for Connect Plus plan; $289 for Connect Pro plan.

Learn more

on SumUp POS's secure website

Lightspeed Retail POS

Learn more

on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Inventory management

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 Food trucks

N/A

Quote-based.

$69.00

and up.

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

U.S. Bank Merchant Services POS

3.5/5

Best for Bank POS provider

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

and up.

Lavu

Learn more

on Lavu's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Cash discount program

N/A

Quote-based.

$99.00

and up.

Learn more

on Lavu's secure website

PayPal Zettle

4.0/5

Best for Mobile POS software

In-person: 2.29% + $0.09

Online: 2.89% + $0.49

$0.00

Payanywhere POS

4.0/5

Best for Managing customer reviews

In-person: 2.69% + $0.00

Online: 3.49% + $0.19

$0.00

and up.

Our pick for

High sales volumes

As a full-service merchant services provider, Helcim can essentially do it all for a business: payment processing, point of sale, invoicing and business management. Because it offers volume discounts, Helcim is especially cost-effective for businesses with high sales volumes.

Helcim POS

Learn more

on Helcim POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Online business to in-person sales

Stripe accepts payments in more than 135 currencies, making it a strong fit for businesses with global reach. Stripe Terminal is not a POS system but an integration that allows you to extend your online business to in-person sales. With some coding, it can be connected to your POS app.

Stripe Terminal

Learn more

on Stripe Terminal's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Transparent pricing

Square’s transparent pricing, lack of long-term contracts, strong integrations and free POS plan, which has more functionality than some competitors’ base-level offerings, push it to the front of the group. Other standout perks include a free online store, inexpensive hardware options and no chargeback fees. The provider can accommodate a range of industries, too, including retail, restaurants and service-based businesses.

Square POS

Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

and up.

Our pick for

E-commerce platform integration

Shopify seamlessly unites online and in-store sales with its integrated POS and e-commerce plans. And its in-house payment processing solution makes it a one-stop-shop for 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

Choosing your own payment processor

Clover’s most distinguishing feature is its ability to work with other payment processors. In other words, Clover merchants aren’t locked into using Clover as their payment processor. However, Clover hardware can’t be reprogrammed so you’ll need to purchase it directly from your payment processor of choice and will only be able to use it with that processor.

Clover POS

Learn more

on Clover POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$14.95

and up.

Our pick for

Restaurants doing dine-in and online business

Toast lets customers integrate online ordering options with their existing Toast POS system. If your restaurant has multiple locations, customers can choose where they’d like to pick up their order.

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

Restaurant-specific add-on features

SpotOn Restaurant solutions are custom fit for your specific restaurant needs and numerous software integrations can round out your system. The company’s Restaurant Advisory Council provides regular feedback for continual improvement.

SpotOn Restaurant

4.0
NerdWallet rating 
Learn more

on SpotOn Restaurant's secure website

Payment processing fees
1.99% + $0.25

For most cards in paid plans.

Monthly fee
$0.00

and up.

Our pick for

Automated marketing

SumUp’s Connect Plus and Pro POS plans come with marketing tools that automatically send customers targeted promotions and allow them to accumulate rewards.

SumUp POS

Learn more

on SumUp POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

for card readers only; $99 for Connect Lite plan; $199 for Connect Plus plan; $289 for Connect Pro plan.

Our pick for

Inventory management

Lightspeed’s POS designed specifically for retailers offers several strong features, but it stands out particularly for its inventory management capabilities. The system is especially well suited for businesses with more than one location.

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

Food trucks

TouchBistro is a POS system designed specifically for food-industry businesses. With a wealth of restaurant-related features and the ability to easily take payments on the go — with or without an internet connection — it’s a particularly good choice for 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

Bank POS provider

U.S. Bank Merchant Services offers payment processing and business bank accounts in addition to POS solutions, making it a one-stop shop for small businesses.

U.S. Bank Merchant Services POS

Monthly fee
$0.00

and up.

Our pick for

Cash discount program

Lavu makes iPad-based POS systems for different types of restaurants, from delis and coffee shops to full-service dining establishments. The company’s cash discount program helps business owners save on processing fees by passing some of the costs onto customers who choose to pay with cards instead of cash. Those who pay cash can skip the fees, so be sure your business is equipped to handle cash transactions.

Learn more

on Lavu's secure website

Payment processing fees
N/A

Quote-based.

Monthly fee
$99.00

and up.

Our pick for

Mobile POS software

This all-in-one mobile POS and payment processing system is built for quick and easy setup and integrates seamlessly with many big names in business-related software. PayPal Zettle’s POS software is free, so business owners pay only for hardware and payment processing.

