Best ePOS for Small Business in 2020

Electronic POS is now the norm. If you’re still using an old mechanical cash register that isn’t simultaneously running every aspect of your business, you need to upgrade to an ePOS system.
Best overall ePOS option
Square
Square
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    No starting costs
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lots of hardware variety
Best inventory management
Shopify
Shopify
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Complete inventory management tools
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Easy online shop creation
Best QuickBooks integration
Shopkeep
ShopKeep
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    QuickBooks expense tracking
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Employee management software
Best ePOS for restaurants
Upserve
Upserve
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Menu item tracking and analytics
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Table and order management
Best for processing integrations
Clover
Clover
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Integrates with many payment processors
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Great loyalty features

Electronic point-of-sale is here to stay. The days of the old, mechanical cash register are winding down as companies like Square are continuously pushing the boundaries of how an electronic POS can help businesses.

These days your POS system can be your inventory manager, employee scheduler, loyalty program administrator, and payment processor. It’s an all-in-one deal that takes some of the hardest tasks you face as an entrepreneur and streamlines them into one place.

So, to help you decide which of all the options available on the market is best for your business, we’ve put together this list of the top five best ePOS systems of 2020.

Best ePOS for small business

Pricing and plans

Brand
Processing fee per card-present transaction
Processing fee per card-not-present transaction
Basic monthly fee
Learn more
Square2.6% + 10¢3.5% + 15¢None
Shopify2.7% + 0¢ to 2.4% + 0¢Same as card-present$29–$299
ShopKeep2.5% + 10¢Not available$49–$199
UpserveNot availableNot available$59–$359
Clover2.7% + 10¢3.5% + 10¢$9.95–$69.95

Square: Best overall

Square

Square has a low barrier to entry with a lot of ways to expand your POS system. It’s both a great place to start and a system that’s easy to grow into as your business matures.

Square is hands down the easiest way to get started in point-of-sale. You can get a mobile credit card reader, a Square account, and access to a top-notch POS app all for free. This is thanks to Square’s flat-rate processing fee. It’s set at a price point that allows Square to give you a lot of free functionality up front because you only start paying Square when you start making transactions.

Square’s free POS system offers inventory management, team management, reporting and analytics, and customer relationship management. Additionally, you can add services like loyalty programs for a small monthly fee.

In addition to great POS software features, Square offers a lot of hardware variety. The hardware starts with the free mobile reader and scales all the way up to the Square Register, giving you the hardware flexibility you need to take payments however and wherever you need.

Shopify: Best inventory management

Shopify

Shopify has everything you need to run an efficient brick-and-mortar and online operation simultaneously. And its inventory management tools are incredibly functional for complex inventory needs.

Shopify is known for its online shop creation services, but it also offers a top-of-the-line POS system. With Shopify, it’s easy to run a brick-and-mortar business and a website simultaneously. Customers can order items in your shop online and then pick them up in your store. Customers can also buy an item in your store and have it shipped directly to their homes.

In addition to its omnichannel selling features, Shopify also offers a great inventory management system for users who pay for Shopify POS Pro. The software makes it easy to transfer stock between locations, track current inventory, make purchase orders for additional inventory, and forecast future demand for products.

Powerful inventory management is key for getting your customers the products they expect to find in your store. With Shopify, you get not only a great inventory management system but also staff management and reporting and analytics tools—everything you need in a solid POS system.

ShopKeep: Best QuickBooks integration

Shopkeep

ShopKeep is a great option if you’re already using QuickBooks to track your expenses. It’s also just a great all-around point-of-sale system that brings a lot of functionality to the table for businesses looking for a more robust POS package.

If you’re tired of manually entering sales into QuickBooks every day, ShopKeep is a great POS option for you. It will automatically upload all your sales data to QuickBooks as you process.

On top of its QuickBooks integration, ShopKeep also has some notable POS tools to help your business run smoothly:

  • Marketing tools. Offer gift cards, build targeted email campaigns on MailChimp, and start a loyalty program.
  • Inventory management. Tools for retail and restaurants to help track when supplies are running low.
  • Detailed business reports. See daily transaction reports to better understand how your business is performing.
  • Employee management. See when employees clock in and out and track sales per employee to see which employees may need additional training.

