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How Much Does a POS System Cost?

Learn more about POS systems and their costs to determine how much you can expect to pay for a point‑of‑sale system.

POS systems help stores manage inventory, staff, and customers while allowing them to accept payments. Without a POS system, many retail stores wouldn’t be efficient or able to serve customers, so they’re one of the most essential tools for your business. However, the cost for POS systems varies depending on your needs and provider. If you’re wondering how much a POS system costs, there’s no definitive answer, although you can expect to pay between $80 to $150 per month just for the software.

Finding the right POS system for your business can be difficult because there are many costs and fees, so pricing can be unclear until you decide to sign a contract. Unfortunately, POS systems come with many expenses, some of which will change during the relationship with your provider. The total cost will depend on your business type, its needs, how many employees you have, the features you’re looking for, and your provider.

Before shopping around for a POS system, you must have reasonable expectations. While you may want to find the cheapest solution, you'll have to make a few compromises. More robust systems with better features will cost more, so you should be prepared to prevent sticker shock.

What is a POS system?

A point-of-sale system, or POS, is the modern version of the traditional cash register. It comes in various physical formats, processes credit cards, tracks customer information, and prints or emails receipts. The POS software can also create analytics for tracking, managing your inventory, making it easy to reorder stock and supplies, calculating online sales tax automatically, and aiding with employee management. You'll want a POS system for starting a retail business as it streamlines multiple administrative tasks into one system along with enabling customers to use credit or debit cards for purchases.

Diagram of a POS system

What factors influence the cost of a POS system?

How much is a POS system? Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer. When purchasing a POS system, you may have to pay for hardware, software, and other fees for payment processing and additional features.

  • Software: The software is the component of your POS system that isn't visible to customers, allowing you to find items to ring up without scanning a barcode. Additionally, the software might come with reporting tools, inventory management tools, and options to route funds to your bank. If you’re running an e-commerce store, you only need software to help customers complete transactions because there’s no need for physical hardware. Point-of-sale software costs vary depending on your needs and integrations with online or offline systems.
  • Hardware: The physical components of your POS system are called the hardware, which includes terminals, devices, card readers, barcode scanners, cash drawers, receipt printers, displays, and routers. The hardware allows you to accept payments in a physical location. Ultimately, it consists of all of the parts of the register where you collect your payments.
  • Fees: POS systems process payments, so you’ll also be responsible for paying fees associated with processing card payments. Every time you sell an item, your POS system processes the transaction, which may include using cash, online payments, chip cards, and contactless payments. With the exception of cash, there are fees for every transaction, which vary depending on the provider.
  • Available features: Depending on your needs, you may also choose various add-on features to help you manage your business. Additional features may include inventory management tools, reports, staff management software, receipts, tipping options, and customer relationship management CRM that tells you what specific customers purchased.

Fluctuating costs of POS systems

While most of the costs associated with POS systems come at a fixed price, you'll also experience fluctuating costs, which may include:

  • Training: Every time someone is hired at your business, they’ll need to be trained on the POS system. Depending on your provider, you may be able to pay them to expertly train new hires. Otherwise, you may have to ask existing employees to take the time to teach these new individuals. Either way, training someone on the POS system costs time and money.
  • Transaction fees: Transaction fees vary depending on the POS system provider. These types of fees can also occur monthly or per transaction. For example, the Lightspeed POS system has a processing fee of 2.6% +$0.10 for every card transaction. Ultimately, the more customers you have, the more you’ll pay for these fees.
  • Number of terminals: The more terminals you have, the more you’ll also pay. You can choose to have one terminal where customers can go to complete their transactions, or you can give every employee on the floor their own terminal. You can add terminals to your POS system plan later, so you may not want to start with more than one terminal, depending on your needs.
  • Users: You may also only be permitted to have a set number of users for your POS system. Paying for more users will cost more money on a monthly basis.

Installation cost of POS systems

If you’re only using POS software, you may not need installation unless you have thousands of products for sale online and need help adding your inventory. Additionally, you may still require training, so factor that cost into the system's total price. However, if you’re using hardware, you may have to pay for the installation to help you get up and running. Unfortunately, not all POS system providers will offer installation. Depending on the provider, installation could take place in person, allowing an individual to come to install all the equipment for you. You may also be able to get help over the phone and install it yourself.

