By now, you’re already familiar with what a POS (point of sale) system is. For most retail businesses today, the POS system is what enables you to manage store inventory and staff, check out customers, accept payments, and route those funds to your bank account. It’s your retail store’s mission control.
But a POS system’s features vary from one provider to another—and so do the costs. How much does a POS terminal and hardware cost? What about the software? Are there payment processing fees?
Shopping for a POS system can feel tedious. With hidden costs, setup fees, and unclear pricing, it’s not always easy to know exactly what you’re signing up for.
POS systems come with both fixed and variable costs, and the price will vary depending on your provider, your business type, how many stores and employees you have, and the features you need.
Before you decide which POS is right for you, let’s go over the factors that influence how much they cost.
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How much does a point-of-sale system cost?
Depending on the POS system provider, pricing can start as low as $0 and climb upward of $230 per month for small businesses with one POS terminal. For larger businesses, the costs can get into the $1,000+ range, depending on which features they need, how many stores they have, and how many terminals they need.
Pricing varies from one POS provider to the next. Some offer free subscriptions, paid subscriptions with more advanced features, or custom pricing on a business-by-business basis. If the POS provider offers integrated payment processing, they may also charge a fee per transaction.
Transaction fees are an important variable cost to be mindful of. Some POS systems with integrated payment processing charge a percentage, a flat rate fee, or a mix of both. Depending on the types of payments you accept and how many transactions you process through your POS system, this will change your monthly costs.
The 3 biggest factors impacting POS system costs
The cost of your POS system will vary depending on how much you need to spend on the following three factors:
When you’re shopping for POS software, ensure it has the built-in features you need to run your business, like inventory management, has reporting and analytics, and integrates with your ecommerce platform.
Most point-of-sale software often has either a monthly or annual fee, as well as different subscription tiers at different price points. Pricier software plans typically come with more advanced features.
For instance, an ecommerce merchant on Shopify’s Basic plan gets Shopify POS software for free—it’s included in their plan ($29 per month) and gives them the tools they need for occasional in-person selling via pop-up shops or kiosks at events.
Alternatively, merchants with permanent brick-and-mortar stores who need more advanced features, like reporting and analytics or greater control over staff and user permissions, can sign up for Shopify POS Pro for $89 per month, per store location.
You can buy, lease, or rent POS hardware, depending on your needs. For instance, if you want to open a pop-up shop, you can rent Shopify POS hardware to accept payments, without sinking funds into hardware you don’t want to keep. But the hardware you need depends on your store’s setup.
📌 GET STARTED: Ready to start shopping for point-of-sale hardware? Head to the Shopify POS hardware store to shop for hardware designed to help you check out customers at the counter, curbside, and everywhere in between.
Your first decision is whether you want to go with a legacy POS system or a mobile POS system (mPOS) that can be installed onto iOS or Android tablets and smartphones. Mobile POS systems take up far less counter space than a legacy POS system and can be moved around the store to serve customers wherever they are. Mobile POS stands may also include a swivel to have the tablet screen face customers (known as a customer-facing display).
Cash drawer and card reader
While contactless payments are on the rise, 61% of payments in retail stores are made with cash. You may want to invest in a cash drawer, as well as a credit card reader that takes tap, chip, swipe, and PIN payments. This ensures you can accept all payment types and always make the sale.
With Shopify, cash drawers cost between $139 and $159, and Shopify’s card readers cost $49.
A survey from Green America found that 89% of US consumers want retailers to offer both print receipts and digital receipts sent via email. With that in mind, you might want to purchase a receipt printer and printing paper. This way, you can give shoppers the proof of purchase they prefer.
Depending on if you want Bluetooth, WiFi, or wired receipt printer, they can cost between $299 and $369.
💡 PRO TIP: Sending digital receipts via email is a great way to organically collect customer contact information at checkout and build an email list to fuel your email marketing. Just make sure they’ve opted in to hearing from you before sending them anything.
You may also want to consider purchasing a barcode scanner. These help you check out customers, count your inventory, and more. But if you want to have a minimal setup, Shopify POS turns your tablet or smartphone’s camera into a barcode scanner and saves you from purchasing another piece of hardware.
Depending on whether you choose a 1D or 2D barcode scanner, it will cost between $229 and $329.
📚 FURTHER READING: 1D and 2D barcode scanners can read different types of barcodes. Not sure which is right for your store? Read our barcode FAQs to get up to speed.
In addition to POS hardware and software costs, you also need to budget for credit card processing fees. Some POS systems come with integrated payment processing, while others require you to manage separate contracts, fees, and payments with a third-party provider.
Choosing a POS system with integrated payment processing simplifies your monthly costs, streamlines the customer experience, accelerates payouts, and reduces inaccuracies in your reporting due to human errors. Integrated payments also means you’ll spend less time reconciling charges.
