A touch screen point-of-sale (POS) system is like a typical POS system, but the software operates on handheld devices and tablets, rather than traditional POS hardware. Touch screen POS systems are web-based and can synchronize in real time to a variety of other software solutions, enabling merchants to monitor their businesses from anywhere in the world.
To incorporate a touch screen POS system into your merchant business, you need a few things: a tablet or device, a stand for the device, and a credit card reader. You also need software to power each of these and to integrate them into one system — which can run from entirely free to several hundred dollars per month.
Every merchant needs to understand the options they have when shopping for a touch screen POS system for their business. That’s why we put together this guide, so you can view the top options and make the right choice for your business.
Best Touch Screen POS Systems for Retail Merchants
Any list of touch screen POS systems for retail merchants would be incomplete without Square. Founded in 2009 and launched in 2010, Square provides a full solution for small businesses to power accepting payments, adding tips, and printing or sending digital receipts.
Square’s free version provides all the essentials for a single-location retail store or restaurant, which makes it a very popular choice for small businesses looking to accept a variety of payments without spending a lot of money up front.
Software: Ranges from free up to $60 per month, with specific add-ons like Retail Plus (which includes bar code printing) and Restaurants Plus (which includes a kitchen display system). See the full summary of Square’s pricing here.
Payment processing: For merchants on the free subscription, Square charges 2.6% + 10 cents for each swiped transaction, and 3.5% + 15 cents for manually-entered transactions. If you sign up for Retail Plus, you receive a discounted rate (2.5% + 10 cents for swiped transactions).
Hardware: Square will provide your first magstripe reader for free, but there is a cost involved in upgrading your Square equipment.
- Square reader for contactless and chip ($49 one-time payment)
- Square stand for contactless and chip ($169 one-time payment or $16 per month for 12 months)
- Square terminal ($299 or $27/mo for 12 months)
- Square register ($799 or $39/mo for 24 months)
Depending on your product and pricing model, Square may not be the best choice. Square is primarily effective when a business is first entering the marketplace, but as your business grows you may find that there are better options for you in the marketplace.
BAMS doesn’t use set percentage amounts for transactions like Square, Paypal, and others. BAMS uses interchange-plus pricing, which is the most transparent and generally the most affordable pricing model for retail merchants. To learn more about Square’s pricing model and alternatives, check out the post What Square’s New Pricing Means to You, or get in touch for your free five-point price comparison with BAMS.
Shopify is a high-quality POS for retail businesses that sell both in-person and online. Shopify enables businesses to manage online and in-store sales from one system, which helps to keep inventory, sales, and customer data accessible and accurate.
Software: $29 per month for the starter package, which includes 2 staff accounts and a 2.7% transaction fee. For $79 per month, you get 5 staff accounts and a 2.5% transaction fee. Every package includes Shopify’s POS app, with the option to add POS Pro (unlimited staff accounts and advanced inventory management) for $89 added to the monthly subscription fee.
Payment processing: Online and keyed-in payments begin at 2.9% + 30 cents, while swiped transactions start at 2.7%. Customers paying for the more advanced plans receive a discount on these rates.
Hardware: Accepting ecommerce payments through Shopify requires no additional equipment, but you will have to pay in order to accept in-store payments.
Shopify’s Retail Kit retails for $229 and includes their Retail Stand for iPad (iPad not included), Tap and Chip Card Reader, and accessories. You can also buy each of these individually, and compare pricing here.
Like Square, Shopify charges higher fees than traditional merchant accounts. For smaller sellers with a low volume of sales, that’s not a big deal. If your business is growing fast, these fees can add up very quickly. For ecommerce retail companies in this situation, a better solution is to use a traditional merchant account in tandem with a dedicated eCommerce platform, like WooCommerce or BigCommerce. If you’d like to compare how your current pricing squares up with BAMS, get started with your free five-point price comparison right now.
Lightspeed is a powerful touch screen POS solution for retail merchants, especially for those with a big inventory and thousands of unique SKUs. Lightspeed’s inventory management is best-in-class, and they provide the ability to sort through inventory with searchable tags, automatically adding new inventory with a simple barcode scan, or automating purchase orders, receiving, and returns.