You can pay more to have your POS system professionally installed and hands-on training to make the transition easier for you and your staff. However, how much you’ll pay for installation will depend on the provider and the type of support they offer. For example, you can expect to pay less for over-the-phone support and more for in-person installation and training. Additionally, some providers will offer a fixed one-time installation fee, while others may have flat and hourly rates.

Free POS systems

Small businesses can use free POS systems to help them save money, but they work differently than paid options. Free POS software only charges the business per transaction. Many providers have free plans, which means no monthly fees, but this is only for the software. Any hardware you need will have to be purchased. Meanwhile, using the software is free as long as you pay for every transaction.

Free POS system software can be a great option for small businesses trying to save money. However, if they manage a large number of sales monthly, transaction fees can accumulate and become more expensive than purchasing comprehensive POS software.

What to look for in a POS system

There's no one size fits all solution for businesses looking for a POS system. Ultimately, you’ll have to consider the size of your business, its needs, and sales frequency. Here are a few things to look for in a POS system for your business:

  • Inventory management: Retail businesses must understand how sales impact inventory to replenish items once they sell out. POS systems should be able to help you track inventory based on sales to help you make better purchasing decisions.
  • Integrations: If your business has an online store, you’ll need your POS system to integrate seamlessly to track inventory and sales. For example, the Hike POS System allows you to integrate with your e-commerce store to make sales simple for customers and allow you to track inventory online and offline.
  • Customer management: A good POS system should help you manage customer relationships by telling you what a particular customer last purchased and when. Depending on your integrations, your POS can integrate with your online marketing software to help you sell more products online and offline.
  • Staff management: POS systems should allow staff to do everything they need to complete a transaction efficiently and help serve as many customers as possible.
  • Sales reports: Sales reports can help you understand the financial health of your business. If you’re running an online and in-person store, you’ll need a POS system that can help you track sales online and offline.

The POS system is integral to your business as it eliminates manual processes such as totaling the receipts, figuring out sales taxes, and even collecting emails for an email list. POS providers offer systems in a variety of formats that meet your needs for everything from a stationary checkout stand to a mobile app with card-swiping hardware. The cost of a POS system depends on the hardware you select and the software features.


What are the different types of POS systems?

The most common types of POS systems range from running the software on an intranet with local servers to a lightweight system that uses a smartphone app and portable card swiper. The hardware used in the system plays a major role in the point-of-sale system cost, but the POS software costs also contribute to the final POS system price.

Types of POS systems

Legacy POS

A legacy POS consists of using servers and other hardware that is connected through a local network. This system has access to the internet for processing transactions, but all the collected data is stored locally. The POS system price for a legacy system is the most expensive due to the fact it requires computer towers for servers, wired or wireless technology to connect all the hardware together, and the POS software.

Cloud-based POS The cloud-based POS processes transactions and stores data on remote servers. The only physical hardware that's used in this type of POS is the equipment used to process a cash or card transaction. The POS system cost for a cloud-based POS tends to be less costly than a legacy system. Currently, 28% of retailers plan to implement a cloud-based POS system in the future.

28% of retailers plan to implement a cloud based POS system in the future.

Hybrid POS

A hybrid POS combines a legacy POS system with a cloud-based POS system. The combination of the two creates a solid and reliable network that works best for larger enterprises with multiple POS systems. The cost of a POS system of this type is at the higher end of the spectrum due to the fact it has to integrate a variety of payment processing machines and data collection. However, the system is excellent for protecting customer data because the information can be stored locally if so desired.

Tablet POS

The tablet POS works as a countertop POS and a mobile POS, depending on your needs at the time. You can keep the tablet in a fixed location or hand tablets for employees to use as they perform their duties. One of the most common uses for a tablet POS is in the restaurant industry, as it streamlines the order-taking process and payments for the waitstaff. This style of POS is lightweight, takes up minimal space, and functions nicely as a cash register. The cost of the tablet POS tends to be lower than the legacy and hybrid options, as a tablet can load an app and use an external card reader for processing. Many mobile POS processors are low-cost or free.