Contrarily, when you partner with a third-party to handle payment processing, you’ll have to manually reconcile payments accepted from your card reader with your POS system, and it may take longer to receive payouts.
Before you choose a payment processor, understand what you’re signing up for. Be mindful of any long-term commitments or monthly fees. Also, make sure the payment provider’s transaction pricing is clear and straightforward.
💡 PRO TIP: Shopify Payments is included in all Shopify POS plans, no sign up or setup fees required. Control your cash flow better and pay the same pre-negotiated rate for all credit cards, starting at 2.4% + $0.00.
Payment transaction fees
Payment transaction fees are a percentage, fixed, or blended fee that’s charged by the payment gateway provider for processing the transaction. Some payment service providers have variable transaction fees depending on the payment method the customer uses, while others charge a fixed rate.
We recommend opting for fixed rates. They’re consistent, predictable, and easier to plan around. Fixed rates also give you peace of mind to accept all payment methods without risking any surprises on your next payout—no matter how much you sell.
The amount you pay each month in transaction fees depends on the number of orders you process at your point of sale.
Things that cause a POS system's costs to fluctuate
Depending on the POS you choose, there are other factors that can affect how much it costs. Here’s a checklist of things to consider when shopping for a point-of-sale system.
Number of POS terminals
Some POS systems charge merchants per terminal (also referred to as a register). Depending on how many stores and employees you have, that can get expensive—especially if you want to equip store associates each with their own POS terminal to ensure they serve customers efficiently.
For example, let’s say you have two stores and eight employees (four at each store). To equip each of your staff with a POS terminal, you need to commit to a monthly recurring payment of $40 per register—that’s $320 per month excluding the cost of your monthly plan and one-time hardware costs.
When you pay per POS terminal, you tend to spend more per month.
💡 PRO TIP: Paying per register is usually more expensive than paying per location—even for merchants with multiple store locations. Do your due diligence when researching POS system pricing plans to ensure you’re getting the most value for your money.
Number of store locations
While some POS providers charge per register or terminal, others—like Shopify POS Pro—charge a fixed rate per store location. This is especially beneficial if you want to have more than one POS terminal in your store.
When you pay per location, you can have an unlimited number of POS terminals without paying additional fees. You’re not charged to add more users or to install your POS software onto additional tablets or smartphones.
Let’s continue with the same example. With Shopify POS Pro, you pay $89 per store location. Excluding one-time hardware costs, you can equip both stores and your eight staff with a point of sale for $178 per month.
📌 GET STARTED: With Shopify POS, you pay one fixed monthly rate per store location. Download the Shopify POS app onto as many devices as you want and turn any smartphone or tablet into a POS terminal at no additional cost.
Number of users
Some POS systems will restrict the number of user accounts that can log in to each POS terminal. Some plans may come with only one user license, while others offer unlimited users. Ensure that the POS you choose will let you create as many staff logins as you need to keep your store running smoothly.
At Shopify, we understand your business is dynamic. As your business expands, so will your team. We want you to have all the tools you need to grow your business. That’s why our POS pricing allows you to add unlimited users at no extra charge.
Some POS systems let you sell an unlimited number of products, while others will give you a maximum number of SKUs to sell depending on the pricing plan you choose. With Shopify, you can add an unlimited amount of products and variants to your POS with both our Lite and Pro plan.
Most POS providers offer several different tiers of their product. More expensive pricing plans typically come with a more comprehensive set of features. It’s important to know what features you need to run your business effectively and to ensure the POS plan you choose includes those features.
When researching POS systems, be sure to see if the point-of-sale comes with reporting and analytics, inventory management, marketing, customer loyalty, and employee management capabilities. Some POS systems don’t include important features, forcing you to pay more to get them.
Add-ons and apps
Essential features for accepting payments, managing inventory, viewing reports, and building a customer database should come natively with your POS system.
But for functionality beyond the essentials, add-ons or apps made by third-party developers can be a cost-effective way to add new functionalities, experiment with new tactics, and explore new ways to grow your business.
While some apps are free, you need to pay to use others. Depending on the apps you choose, that can impact how much you pay for your POS on a monthly basis.
💡 PRO TIP: Download apps built by our trusted partners in the Shopify app store to customize your POS system’s capabilities for your businesses unique needs.
Things to consider before buying a POS system
Aside from how much a POS system costs and the features it has, there are other things you should factor into which point-of-sale provider you partner with.
Most POS systems come with either monthly plans or annual contracts. Monthly plans are flexible and give the merchant more control, whereas annual plans might lock you into a legally binding agreement that is non-refundable and non-cancellable unless you pay a break fee. Be sure to read the fine print of your agreement and know what you’re signing up for!
