Basic payment apps are economical solutions for payment processing when your business is in the early stages. But what do you do when you’re ready to grow?

You need a point-of-sale system with features that go beyond the basics. A robust POS puts everything you need for payment processing and business management right at your fingertips.

Finding the Best POS System for Your Small Businesses

Upgrading to a POS system helps you manage every aspect of your business more efficiently. Whether you run a retail operation, a restaurant or a mobile pop-up shop, you can benefit from modern POS features and tools.

Small business owners have plenty of POS options, but for the best experience, the platform you choose should:

  • Be easy to set up, learn and operate
  • Accept multiple payment types
  • Integrate with other business software
  • Manage inventory in real time
  • Provide employee tracking and management tools
  • Comply with all payment security standards
  • Include options for discount codes, loyalty programs and gift cards
  • Track and analyze sales and other business data
  • Collect customer information to build robust profiles

Here are seven top picks to kick off your search. Compare features and prices to find the most cost-effective solution with the features you need to support your business model.

Best Free POS App

If you’re looking for a POS solution with no monthly fees, give Square a try.

Basic services from this popular payment service provider are free. With Square, all you pay are processing fees, which start at 2.6% plus $0.10 per transaction for in-person purchases.

Upgrading to a tailored retail or restaurant platform costs a little more, as does adding features like a loyalty program or marketing integrations.

Square’s flexibility and scalability are part of what makes it so attractive for small business owners. You have the choice of using a mobile card reader, terminal or complete register setup.

To expand your payment processing options, invest in a combination of hardware. Features include in-store and online payments, invoicing, inventory management, a virtual terminal, email or printed receipts and discount/refund management.

Best POS System for Retail Stores

For brick-and-mortar stores with e-commerce ambitions, Shopify provides a streamlined mix of hardware and software options.

The basic retail kit provides an iPad stand and chip and tap card reader. You have the option of adding hardware for barcode scanning, receipt printing and accepting cash.

The option to “sell everywhere” allows you to manage products, sales, inventory, shipping and payments from one software platform or through a mobile app compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

This creates a unified shopping experience for your audience no matter where they shop. Pricing starts at $29 per month, plus a 2.7% flat-rate payment processing fee. Hardware is sold separately.

Best POS System for Restaurants

TouchBistro is designed specifically for restaurants and other food and beverage establishments.

Frequently ranked as the best iPad POS system, this mobile solution boasts many features and several useful integrations. It allows for smooth management of both front-of-house and back-of-house operations.

Using TouchBistro gives you access to:

  • Tableside ordering and table management tools
  • Staff management, including performance monitoring
  • Menu and inventory management
  • Customer relationship management features
  • Online ordering integrations
  • Customer-facing self-ordering solutions

Payments are processed through the platform’s integrated payment service or the payment processor of your choice.

You can get started with one register for $69 per month, and scale up as your restaurant grows. All plans are charged annually, but TouchBistro gives you up to 28 days of free use to see if the POS system meets your needs.

Best POS System for Bars

Another restaurant POS option – Toast POS – ranks high as a solution for bars.

Toast uses proprietary hardware, which means it can be a little more expensive to set up than some other solutions. Nonetheless, it provides a significant number of features and customizations.

Combining hardwired terminals with handheld devices gives bartenders the flexibility to go where customers are. Menu management tools keep your offerings up to date, and self-ordering reduces friction to speed up customer service.

Pricing for Toast POS starts at $79/month per register. This includes all bar management features, along with detailed analytics that help you run your business more efficiently.

Be prepared to invest up to $1,400 more for hardware and professional installation. An upgrade like this might be pricey, but if it helps you generate higher revenue, it’s probably worthwhile.

Best POS System for Pizza Parlors

Manage your pizza restaurant from your iPad or iPad Mini with ShopKeep.

Starting at $69 per register per month, this solution is the best pizza POS if you’re looking for adaptability and customization. You’re free to use your own payment processor or take advantage of ShopKeep’s payment solutions to accept payment types from cash to mobile wallets.

ShopKeep can also perform a number of other functions for your pizza place, like:

  • Take online orders
  • Provide real-time order tracking and monitoring
  • Track raw ingredients for better inventory, menu and price management
  • Enable gift card sales and loyalty programs
  • Improve staff management
  • Increase tips with customized tip suggestions

Customers are free to personalize their pizza orders down to the topping – and you know how important that is!

With less risk of error, you’ll have more happy customers and a greater potential for repeat business. Set yourself up with a hardware starter kit, or build your own solution with card readers, barcode scanners and more.

Best Merchant Bank POS

Want a POS that works with your favorite merchant service provider? Consider SwipeSimple.

Unlike many POS solutions, SwipeSimple works with a variety of merchant acquirers. This allows you to choose your own payment processing option while still having access to a full-featured POS system.

If your merchant services provider offers SwipeSimple, you can get a mobile card reader to process multiple payment types, including:

  • Standard credit/debit card swipe transactions
  • EMV chip transactions
  • Contactless payments

You can then process these transactions through the app on your iOS or Android device. The service is also accessible through a web portal and provides:

  • Transaction statistics
  • Custom invoicing
  • Inventory management
  • Employee management
  •  Recurring payment options
  • Option to save cards on file for future transactions

Pricing is set by merchant account providers, so you’ll have to ask for information to see how the fee structure compares to other POS systems.

Best Mobile POS Solution

If you make most of your sales offsite or operate exclusively as a vendor or pop-up shop, a mobile POS is the way to go.

The majority of popular POS providers offer a mobile option, or can be used to accept mobile payments exclusively. Look for a system with a portable card reader, a virtual terminal or both to facilitate fast transactions.

Make sure the app works with your device. A backup option can also be helpful, in case you find yourself without reliable Wi-Fi or cell service.

Need Help Getting Set Up with the Best POS System for Your Small Business?

Having some guidance during setup and implementation can help you get the most out of your POS platform and all its features. POS systems are included in the wide range of business services offered by National Business Capital to support your small company.

Find out how National’s services can make everything from payment processing to digital marketing easier for your business by contacting an advisor today.