As any vendor knows, arranging, organizing and even using a new point-of-sale (POS) system can be a headache. Fortunately, those behind the devices are working to streamline the user experience.
Their efforts have paid off in the form of innovations like tap-and-pay, remote POS terminals and even tablet-based cash drawers to speed up the payment process. But now we have a new dilemma: choosing the best solution for our needs.
Start by deciding what you need from your POS system and how you will use it.
Making the right choice
How do you do business? If you run a physical storefront, a POS set-up including a standard credit card reader or a mobile device will do the trick. Remote transactions are usually completed via phone or online.
In some cases you may need a merchant account alongside your POS system (essentially a financial middleman to authorize payments), so check with your provider.
Are you a mobile operation? If you take your business with you, then it’s worth considering a portable tool like a mobile credit card processor. Some of these can run directly from your smartphone, using an app and a dongle or a plug-in card reader, like PayPal's Chip Card Reader, Amazon's PayAnywhere and Square. Typically, these don’t require merchant accounts.
If you have a brick-and-mortar set-up, consider investing in a complete checkout terminal including a card reader, NFC reader and touch screen cash register. While these do require merchant accounts, they are ideal for handling medium to large transaction volumes and are highly customizable to your business. For example, you could link up several terminals for efficiency and communication between employees in different departments.
Alternatively, you may be a stationary business with an online focus. In this case, a terminal POS system is unnecessary. Using an e-commerce platform such as Etsy, Amazon or eBay would suit, as they rarely require merchant accounts and are quick to set up.
Once you have a clear idea of how and where you’ll receive payments, you can decide on the device or platform that works best. With any luck, you’ll hear the glorious ring of the cash register – virtual or real – in no time at all.