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Which of the Best POS Systems Is the Perfect Fit for Your Small Business?

Maddie Shepherd

Staff Writer at Fundera
Maddie Shepherd is staff writer at Fundera. Beyond her deep knowledge of small business financing, Maddie's specialty is business credit cards—she'd love to help match your business with the credit card that benefits you most!
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As a small business owner, you’re probably spending a lot of your time, effort, and attention on the process that leads up to the point when a customer makes a purchase. But what about that very moment? The exact point of sale?

With all of the effort poured into getting to that point, it’s crucial that the transaction itself runs smoothly. That’s where the very best point of sale systems—or POS systems—for small business come in.

Each POS system for small business featured in this guide will help your business make sure this crucial moment of transaction runs smoothly. Afterward, they’ll provide valuable insight to your business’s sales and operations.

Are you ready to automate and optimize every single card payment that your business processes? We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the three very best POS systems for small business.

The Square POS System

The first top POS system for small business is the Square POS system, in all of its different shapes and sizes.

Square offers a wide variety of iterations of their POS system, all of which will be remarkably intuitive and fairly priced. Sound like Square might offer up just what your business is looking for?

Let’s take a look at the details on all of the Square point of sale systems so you can know more.

Square POS System Options

If you decide to opt for Square as the best POS system for your small business, then you’ll be able to choose both the POS devices and the point of sale software that are best fit to your business’s needs.

Square Point of Sale Devices

First, let’s take a look at the point of sale devices that Square offers up. You might recognize these devices from checking out with a card at your favorite stall at the farmers market or at a high-tech restaurant.

The small, (appropriately) square headphone jack plug-in card readers have almost become iconic in the point of sale systems industry, but there’s much more Square point of sale devices beyond them:

Reader for Magstripes

The magstripe reader is the Square point of sale device that is the most widespread, and that’s simply because it comes free whenever you open up a Square account for your business.

Through Square’s magstripe reader, you can swipe all credit and debit cards with a magstripe and process those payments through your Square account.

Reader for Chip Cards

The next step up in Square point of sale devices is their reader for chip cards. This hardware upgrade will cost you $35, but it will allow you to process payments through credit and debit card chips.

Plus, you’ll receive a magstripe reader for free as backup, in case any of your customers don’t yet have a chip card.

Reader for Contactless Payments and Chip Cards

Next up in your options for Square point of sale devices is their contactless payment and chip reader.

These point of sale devices are not only able to process chip payments, but they can also process contactless payments from programs like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

But your business will only be able to access the capabilities through Square if you’re willing to pay for them—this reader will cost your business $49.

Again, you’ll also receive a free magstripe in case your customers are only able to pay with a non-chip card.

Stand

Another point of sale device that Square offers is their Stand. For $169, the Square POS Stand allows businesses to accept payments of all types—from the most basic magstripe swipes to the high-tech contactless taps.

The stand comes with a built-in magstripe reader along with a contactless payment and chip reader (plus its very own dock). That said, this point of sale device doesn’t automatically come with the iPad that it relies on to function. When you check out with Square, you’ll have the option to throw in an iPad for another $329.

Register

Lastly, the Square Register is the most souped-up version of the point of sale software that Square offers. For a cool $999, the Register will allow your business to accept all types of payments, no additional iPad necessary. Plus, the Register comes with two interfaces—one for you and your employees, and the other for your customers—in order to make the checkout experience as smooth as possible.

pos system

Square POS Software

For the point of sale software that Square offers, you’ll have fewer options to sift through, but that’s not to say you won’t have options at all.

There are two Square POS software options for you to choose from, so let’s take a look at what they’ve got going for them:

Square Point of Sale

The first thing you need to know about the Square Point of Sale app? It’s free.

You’ll be able to download the Square Point of Sale software through an app store and then attach your account simply by logging in.

Through this free point of sale software, you’ll be able to:

  • Accept cards, cash, checks, and gift cards
  • Provide digital and printed receipts
  • Make invoices and recurring payments
  • Manage your inventory in real time
  • Swipe cards offline
  • Receive direct customer feedback
  • Run sales reporting and analytics
  • Provide refunds, taxes, tipping, and discounts

Square for Retail

If you want to access to an even more powerful point of sale software, then look to Square for Retail.