These tools in combination together, make ShopKeep a real force to be reckoned with in the POS world. While many POS systems have similar features, ShopKeep’s combination of these features in addition to their Quickbooks integration makes their offering stand out above others.

Upserve: Best for restaurants

Upserve

Upserve is by far the most feature-rich POS system tailored to restaurants we’ve ever reviewed. It offers functionality designed to make your restaurant run more efficiently.

Upserve is a bit more pricey than the other options on this list, but it’s also one of the most efficiently designed. While most other POS systems we’ve mentioned are interested in general point-of-sale features that benefit many businesses in a multitude of industries, Upserve is designed specifically around the needs of the modern restaurant.

Upserve offers menu intelligence analytics that can help you see how old and new menu items are performing. This performance is not merely measured in total sales—it’s measured in repeat visits as well. For example, an item may sell very well but not inspire repeat visits. Whereas there may be an item on your menu that doesn’t sell as well, it can still have a loyal following.

Upserve also makes it easy to manage tables and orders, to schedule and train employees, and to track ingredient inventory.

Clover: Best for processing integrations

Clover

Clover is a POS system that’s been designed to integrate with other payment processors. What this means is with Clover, you can shop for the payment processor that best fits your needs.

Clover integrates with a ton of payment processing providers that cover a wide range of applications:

  • Payline Data: Best processor for higher risk merchants.
  • Payment Depot: Processor with some of the cheapest transaction rates around.
  • First Data: A great all-around processor that actually owns Clover as a subsidiary.

There are plenty of other processors that offer Clover POS products, but those are some of our favorites. The prices listed in the table only reflect what you pay if you process directly with Clover. If you use a different processor with Clover, your costs may change significantly.

For example, Payment Depot offers transaction fees as low as the interchange rate + 5¢ per transaction. Payline Data, on the other hand, may not have transaction fees as low as Payment Depot, but Payline Data specializes in helping businesses who have been rejected by other processing companies for being too high risk.

So you can see how processing integrations would be useful. But what about Clover as a POS system? It’s actually pretty darn good. Clover offers loyalty programs, customer relationship management, employee management, and integrations with popular products like QuickBooks and Mailchimp.

FAQs

What is the real cost of electronic point-of-sale?

There are a lot of elements that add to the price tag of a POS system:

  • Processing fees
  • Monthly fees
  • Equipment costs

Processing fees happen every time someone makes a transaction through your POS system. Monthly fees are generally just what you pay to keep your processing service active. Equipment costs are the most confusing.

With equipment, there can be four kinds of costs: the lump-sum purchase price, the monthly fee purchase price, the rental price, and the monthly service fee. Depending on your POS provider’s options you’ll buy your equipment outright with a lump sum payment, you’ll make monthly payments on your equipment until you own it, or you’ll rent the equipment for a monthly payment.

Some equipment requires a monthly service charge to keep the equipment active and connected to the processor. This charge may fall outside of the purchase price.

What is the real cost of electronic point-of-sale?

Not necessarily. That just depends on how you want to manage your point-of-sale. For example, you could set up your store with three terminals—one would be a credit card reader with a cash drawer, the other would be a mobile POS device that an employee brings around the store, and the last one would be a self-serve kiosk.

As a business owner, it’s up to you to decide how to handle POS in your business. If you rarely get any patrons who want to pay with cash, you may not need a cash drawer.

For mobile businesses like a food truck or retail stand, a mobile credit card reader may be optimal so you don’t have to lug around a fat cash register.

The takeaway

There are a lot of great ePOS systems on the market today but only a few are real contenders for the top spots. Hopefully, our breakdown of the top contenders has helped you find a compelling option to dive deeper into. In the end, it all depends on what you can afford and on the kind of functionality you’re looking for.

If all the options listed above seem too expensive, you may want to take a look at our breakdown of the best free POS systems.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.