iPad POS (Point Of Sale) systems are well-known for being easy to use. That means less time getting new employees up to speed on checkouts and order-taking.
Some systems, like Square, are so intuitive to use that they’re popular with amateurs and businesses alike.
There’s a surprising variety of iPad POS software available: from a simple Square reader that plugs directly into an iPhone up to complete multi-station software that can track and reward customer loyalty and tell you which of your products are the most popular.
Overall most iPad systems are cost-effective. Let’s take a look at what’s available in terms of both software and hardware.
12 Top iPad POS Systems
Ready to dig in? Here are twelve of the most popular POS systems on the market right now. Below, we take a look at the top features, pricing, and hardware available with each.
Square POS is designed to help businesses accept payments, manage inventory, send receipts, and much more — with no start-up costs.
Popular features include sales and reporting analytics, online order management, and the ability to manage customer information.
The software is free to download and setup, but businesses will pay a portion of each sale plus a 10 cent fee per payment.
They provide one magstripe reader (which plugs into a smartphone) for free and financing for other hardware, such as an iPad stand
QuickBooks POS connects with their computer-based accounting tool. This makes it easy for businesses to track sales, accept payments, and manage customer relationships and inventory.
However, this is a Windows-based system that requires some preliminary steps before you can use your iPad with it.
The company told us: “It must be initially installed on a Windows computer/laptop or compatible Windows tablet then you can integrate an iPad to it for its mobile sync feature.” The computer that it’s initially installed on must be running Windows 10 or higher.
QuickBooks POS enables you to track and see customer history at every checkout and offer appropriate loyalty rewards.
This is a bare-bones tool that does not offer gift card management or returns tracking. Barcode scanning is available with the optional bar code scanner tool.
Hardware must be purchased separately and includes a card reader, receipt printer, cash drawer, and more.
Shopify POS is designed to allow online businesses to also make in-person sales and sync related information across platforms.
Features include inventory management, returns tracking, the ability to create and manage store credits, split payments, detailed sales reports, and gift card functionality.
You can use your own hardware or use their free Shopify card reader, which plugs into a smartphone. Additional hardware is available for a fee.
Plans start at $29 per month, plus transaction fees. (Note: the $29/month fee is for the Shopify e-commerce website builder. It comes with a free card reader and POS software.)
Lightspeed POS is a cloud-based solution that provides a range of features, including inventory management, analytics, reports, and customer management tools.
It also allows businesses to manage multiple product variants, create work orders, and even track layaways.
They offer extensive hardware systems for purchase, including an iPad hardware kit that includes a receipt printer, iPad stand, cash drawer, and bar code scanner. This system also works with a laptop.
Pricing starts at $99 per month, plus transaction fees.
Designed with the needs of independent businesses in mind, ShopKeep is a feature-rich POS with easy to use features.
It helps businesses accept payments, regulate inventory, track sales and discounts, and manage gift cards. It offers real-time analytics and much more.
ShopKeep integrates with e-commerce platforms, so businesses can track sales wherever they occur.
Hardware includes a cash drawer, iPad stand, printer, card scanner, and barcode scanner. They do not list pricing on their website, you will have to call for a quote, which will vary based on whether you need to purchase hardware.
Designed to help retail businesses grow, Vend is an easy-to-use POS system that helps retail businesses make sales, manage inventory, track customer data, and analyze real-time analytics.
Features include gift card management, customer loyalty support, e-commerce support, and the ability to track returns.
Businesses can also manage inventory across multiple locations. You can use your own hardware, or purchase a package through Vend at a discount.
They offer a free two-week trial, and pricing starts at $99 a month after that, with no transaction fees.
Revel System’s POS helps businesses make sales and manage other aspects of their businesses.
Features include a CRM, the ability to make sales, place orders, manage inventory, and create and manage employee schedules. You can monitor everything from one dashboard. Reporting is included.
The system integrates with a variety of other platforms, including Como, LevelUp, and Davo.
Hardware is available for lease through Revel, including cash drawers, iPads, scanners, printers, and more.
Pricing starts at $99 per month. Training and installation is available (but not required) and starts at $649.
Bindo offers a scalable POS system that works for businesses of all sizes.
They offer more than 300 features, including gift card management, e-commerce integration, bar code scanning, inventory management, time clock, CRM, rewards management, and credit card processing.
Hardware solutions are also available, including receipt printers, iPads, stands, cash drawers, scales, and more.
Pricing is not listed on BindoPOS’s site, but they do offer a free trial. Contact BindoPOS for a quote.
Bluestore Live is a full-featured POS system that also offers a range of business management tools.