PayPal Zettle

Monthly fee
$0.00

Our pick for

Managing customer reviews

Payanywhere stands out for its reputation management platform that helps you monitor online reviews from Google and social media, and respond to them all from one place. You can also use it to create competitor profiles and stay up to date with how other businesses in your area are performing.

Payanywhere POS

4.0
NerdWallet rating 
Monthly fee
$0.00

and up.

Our picks for best POS systems

Square

Best overall POS system
NerdWallet rating: 5 stars.
Why we like it: The Square POS system is an excellent option for small businesses that are looking for an easy-to-run, cost-effective POS. Square stands out among its competitors by offering a free version of its POS that contains a great deal of functionality, including sales tracking, inventory management and an offline mode to accept transactions without a Wi-Fi connection. Square also is transparent with pricing, doesn’t require contracts or charge hidden fees, and integrates with third-party hardware and software. Additionally, Square offers a free 30-day trial of its paid plan for both its retail and restaurant solutions; businesses owners can easily downgrade to the free software plan at the end of the trial with no additional fee or penalty. This is one of the most generous free trials offered by a POS provider, especially in the restaurant space, where it’s rare to find a free trial offer. Read our full Square POS review.

Stripe Terminal

Best for international businesses
NerdWallet rating: 5 stars.
Why we like it: Stripe Terminal extends Stripe Payments functionality for online businesses looking to add in-person payment capability. Because Stripe accepts all forms of payment — credit and debit cards, digital wallets, ACH transfers and even buy now, pay later options — in more than 135 currencies, it’s a solid option for online businesses that sell internationally. Stripe has a lot of customization options and some neat features that more tech-savvy business owners, or those with access to developers, may want to take advantage of. Read our full Stripe Terminal review.

Helcim

Best for high sales volumes
NerdWallet rating: 4.5 stars.
Why we like it: Helcim is best known for payment processing, but its POS software isn’t something to gloss over — especially as it’s one of a few among the competition that works across both desktop and mobile, as well as Mac and Windows devices. Similar to Square, Helcim boasts no monthly or hidden fees and no contract, but it follows the interchange-plus pricing model for payment processing. Helcim offers competitive processing rates and offers discounted rates for businesses with $50,000 or more per month in card transactions, meaning it’s a particularly strong contender for businesses with higher sales volumes. Read our full Helcim review.

Toast POS

Best for restaurants doing dine-in and online business
NerdWallet rating: 4 stars.
Why we like it: Toast’s POS systems can accommodate small restaurants and growing ones — especially those that want to build their online presence. Its online ordering add-on is customizable, meaning you can upload photos and change the color schemes and fonts. You can add your business to the Toast Takeout app to gain customers and use Toast Delivery Services to deliver orders. Built specifically for restaurants, Toast also offers spill-proof hardware that’s made to function among high heat and dust. Read our full Toast POS review.

SpotOn Restaurant

Best for restaurant-specific add-on features
NerdWallet rating: 4 stars.
Why we like it: SpotOn’s monthly software fee and payment processing fees along with its ability to integrate with third-party hardware make this system an affordable and appealing option. SpotOn offers customizable add-on features such as a loyalty program and team management software. The company also has a strong reputation for its hands-on approach to customer support, from installation and training to 24/7 availability for assistance.

Shopify

Best e-commerce platform integration
NerdWallet rating: 4.5 stars.
Why we like it: Shopify POS is an ideal system for retailers and e-commerce businesses. The POS options available with Shopify’s e-commerce plans offer a number of valuable features, including customer profiles and history, inventory tracking, automatic sales tax calculations, basic reporting functions and more. Business owners looking for additional functionality can purchase the POS Pro plan, which offers inventory forecasting, alerts when stock is running low and a suite of useful staff-related features, among other capabilities. And with Shopify Payments, which charges flat-rate processing fees, business owners can run their store and accept payments in one unified solution. Retailers will also appreciate Shopify’s transparent pricing as well as its customer support resources. Read our full Shopify POS review.

Clover

Best for choosing your own payment processor
NerdWallet rating: 4 stars.
Why we like it: Clover products are available through a variety of resellers, which gives businesses the freedom to choose their payment processor and merchant account provider. Businesses that prefer an individual merchant account over the aggregated accounts that payment service providers, like Square or Stripe, use will also appreciate this flexibility. Read our full Clover POS review.

U.S. Bank Merchant Services

Best bank POS provider
NerdWallet rating: 3.5 stars.
Why we like it: U.S. Bank is a merchant services provider that offers business banking, payment processing and POS solutions. In that way, it can serve as a solid option for a business that’s looking to consolidate all services under a single provider. It uses Talech and Elavon POS systems and accepts all major cards and contactless payment options. U.S. Bank’s processing rates are competitive and it offers a variety of software plans, all priced under $100 per month. With no long-term contracts, termination fees or PCI compliance fees, it stands apart from some on this list. U.S. Bank business account holders enjoy free same-day funding and a general funding schedule that allows for receipt of funds on any day of the week, weekends included.
Merchants opening a new Payment Solutions account are eligible to earn back 2.5% on transaction fees each month through 2025. Terms and conditions apply.