This version is an upgrade from Square Point of Sale, and its cost reflects that—you’ll have to pay a monthly $60 fee to use Square for Retail.

That being said, for this extra price, you’ll gain access to the following extra features:

  • Search-based point of sale
  • Multi-location inventory tracking
  • Vendor management
  • Automatic customer profile creation
  • Direct, in-app inventory purchase orders
  • Employee time cards and permissions

The Clover POS System

Next up on our list of the best POS systems for small business is Clover.

With the Clover POS system, you can personalize your business’s POS system with the many choices Clover offers for both point of sale devices and POS software. You’ll have a host of options to sift through with Clover POS—and considered as a whole, they might be a bit overwhelming.

To lay out the details of all of your Clover point of sale options, let’s break them down by hardware and software, starting with Clover point of sale devices:

Clover Point of Sale Devices

Clover offers four top-of-the-line point of sale devices for you to choose from. From the most inconspicuous, portable point of sale device, to a substantial piece of hardware, Clover’s devices tend to a wide variety of POS preference and needs:

Clover Go

The newest and most portable of Clover’s point of sale devices is the Clover Go. With the Clover Go, your business will be able to process payments from chip cards, swipe cards, and contactless payment programs like Apple Pay and Google Pay through your smart device. This hardware will cost your business $59.

Clover Flex

Another option you have for Clover point of sale devices is the Clover Flex. This option doesn’t require additional technology (like a smart device) in order to process payments. Plus, it can process pretty much every kind of payment—including chip cards, swipe cards, and contactless—that your business will need to accept.

The Clover Flex hardware costs $449.

Clover Mini

Another option for Clover point of sale hardware is the Clover Mini. Unlike the two previous options, the Clover Mini is a countertop, rather than a mobile, point of sale device. But that certainly doesn’t mean it’s a bulky piece of hardware—the Clover Mini has a minimal footprint that doesn’t occupy tons of counter space.

With this point of sale system hardware, you can integrate apps so that you can access capabilities like accounting, inventory management, marketing, and issuing gift cards. The Clover Mini will cost your business $599.

Clover Station

The Clover Station is the last of the four options for Clover point of sale devices. This point of sale device will be your business’s all-in-one solution to all things payments. With the Clover Station, you can accept all types of payments, and do so quickly. You’ll find over 20 apps pre-installed in the Clover Station, making it one of the most capable point of sale systems for small business on the market.

These capabilities come at a significant price, though—the Clover Station starts at $1,199 per unit.

pos system

Clover POS Software

Beyond the four point of sale devices that Clover offers, their POS software options allow you to customize your Clover POS system even more.

You have three Clover point of sale software options to choose from, so let’s take a look at each of them:

Payments Plus

This is the most basic version of Clover POS software. Payments Plus is compatible with Clover Mini and Clover Flex. You won’t have to pay an additional monthly fee for its capabilities, which are surprisingly abundant.

With the most basic Clover POS software, you’ll still be able to:

  • Accept all forms of payment
  • Track your business’s cash flow
  • Accept electronic signatures
  • Provide and store receipts
  • Set up employee permissions and shifts
  • Receive direct customer feedback
  • Access 24/7 customer support
  • Shop the Clover App Market (with limited selection)

Register Lite

The next step up for your Clover POS software options is the Register Lite plan. This plan will cost you an additional monthly fee of $14 to access, but for this extra cost, you’ll gain extra capacity through your Clover POS system. Register Lite is also compatible with Clover Mini and Clover Flex.

With Register Lite, you can access all of the capabilities that Payments Plus offers, as well as:

  • Enter, categorize, and track inventory and orders
  • Run item level taxes
  • Connect a handheld barcode scanner
  • Shop the Clover App Market (with limited selection)

Register

The final, most powerful POS software from Clover is the Register plan. In order to access this top-of-the-line point of sale software, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee of $29. But, with this extra cost, you’ll be able to access a long list of capabilities beyond those that you’d be able to access with Register Lite:

  • Manage inventory and orders with enhanced capabilities
  • Modify, change, and exchange orders
  • Send customer orders to a display or printer in another location, in any language
  • Connect a scale to your POS system
  • Add variants and item-level costs to inventory
  • Perform exchanges
  • Track item-level profitability
  • Shop the Clover App Market with full access

The Intuit QuickBooks POS System

As a small business owner, you’re probably familiar with QuickBooks—they’re the giant of small business accounting software. And it should come as no surprise that this accounting powerhouse has ventured into the world of point of sale systems

The QuickBooks POS system for desktop is one of the most powerful of the best point of sale systems, and it’s priced accordingly.

