What's the Best POS System for Your Business?
If you want to start accepting credit and debit cards at your business, you have lots of options for point-of-sale (POS) systems. The POS solution you end up choosing should work within the needs of your business, while ensuring speedy, accurate, affordable, and secure transactions. To assist, we’ve rounded up some of the different POS systems available, with general descriptions of what kinds of businesses they might end up benefitting most.
As if the Cyber Monday sales records weren’t impressive enough, we don’t have to tell you what enormous growth e-commerce is having these days. If you’re looking to start accepting payments online, you should first think about whether you want to host the transactions on your server, or if you’d rather have another platform host them. If you decide to host payments yourself, you’ll need to acquire payment gateway software from a provider, but you’ll also typically have more options for customizing the overall shopping experience. On the other hand, hosting payments yourself likely also means you’ll incur more general upkeep and maintenance tasks. Alternately, if you choose to have another service host your payments, that can mean better reliability, access to customer support, and generally less potential headaches.
Credit Card Machines
If your business is more of a brick & mortar type, a traditional credit card machine might be the way to go. In this case, all you’ll really need besides a machine is an Internet connection or phone line to get up and running. If you opt for a new machine, you’ll find many are now equipped for contactless transactions via near-field-communication (NFC)─ like Apple PayTM─ as well as EMV® and traditional payments such as magnetic stripe credit and PIN debit. Not to mention, a lot of these terminals also come with printers for receipts, which is about as standardized as you can get.
If your business is more on the go─ like a food truck, pop-up store, or taxi─ a mobile credit card reader could be just what you need. These slick little devices plug into your smart phone and transform them into mini payment processors. Since the transactions are handled wirelessly, as long as you’ve got a smart phone with enough battery and a decent network connection, you should be able to make transactions from anywhere.
Landing somewhere between mobile payments and a traditional credit card machine, iPad POS systems can operate wirelessly over Wi-Fi or a cellular network (assuming you have a network connection enabled). Depending on the software, iPad POS systems can also boast more features─ like employee time management, sales reports, and inventory─ than a mobile processor. And, compared with bulky cash registers, iPad POS systems can also reduce space, be a lot more customer-friendly, and give your business a modern touch.
Specialized POS Systems
There are also certain POS systems available that have been designed with the unique needs of specific businesses in mind, particularly for the food and beverage industry. A POS designed for restaurants and bars, for instance, can have all the traditional features of a regular payment processor, along with options like the ability to change menu options on the fly, start and end happy hours, split tickets, and more.