PayPal Zettle

Best for mobile POS software
NerdWallet rating: 4 stars.
Why we like it: PayPal Zettle’s POS software can be downloaded for free to your mobile device. With a card reader and the creation of a PayPal Business account, you can quickly have a basic POS up and running for your business. Zettle POS includes a payment processing system that accepts all transaction types — cards, digital wallets, QR codes and keyed — along with standard POS functions such as sales tracking and reporting and inventory management. Another plus is the system’s easy integration with popular accounting and e-commerce software including QuickBooks and BigCommerce. Read our full PayPal Zettle review.

SumUp

Best for automated marketing tools
NerdWallet rating: 4 stars.
Why we like it: SumUp sells POS systems tailored to retail stores, restaurants and salons. Card readers can be paired with a free app, but POS plans start at $99 and you have to subscribe to the higher-tier Connect Plus plan to access automated marketing tools and a customer rewards program. Though these plans can be expensive, they could be worth the investment for businesses trying to build a larger customer base. Plus, competitors often charge extra for loyalty programs instead of including them in their plans.

TouchBistro

Best for food trucks
NerdWallet rating: 3.5 stars.
Why we like it: TouchBistro is a worthy contender in the restaurant POS space. Hardware that enables mobile and offline payments and software features such as menu scheduling, upselling reminders and low inventory alerts make TouchBistro an especially strong choice for a food truck business. The POS software comes with dozens of detailed reports to give you important business insights on everything from sales to customer behavior to staff performance. TouchBistro offers relevant add-ons such as gift cards and a loyalty program for an additional monthly cost. The company is not as transparent as some competitors with its pricing, and you will be bound to a long-term contract that’s not easy to terminate, but the 24/7 customer support it offers by phone, email and chat sets it apart from some other POS providers. Read our full TouchBistro review.

Lightspeed Retail

Best for inventory management
NerdWallet rating: 3.5 stars.
Why we like it: Lightspeed Retail POS stands out for its top-notch inventory management features, which include cataloging and tracking functions that are especially useful for businesses with large inventories and multiple locations. Additional features include customer relationship management and loyalty programs, employee sales and performance tracking, and data analysis and reporting. And if your business requires more, Lightspeed offers an entire marketplace of app integrations. Read our full Lightspeed Retail POS review.

Payanywhere

Best for managing customer reviews
NerdWallet rating: 4 stars.
Why we like it: Payanywhere’s reputation management platform is especially useful for new businesses that are trying to cultivate a strong online presence to attract foot traffic. The platform alerts you when customers leave reviews on Google and social media and lets you choose between a custom response or quick-reply option. The dash displays your overall customer satisfaction score, number of positive vs. negative reviews and week-over-week reputation changes.

Lavu

Best cash discount program
NerdWallet rating: 3.5 stars.
Why we like it: With so many restaurant POS systems on the market, Lavu stands out for its cash discount program. Customers who pay with cash save, while those who pay with card cover up to 99% of the resulting processing fees themselves. Its POS hardware selection is straightforward and iPad-based — you can add on cash drawers, kitchen display systems, iPad enclosures, card readers and printers to fit your restaurant setup.

How much does a POS system cost?

The total cost of a POS system is made up of multiple components that vary in price. You can expect to pay monthly software, payment processing and hardware fees. Beyond those, look out for PCI compliance costs, high chargeback fees and early termination fees.
Couple of hands typing on a laptop.
Software subscriptionsMany POS systems run on cloud-based software that requires you to sign up for a monthly subscription. Some basic plans are free or start at $10 per month. Other plans are more expensive and cost upward of $199 per month. You might receive a discount by paying annually instead of monthly. 
Hand holding a credit card.
Payment processing feesEvery time you accept a debit or credit card payment, you’ll pay a transaction fee, usually around 2.5% to 3% of the transaction, plus 10 to 30 cents. Prices vary depending on the type of card, whether it’s being accepted in person or online and whether the processor charges flat-rate or interchange-plus fees.
Hand with blue calculator.
Hardware costsPOS system providers might offer a free basic card reader that you can operate using a phone or tablet. Others may require proprietary hardware or a more robust POS terminal, which can cost hundreds of dollars. POS accessories, including receipt printers, cash drawers and barcode scanners, may cost extra.
Woman sitting on top of some coins.
Add-onsIf you want multiple registers, have more than one location or exceed a certain amount of revenue each month, a basic plan might not cut it. More advanced features, such as inventory management and loyalty programs, may also cost extra.