Features include stock management, customer data tracking, a suite of reporting tools, barcode scanning, customizable receipts, discount management, and permission levels.
It offers full, two-way integration with the e-commerce platform Magento and the ability to track supplier costs over time.
Hardware is available through their website or you can use your own hardware. Pricing starts at £19 per month (or roughly US$23).
These 3 iPad POS systems are designed for use in restaurants. There are options here for tableside ordering, quick-serve restaurants, and delivery/take out establishments.
Realize though that some of the POS systems described above, like LightSpeed POS, either have restaurant versions of their software or can be used in any industry (e.g. Square).
This restaurant POS system was designed specifically to help restaurants increase sales, improve customer service, and provide actionable business data to facilitate growth.
Features include tableside ordering, self-ordering kiosk mode, kitchen display system, table management, CRM, inventory and menu management, and a range of reporting tools.
Pricing for software starts at $69 per month, or you can select a hardware/software budget for $105 per month.
Multi-license discounts are available.
Upserve is a restaurant-only POS system.
Formerly known as Breadcrumb, this system offers a broad range of features, including offline mode, shift notes, training mode, the ability to easily split checks and items, online ordering, shift prep, on-screen signature, table side dining, table management, sales analytics, and employee management tools.
Pricing starts at $59 per month for their lowest package on a single terminal.
Note: features many tools offer for free are upgrades for Upserver’s lower plans, including online ordering and inventory.
Financing is available for purchasing hardware.
Designed with pizza and delivery restaurants in mind, Thrive POS offers a range of tech tools for delivery restaurants of all sizes.
Features include online and mobile ordering, loyalty programs, affordable payment processing, delivery management, payroll management, coupon tracking, inventory management, and much more.
You must request a demo to get pricing on software and hardware.
iPad POS Systems – Pricing Comparison Table
So how do these systems stack up price-wise? In the table below we’ve listed the lowest available price.
Once you’ve found a product you’re interested in, click through to the company’s website for details on accessories or hardware options.
|Square||Free software, $10 for card reader, $199 flat fee for Square stand with support for all payment methods (magnetic, chip, contactless)||Processing: 2.6% + 10¢ per dip, tap or swipe|
|Bluestore Live||£19 per month, £5 per extra terminal||Can cancel at any time. Covers unlimited users.|
|Shopify||$29/mo is for the Shopify website builder||You get a free card reader and POS app|
|LightSpeed POS||$69/mo for restaurant, $99/mo for other businesses||Upgrade to Advanced Reporting for $21/mo|
|TouchBistro||$69/mo billed annually for software only||Hardware and software bundle starts at $105/mo, billed annually|
|QuickBooks POS||$1,000 - one-time purchase. Equates to $83.33/mo for 1 year.||Hardware sold separately|
|UpServe||$59/mo for subscription and $60/mo for terminal running UpServe||Company claims average customer saves 50 hours a month by using their system|
|Vend||$99/mo paid annually with 3-year contract||Flat processing fee based on industry|
|Revel Systems||$99/mo per terminal||Flat fee processing|
|ShopKeep||Call company for quote||Contact for quote on processing fee|
|BindoPOS||Call company for price||$39/mo for each additional register|
|Thrive POS||Call company for price||Serves independents and chains|
Here are some common questions that we receive from readers along with answers. If you have a different question, leave it in the comments below and we’d be happy to answer it.
Which iPad works best with Square?
Square has multiple products and they each have different compatibility with various iPad models.
The simple Square reader for chip cards has the widest compatibility and can be used with iPad 2 models on up. Square also has readers that work with any iPhone model and iPods from the 4th generation on up.
Square Stand for contactless and chip requires:
- iPad Pro 9.7″
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air (1st generation, 2013)
- iPad (6th generation, 2018)
- or iPad (5th generation, 2017)
Regarding operating systems, note that:
- Square Stand for contactless and chip requires iOS 9.3.5+
- Square Stand requires iOS 9.0+
Lastly, realize that Square is also compatible with Android devices. Before you purchase Square it’s best to check their convenient Device Compatibility page.
Does Apple sell Square?
Yes, the online Apple Store sells the Square Reader and the Square Reader for Magstripe. They also carry the Clover handheld wireless card reader that pairs with an iPhone or iWatch. (The Square and Clover readers accept Apple Pay.)
Also on offer: stands and docks for Square and Clover readers.
Running a small business is hard, but using a good POS system can make it easier.
When choosing a POS, consider the cost (including hardware and transaction fees), and determine which features would help your business grow.
Have you used one of these POS systems? Do you use another that you prefer? Let us know in the comments!