Is the QuickBooks POS system worth its substantial price tag? Let’s check out the details on what it has to offer—and at what price:

QuickBooks POS System Options

Regardless which of the QuickBooks point of sale systems you opt for, it will come with a wealth of features—credit card processing, sales management, inventory management, customer tracker, employee hours management, etc.

Plus, each version of the QuickBooks POS system will integrate with your QuickBooks desktop accounting software to make bookkeeping easier.

The QuickBooks POS system is one of the most comprehensive, feature-rich solutions, especially when compared to the rest of the POS systems available:

QuickBooks POS System: Basic

The Basic package starts at $1,200, and lets you:

  • Process payments
  • Track inventory
  • Offer discounts
  • Offer sales receipts

However, you’ll miss out on shipping features, special discounts across multiple products, employee tracking, and more.

The Basic is the least expensive option and is best suited for smaller, mom-and-pop businesses.

QuickBooks POS System: Pro

The next level up for the QuickBooks POS system is the Point of Sale Pro, which starts at $1,700. You’ll get all the features of the Basic subscription level, plus these additional capabilities:

  • Track employee hours
  • Create loyalty programs
  • Offer gift cards

QuickBooks POS System: Multi-Store

And finally, starting at $1,900, the Multi-Store gives you all the features of the Pro, plus:

  • Multi-store inventory tracking
  • The ability to manage multiple stores
  • Shipping and tracking
  • Report generation

pos system

Point of Sale Systems: What Should You Look For?

With so many POS system options to choose from, it can be hard for a small business owner to land on the right one.

Although there’s admittedly a long list of moving parts to consider, all of these moving parts can really be summarized in your top two factors to consider in your search for a POS system for your small business—the point of sale system’s pricing and its capabilities.

Point of Sale Systems’ Pricing

First and foremost, you’re going to have to pay careful attention to how your potential point of sale systems are priced.

Among all of the top point of sale systems, you’ll not only see a wide range of prices, but you’ll also see a lot of variety in how exactly each of your potential POS systems are priced.

This means that different point of sale systems come with different types of costs. Whether it be a payment processing fee, a one-off cost for hardware, or a monthly software cost—or any combination of the three—there are a few facets to how much your POS system will end up costing your business.

Point of Sale Systems’ Capabilities

Even more, you need to make sure that each of your potential point of sale systems actually do what you’ll need them to.

If you need help keeping up with inventory and orders, then make sure your potential POS systems will be able to update inventory as you sell and order. If your business relies heavily on customers who use contactless payment, make sure your point of sale hardware has the power to work with Apple Pay and Google Pay. And if your business offers exchanges or returns, then be sure you’re choosing only from point of sale systems that allow for that.

Once you find the point of sale systems that offer all of the capabilities that your business needs, whittle them down to only ones that match your ideal price point and structure.

Need Less Than a Point of Sale Software Offers?

Perhaps all of these POS systems are offering way more capabilities than your business needs. Some businesses simply need a way to run transactions without all of the distracting bells and whistles attached. Or, you simply might not be ready to invest in a POS system at the moment.

Not to worry—if you’re not ready to get your business signed up with one of these POS systems, then you might want to consider your payment processing options.

Payment processing systems simply allow your business to make and accept payments. And one of the very best options for payment processing is the global payments provider Veem.

Veem will allow your business to send and receive wires without imposing costs onto your or your customers. With this payment processor, wires are no longer expensive, last-resort options for payments.

Finding the Best POS System for Your Small Business

What’s the last word on the best POS systems for small business? Well, that’s what’s left for you to decide. Now that you’re familiar with all of the ins and outs of the best point of sale systems to choose from, you’re well-equipped to forge onward in your search for the best payment solution for your business.

It’s up to you—the one who’s most familiar with your business’s needs—to choose the POS system that’s best fit for you.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Maddie Shepherd

Staff Writer at Fundera
Maddie Shepherd is staff writer at Fundera. Beyond her deep knowledge of small business financing, Maddie's specialty is business credit cards—she'd love to help match your business with the credit card that benefits you most!

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