How Much Does a POS System Cost?

How Much Does a POS System Cost?
A POS should help you process transactions quickly, make smart business decisions, and address issues in real time. Read more about how much a POS costs.
by Meredith Galante Oct 07, 2020 — 3 min read
How Much Does a POS System Cost?

A POS (point of sale) is key to the growth and management of your business. That’s why it’s important to understand the total costs of your POS system upfront.

Yes, a POS lets you check out customers, record sales, accept payments and get those funds to your bank. But the right POS system should also help you move through transactions faster (which means sales for you and a better experience for your customers), make smarter decisions about your business and address issues in real time.

And that kind of functionality doesn’t mean that a POS system should cost you a heap of your hard-earned money.

Traditional server-based POS systems are costly due to their hefty setup and licensing fees, Add in expensive hardware and monthly maintenance fees needed to maintain the security and software of back-office servers and your bill is hefty.

But newer POS systems are cloud-based, lowering the costs of the system while improving security, scalability and uptime. Getting started with Square’s point-of-sale solutions can cost anywhere from $65 (when using Reader) $149 for our popular solution, Square Stand, to $1,099 for our fully-integrated solution, Square Register.

Before you make your decision, let’s walk through the factors that influence the cost of your point-of-sale system.

The 3 biggest drivers of point-of-sale costs

Most POS systems are made up of three parts: software, hardware, and payment processing. You have to pay for all of them, but with a bit of research you can determine what makes the most sense for your business.

Here’s what goes into your total POS system price.

1. POS software costs

When you’re evaluating POS software, you want to find software that works for your business (if you run a retail store, make sure it has inventory management), has integrated analytics and is easy to use for you (and your employees). Even with all of these things, it doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it can.

With traditional server-based models, as well as cloud solutions, the point-of-sale software often has a monthly fee. But that’s not always the case – Square doesn’t charge monthly software fees for our standard POS.

2. Hardware

You can buy or lease POS hardware depending on your budget and your long-term needs. The exact hardware that you need depends on your business type and the setup of your store (or stores).

The first big decision to make is whether you go with a legacy server-based system or a modern system with a cloud POS. Some of these can be run off iPads, while others come as standalone, integrated devices. An iPad system has its advantages: An iPad stand takes up less counter space and you can potentially move it around the store to meet customers where they are (this makes for a great customer experience). Some modern registers either swivel to face the customer or have a customer-facing display, which helps to ensure accuracy and, again, creates a better experience for customers.

Depending on how your business is set up, you may need to invest in a barcode scanner, scales or self-serve checkout kiosks. Or you might be able to get away with the lightweight setup of a tablet, cash drawer and credit card reader.

3. Payments

In addition to POS software and hardware, you also have to budget for credit card processing fees when thinking about your total POS system cost. You can choose a point of sale with integrated payments – like Square – or you might need to find a separate payment gateway provider to do the payment processing.

Before you choose your payment processor or your POS with integrated payments, make sure you’re aware of any long-term commitments or monthly fees (Square has neither) and that transaction pricing is clear and easy to understand.

Save more on your POS with Square

Square can offer you a few ways to use a compact, modern POS for your business. Below, we show the hardware, features and costs of each system.

  Square Reader Square Stand Square Terminal Square Register
Total cost $65 + cost of iPad. $149 + cost of iPad. $329. $1,099.
Free POS software? Yes — Square Point of Sale. Yes — Square Point of Sale. Yes — Square Point of Sale. Yes — Square Point of Sale.
Includes all hardware? No — iPad not included. No — iPad not included. Yes. Yes.
Accepts chip cards and mobile payments? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
In-person card processing rate 1.6% 1.6% 1.6% 1.6%
  Learn more about Square Reader Learn more about Square Stand Learn more about Square Terminal Learn more about Square Register

Square AU Pty Ltd ABN 38 167 106 176, AFSL 513929. Square’s AFSL applies to some of Square AU’s products and services but not others. Please read and consider the relevant T & C’s, Financial Services Guide and PDS before using Square’s products and services to consider if they are right for you.

1.6% card present rate applies for Square Sellers who sign up on or after 30 May 2024, or who signed up prior to this date and subscribed to a paid software plan. The rate of 1.9% will apply for all other Square Sellers who signed up prior to this date when using Square Reader, Square Stand or Tap to Pay, as listed in the Square Fee Schedule.

Meredith Galante
Meredith Galante is a freelancer writer based in New York City. She's been writing for Square since 2017 where she's covered everything from the best software for restaurants to use to maximize profit, minimum wage laws across the country, and tips for entrepreneurs to maximize their impact.


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