Top 5 Point-of-Sale Systems for Home Business Owners

Point of Sale Resources
Take payments from your mobile device. Credit: John Lamb | Getty Images

When starting a new business, a good point-of-sale (“POS”) system can empower you to thrive and grow your business. But there are so many options, all of them boasting a variety of features, that it can be overwhelming. From traditional POS systems to innovative apps, there are many different varieties designed to fit your unique business needs.

Especially when you’re starting out, it’s essential that your POS system be affordable, intuitive and powerful, offering more capabilities than just processing an invoice.

Time-saving features and productivity-enhancers like customer data tracking, online invoicing and more can minimize the amount of time you spend bookkeeping, allowing you to spend more time on big-picture activities that will grow your business. While many apps have similar features, some are specifically designed to meet the needs of small businesses and can make your life as an owner of a startup much simpler.

Below are five of the most popular and powerful POS systems:

  1. Square: Square is a solid POS system for those setting up a retail store, food truck or for business you do outside the home (i.e. tradeshows or meeting with clients). With Square’s pocket-sized credit card reader, users can attach it to a smartphone to swipe credit cards onsite with clients. For business models that travel to customers’ locations, this can be a convenient option. Square does require the purchase of equipment, such as a stand or dock, ranging from $29-$129, and Square takes a portion of each purchase in fees, ranging from 2.75% to 3.5%, depending on the type of transaction.
  1. PayPal: For small businesses without the demand or time for credit card processors, PayPal is a classic and useful option. It’s easy to set up, connect your bank account and then you’re ready to receive payments. PayPal’s fees are roughly 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction and there are no contracts or long-term agreements, allowing small business owners to use it as needed. PayPal offers two credit card reader options; the Mobile Card Reader, which is free, or the Chip Card Reader, which is $149 with a $100 refund when you process $3,000 in transactions within three months. However, PayPal is bare bones. If you are a freelancer, it may be enough, but if need to process a lot of payments, additional features may be needed that can add a great deal to the price. 
  1. Venmo: Venmo is a mobile payment system owned by PayPal. Users provide information and either deposit money to their Venmo account or link it to their credit cards or bank accounts. Originally used as a tool for friends to split restaurant bills or cab fares, it has evolved to become a business tool, as well. Under the leadership of PayPal, Venmo is working with select businesses to accept payments using the app. While this platform continues to be tweaked and improved, there have been security concerns regarding how financial data has been protected.
  2. NCR: Geared towards large companies like stadiums or concert halls, NCR is designed to deal with a high-volume of traffic. It requires significant hardware and software investments, including keypad terminals, handheld devices and more. The NCR software connects to the systems to multiple locations within a venue, such as an in-stadium restaurant, bar or gift shop. While powerful, NCR is typically too cost-prohibitive and overly complex for the needs of most small business owners.
  3. PocketSuite: PocketSuite is a powerful POS systems you can run from your smartphone. Through the PocketSuite app, you cannot just charge client credit cards, but also create and send professional invoices, accept online payments, set up recurring billing and enforce cancellation or late fees. Unlike some apps which are standalone and cannot be linked to other areas of your business, PocketSuite can connect with your business’ website and social media pages to make appointments and accept payments. PocketSuite has three levels to choose from (free, $10/month or $20/month), all with a flat 2.5% credit card processing fee.

    As a small business owner, a strong point-of-sale system can be the difference between succeeding and struggling. Simplifying invoicing, receiving payments and managing customer data can help you maximize your profits while freeing up more time to focus on business development. Consider your options based on the features you need to grow your company and meet the needs of your customers.