With Shopify, we let you try the POS for free before making any commitments. Use the point-of-sale and test out its features. When you’re ready, you can turn on Shopify POS Pro for just $89 per month. If you aren’t satisfied, you can cancel your monthly plan at no cost.
In-person and online selling
Shoppers don’t just shop online or in-store. They shop using a mix of both channels. DTC merchants who unify their online and offline shopping experience will build better relationships with customers and unlock growth that single-channel merchants can’t.
Omnichannel retailing isn’t a strategy, it’s table-stakes. The consumer shopping journey will remain a hybrid between online and offline. Brands that are prepared to sell where their customers are - from in-store to TikTok -will benefit the most.— Harley Finkelstein (@harleyf) September 13, 2021
Oftentimes when a merchant uses two systems to manage online and in-person selling, transaction, inventory, and customer data is siloed by channel and their reports don’t reflect the truth. If someone buys a product in-store, does that transactional data flow into your sales reports? Will inventory levels adjust in real-time as products are sold, returned, or exchanged online and in-store?
Some POS systems allow you to integrate your POS system and ecommerce platform by using an integration partner. Unfortunately, those integrations don’t fully unify your channels. After all, it’s still two different systems with entirely different features, built by two different companies.
But with Shopify, you can start, market, manage, and grow your business everywhere your customers are, from the same powerful platform.
- Launch a beautifully branded website fast with easy-to-use themes and templates.
- Convert more traffic into sales with the best-converting checkout on the web.
- Sell internationally in just a few clicks.
- Unify your sales channels: social media, your online store, online marketplaces, retail stores, and more.
- Offer fulfillment methods like in-store pickup at checkout.
- Fuel your marketing with customer profiles that combine online and in-store purchase history.
- Manage your store and warehouse inventory in the same place.
- Make informed decisions using reports that unify data from your website and POS system.
Merchants that use Shopify to unify their in-store and online sales grow revenue by 30% year over year.
Ease of use
Some POS systems are more intuitive to use than others. Make sure you like the POS system’s workflows and that you can customize them to better match your preferences.
While ease of use doesn’t factor into a POS system’s costs, it will absolutely impact your team’s productivity. If a POS system feels complicated, it will take longer to train staff on how to use it, and can make in-store operations take longer than they have to.
We recommend starting a free trial to test the point of sale and see whether or not you and your staff enjoy the product.
Shopify POS is really easy to use and learn. I only have to spend about 20 minutes teaching our new hires how to use the system.
Room to grow
Some POS systems are better for small businesses, while others are focused on larger enterprise customers. But you want a POS system that can support your businesses growth, no matter how big you get.
With Shopify, you get all the tools you need to grow your business, no matter how big or small you are. Allbirds, for instance, started small with Shopify and has grown into a world-renowned public company valued at over $4 billion.
When you need help, you want a POS system with support you can count on. Find out what kind of support is included in your plan, what its operating hours are, and what channels you can use (email, live chat, or phone).
If you have both a physical and online store, business never stops. We recommend choosing a POS provider that offers around-the-clock support and can help you any time.
With Shopify, you can find answers in our Help Center or contact our support team 24/7 by email, phone, or live chat (even at 3 a.m., before you launch your big promotion).
Help from experts
Sometimes, you need to get help from an expert. Whether you need help with marketing, merchandising your store, or switching from another system to Shopify POS, you can hire a certified freelancer or agency through Shopify Experts.
How much does Shopify POS cost?
You might be wondering how much Shopify POS costs. We offer two POS plans: Shopify POS Lite and Shopify POS Plus.
Shopify POS Lite
Shopify POS Lite is included with all Shopify plans and is best for on-the-go sales and opening temporary stores like pop-up shops. Shopify plans start from $29/month. If you’re already selling online with Shopify, you can start using Shopify POS Lite to sell in-person right away at no cost.
Shopify POS Pro
Shopify POS Pro is an add-on subscription that unlocks additional features of your POS. If your retail business has several locations, multiple tiers of staff, a large product catalogue, or high sales volume, consider upgrading to POS Pro. The advanced subscription gives you faster workflows for inventory management and checkout, greater control over staff permissions and access, and deeper reporting and insights into your business.
📌 GET STARTED: Click here to learn more about Shopify POS plans, features and pricing.
Shopping for POS systems: the best bang for your buck
Your POS system is your retail store’s mission control and there are numerous factors that determine how much it will cost.
After reading this post, hopefully you have a rough estimate of how much a POS system costs, but these numbers will fluctuate from one POS provider to another. We encourage you to research your options to find the point-of-sale that has everything you need and fits your budget.
Try Shopify POS for omnichannel selling
Bring your in-store and online sales together with Shopify POS. Gain insights about your business from one view so you can work smarter, move faster, and think bigger.