Best of all, Lightspeed can connect to outside payment gateways and payment processors. Lightspeed customers can shop around for the best rates, instead of getting locked-in to the significant fees included with Square and Shopify.
Software: Lightspeed’s POS software starts at $69 per month. For $99, you get ecommerce, and the $119 plan includes integrations with QuickBooks and Xero.
Payment processing: As previously mentioned, a benefit of Lightspeed is the flexible pricing that comes with options. BAMS is here to help, with a free five-point price comparison available for anyone interested in comparing their processing rates with the variety of alternatives available for merchants.
Lightspeed also offers its own payment processing services, costing 2.6% + 10 cents per swiped transaction, and 2.6% + 30 cents for manually-entered transactions.
Hardware: Lightspeed is also very flexible in terms of hardware. Lightspeed POS software can run on iPads, Macs, and Windows devices. While Lightspeed doesn’t share their device pricing up front, you can request a quote here.
ShopKeep by Lightspeed
If Lightspeed is too advanced for your business needs, ShopKeep by Lightspeed may be the answer. ShopKeep is perfect for retail merchants that are moving beyond the tools available for free through Square, but not far enough along to need a powerful system like Lightspeed.
ShopKeep by Lightspeed is more affordable than Lightspeed, but still is a huge improvement over Square when it comes to reporting and managing inventory.
ShopKeep by Lightspeed Pricing
Software: For one terminal, ShopKeep costs $49 per month. For $79, you also get gift cards and the QuickBooks integration (for one terminal). ShopKeep’s $179 per month plan expands the number of terminal to unlimited, and also provides a loyalty program.
Payment processing: Like Lightspeed, ShopKeep by Lightspeed offers the ability to use a variety of payment gateways and processors in addition to its own in-house payment processing solution. The in-house option rates by default are 2.5% + 10 cents per swiped transaction, and they also offer customized rates based on transaction volume.
Hardware: When it comes to hardware, ShopKeep by Lightspeed has a variety of options. To start, merchants get a free credit card reader which they can use in tandem with their own tablet and the ShopKeep software. ShopKeep also offers a variety of other hardware options at an additional cost, including a full POS setup. Learn more via ShopKeep by Lightspeed.
Clover, which is owned by processing industry giant First Data, has become an increasingly popular alternative to Square for phone-based mobile payment processing. Like Square, Clover also offers a small card reader that easily connects with iOS and Android smartphones.
Another similarity is the high fees involved with both Square and Clover, so Clover may not be the best solution for larger enterprises with high transaction volumes. The most cost-efficient solution is to get in touch with a company like BAMS, which will help you get set up with a traditional merchant account and the lower fees that come along with the slightly less convenient process.
Software: Clover’s POS software starts at the low monthly fee of $10 for one terminal, and an additional $10 for each additional terminal. The software cost is slightly deceiving, however, because their payment processing fees are very high when compared to the rest of the industry.
Payment processing: Clover’s rates for payment processing start at 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. While the rates are negotiable, many merchants are paying far higher rates than they need to when there are alternative solutions like BAMS and traditional merchant accounts. Fortunately, BAMS is integrated with Clover and can offer the competitive rates of a traditional merchant account with the benefits of Clover.
Hardware: There’s no way around it – Clover’s hardware is expensive compared to the rest of the industry. The Clover Go, a simple card reader and app runs you $69 out of the box. Clover also offers a full POS station starting at $1,349 and a mini terminal for $749.
The biggest difference here is that Clover’s software is proprietary and does not require a separate device to run. While proprietary devices can make set up easier, they do come with a downside; if you decide to switch from Clover to another POS provider, the hardware becomes entirely useless.
The Bottom Line
There are many touch screen POS systems out there, and most will work for your business. The important factor is the fees that are included with each, and here at BAMS our priority is to get you the best rates to grow your business.
BAMS may be your best option, or there may be another solution out there that works better for your specific needs. No matter your business, we’re here to share the facts and are proud to offer a free five-point price comparison so you can know with one-hundred percent certainty that you are getting the best rates for your business.