Mobile POS

A mobile POS frees you and your employees from the need to process a sale at a fixed location. This type of POS system works off a smartphone app and a swipe or tap reader that connects to the phone via a cable or Bluetooth. This frees you up for selling at conventions, fairs, and anywhere else you sell your inventory. You can make a sale anywhere you have a cellular connection.

What is the cheapest POS system?

The cheapest POS system is free. Merchant service providers often offer card readers/swipers and apps for free, then take a higher credit card processing fee in place of charging you directly. It's a good way to save on POS hardware costs when you're starting your business and want to offer your customers the convenience of paying with a card. You can start accepting credit and debit cards the moment you receive the equipment and set up the app.

What are the benefits of a POS system?

A POS system does more than act as a multifunctional cash register. It can also help with the following aspects of running a business and also help you meet your marketing goals with white-gloved customer service features.

Inventory management

A POS system can be combined with an inventory database to track stock levels. With a physical system, stickers with scannable codes are applied to products for sale and entered into a database. When an item is scanned for checkout and sold, the POS system marks it as such. The item is removed from the for sale column and entered into the sold column, letting you know how much stock remains. If you're selling online only, the POS performs a similar process when it marks a product as sold, allowing you to pick, pack, and ship with less effort.

Customer management

Managing customer information and improving your relationship with them is possible with POS software that has features to help manage customer relationships. The POS software collects a customer's information at the time of sale, giving you the customer's name, what they bought, and the date they purchased. You can ask the customer for their email if they haven't provided it and add it to the card.

Once you've created a card, you can use the information to do everything from offering loyalty rewards to saving their receipts for future review. A POS system with customer relationship management features makes it easy to build customer loyalty and give them something in return. It elevates customer service to a level that's difficult to achieve when doing all of this by hand.


All POS systems have a basic reporting system that enables you to see your credit card transactions and credit card processing fees for a defined period. The software can also be configured to include a variety of reports that are relevant to your operation. Additional features will add to the POS software costs, but the additional costs are worth it, especially in light of the time saved on printing off reports and finding the information you need in less time.

What are the different types of POS licenses?

A POS license gives you the permission to make a transaction through a payment portal from your choice of POS providers. The license, also known as a subscription, lets you use the software and hardware as long as you pay the fee. It's part of the point of sale system cost, and is charged separately from the payment processing fees.

Single-user license

You need a single-user license for a single POS, such as a mobile POS or a stationary POS. Each terminal that processes payments is required to have its own license for access to the payment gateway that sends the credit card information and amount to the card-issuing bank. It's also used to track payment processing fees and assign them to your account.

Multi-user license

A multi-user license is required for a business that has more than a single credit card processor. In other words, if you have multiple machines processing credit cards, each machine is required to have its own license. You can purchase a license or subscription that has a sufficient number of licenses to assign to your POS hardware.

Subscription license

A subscription license consists of a recurring payment made monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, or annually. This is a good option if you're not sure about the future of your business, need to scale up your POS stations for a period of time, or you want to switch to a different provider with lower credit card processing fees in the future.

Perpetual license

In the event you plan on keeping your POS hardware for the long term, you may find it more economical to get a perpetual license for all of your POS hardware. This consists of a one-time fee that you pay up front to the POS provider for access to the credit card processing portal and any other costs related to said access. You have the option to pay for upgrades, access to more features, and support as you need.

Cloud-based license

A cloud-based license allows you to scale the number of POS terminals up or down as you need. This is similar to the multi-license option but works with tablets and other mobile terminals. Each merchant services provider has in-house packages for cloud-based licenses, and it's worth looking around to find the best deal for this type of use.

Wrapping up: The cost of a POS system

The average cost of 1 POS system for a small business ranges from $80 to $150 per month. However, POS system costs vary depending on the provider and your needs. Before purchasing software or hardware, make sure you understand the costs associated with processing payments using a POS system and how those costs can affect your business. While a POS system is necessary for your success, you can find one that suits your business needs without paying for features you don’t require.

Once your POS system is up and running, you can integrate your customer data with Mailchimp’s marketing automation software to build marketing campaigns and bring customers who have already made a purchase back to your website or retail store.

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