Choosing the Right POS System

merchant services terminal for accepting credit cards in retail small business

How to Choose the Right POS System for Your Small Business

You have a great idea, a catchy name, a timeless logo and a perfect location ready to go for your small business. Now you must decide how people will pay you for the goods and services you offer. Before diving in, it is important to know what to consider when choosing a POS system. A good POS system should be easy to use, allow customization, offer inventory capabilities, and come with 24/7 technical support.

What does a POS system do for my business?

When you’re considering what POS system to use, it’s best to begin with learning about how they work and what they offer.

A POS system allows businesses to process customer payments such as credit or debit card transactions. Today many of these systems offer the flexibility of accepting payments regardless of whether a customer is in person or shopping online. They can look like a traditional countertop terminal or a mobile system operating through a smartphone, laptop or tablet.

Some business models may require mobile terminals for on-the-go ordering, while others, such as retail stores, may benefit from an affixed countertop terminal. Newer terminals allow for contactless payments from watches or phones as well as the ability for the customer to conduct transactions all on their own.

What does a POS system include?

Even with the growing number of contactless payment options, most POS systems still come equipped with the essentials like a cash drawer, receipt printer, barcode scanner, and a debit/credit card reader. Many also allow you to create and activate gift cards for your business.

Other essential features to consider when choosing a POS system include product lookup capabilities, split payment option, store credit, and a customer-facing display. You may also wish to consider whether you want the ability to create multiple user accounts and the option to control permissions for employees. This way, a part-time worker would not have the same permission level as a manager.

How much does a POS system cost?

Depending on the size of your business, you can expect to spend about $1,200 on one POS system. Make sure to budget for approximately $1,000 in yearly software and upkeep costs. You’ll also want to research how you’ll receive your statements and the frequency and timing of when processing fees are assessed to your account. This will help you plan ahead and know how fees will impact your cash flow.

Whether you end up purchasing or leasing your system, you’ll want to fully understand the terms of the agreement including the duration of the contract. Ask questions about what happens if you choose to change banks or systems or, due to other circumstances, need to close your business altogether. Will you face early termination fees?

What level of customer service do you want?

If you have technical issues with a POS system, you need a POS provider that can respond quickly so you don’t miss out on potential sales. Find out whether the provider offers 24/7 support, and make sure to ask for after-hours contact information in case of emergency.

Working with an experienced merchant services representative will help ensure all of your payment processing needs are met. Take the time to find a system designed specifically for your business’s current needs, as well as choose a financial partner that offers flexibility as your business grows.

When shopping around for POS systems contact a Merchant Services Representative about additional products outside of the main payment terminal. You may be eligible for additional features that allow customers to pay with their mobile devices or that allow you to offer customers loyalty programs for frequent purchases.

SouthState’s Merchant Services offers competitive advantages including no statement fees, no monthly minimum processing fees, no cancellation fees, and fast funding with next-day and same-day availability. Merchant Services are subject to credit approval. Learn more about SouthState’s POS system offerings here.

Alex Keene manages the marketing, communication, profitability and development aspects of the Treasury management and payment solutions products at SouthState Bank. She has over 25 years of experience in Treasury management product management, sales, operations and payment fraud prevention. Keene received a bachelor's in economics from Southwestern University and a master's in project management from George Washington University.

  • This content is general in nature and provided for informational use only. Content may be used in connection with the advertising and marketing of products and services offered by SouthState Bank, N.A. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. This is not to be considered legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You should seek individualized advice from personal financial, legal, tax and/or other professionals, as appropriate depending on the specific facts of your situation. We do not make any warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of this information and have no liability for your use of this information.

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