POS system features

Ultimately, the POS features you need depend largely on your industry. Here are several universal software and hardware features to look for in a POS system, as well as some industry-specific capabilities you might consider.

POS software features

  • Online store options: Giving customers the option to make purchases or place orders online can help bring you more business. Make sure your POS system accommodates all of your sales channels, whether they’re in-person, online or both.
  • Reporting: Regardless of your industry, you want a POS system that can generate reports on your sales, so that you can see which items or services are most profitable for your business and popular among your customers. 
  • Robust customer support: While some answers might be easy to find online, it’s nice to be able to talk to someone who can help you troubleshoot when you need it. Look for live chat and/or phone support options and verify that they’ll be available during your business’s normal hours. 
  • Inventory management: Restaurants and retail stores need to keep track of how many items they have on hand and when it’s time to reorder. For a more detailed list of options, see NerdWallet’s picks for the best inventory POS systems
  • Multi-location management: You want to use the same POS system across all of your business’s locations, so that you easily track inventory, menus or service in multiple areas. Multi-location management also lets you set different prices and tax rules for each location, and run reports to see how each location is performing.
  • Table or menu management: If you own a busy restaurant, this one is important. These features let you view the status of tables in your restaurant, see how long it takes to turn tables, update menus and track when you run out of certain items.
  • Loyalty program: Although they typically cost extra, loyalty programs can help re-engage your customers with a point- or discount-earning system that gives them a reason to keep coming back. You can also use them to send custom discounts for birthdays and other special events. 

POS hardware features

  • Mobility: Do you need a full countertop POS terminal, a pocket-sized card reader or something in between? Maybe your business sells items mostly online but occasionally needs to process transactions at a pop-up event. A simple card reader may be sufficient in that situation. However, brick-and-mortar retail stores will probably require a countertop terminal, while restaurants might need a handheld touchscreen device that lets employees take orders and process payments tableside. 
  • Accessories: Common POS accessories include cash drawers, receipt printers and barcode scanners. Some POS system providers offer hardware bundles that include everything you need, while others function in a more a-la-carte manner. 
  • Durability: Depending on your business, you’ll want to see whether the POS hardware you’re considering is spill-proof and/or heat-proof. This is especially advantageous for busy restaurant settings. 

How to choose a POS system

Finding the right POS system for your business comes down to these key considerations.

Decide which POS software features you need

This will depend largely on what type of business you have, since many POS software plans are industry-specific. For example, restaurants may need table management and inventory management, while service-based businesses can benefit from the ability to schedule appointments. Decide which features are nonnegotiable for your business to help narrow your search. .

Choose compatible POS hardware options

Common hardware options include card readers, countertop terminals, handheld terminals, receipt printers and barcode scanners. Service-based businesses, cafes and restaurants that accept tips might also want a customer-facing screen with preset gratuity options. Not all hardware and software products are compatible with each other, so the easiest way to ensure compatibility is to find a POS provider with everything your business needs.

Calculate upfront and ongoing costs

Hardware will likely be your biggest upfront POS cost, and you’ll want to factor in per-transaction payment processing costs, too. Some monthly POS software subscriptions are free, but if you want a more robust feature set, expect to pay a fee. You’ll also want to look out for additional costs, such as setup and PCI compliance fees.

Pay attention to contract periods

Not all POS providers require you to sign a contract, which gives you the flexibility to switch systems at any time. However, some companies require you to commit for at least a year. While that isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, you’ll want to be sure that the product will work for your business in the long term. Read the “terms and conditions” carefully and seek out product demos so you can test functionality before committing.

Confirm it integrates with your accounting software

To ensure a smooth setup process, your POS software should also integrate with your accounting software, so that your books are always up to date. For more options, see NerdWallet’s choices for the best POS systems that integrate with QuickBooks.

Benefits of using a POS system

Compared to traditional cash registers, POS systems typically have greater flexibility and include more business management features. Here are some of the advantages of going with the more modern POS option:
  • Portability: Tablet-based POS systems can sit on the countertop, accommodate mobile businesses that make sales on the go, or let employees ring customers up from anywhere in the store. 
  • Robust feature sets: Many POS systems’ software plans go beyond basic sales tracking. They may include additional features like inventory management, employee time tracking and management, scheduling tools and customer loyalty programs. 
  • Seamless integrations: You can sync POS software to your accounting software to minimize manual data entry.

Types of POS systems

There’s no shortage of options when you’re comparing POS systems, and identifying main differentiating factors can help you determine which is best for your business.
  • Free vs. paid POS software. Multiple POS system providers offer