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Published: Jan 02, 2023 22 min read
Smartphone with a square point of sale system

Modern technology has completely revolutionized the way business is done. One of the most significant technological advancements for small businesses today is the mobile point-of-sale, or POS system, which allows you to take your business anywhere you go. It can be run on a smartphone or tablet — all you need is a card reader and an internet connection. With a mobile POS system, your business doesn’t have to be tied down to a storefront, so you can go wherever the money is.

If you’re getting ready to start a business or want to upgrade your current business’s POS system, read on. This article will walk you through some of the best mobile POS systems on the market, plus tips to find the right solution for your business.

Our Top Picks for the Best Mobile POS Systems

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The 7 Best Mobile POS Systems Reviews

Why we chose it: Square is one of the most popular POS systems on the market because it’s affordable, easy to use and comes with a free app for Android and iOS.

  • Free app for phones or tablets
  • Multiple hardware options
  • Flat-rate processing
  • Not the most secure
  • Can get pricey for high-volume businesses

Whether at your local coffee shop or a farmers’ market, there’s a good chance you’ve already encountered a Square POS system. This was one of the first mobile POS systems to hit the market, and it's still among the most popular today.

Most business owners who use Square appreciate its transparency and low costs. The base app is free and easy to use with any Android or iOS device. You can purchase additional software on the app, including payroll and email marketing programs, which cost between $5 and $45 per month.

Square has built-in payment processing, which means you don’t have to find a separate merchant services provider. Plus, the company will send a free card reader to any new business. If you want additional readers and hardware, you can order them online or through the app.

Square has flat-rate processing for each transaction. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • In-person payments: 2.6% plus 10 cents
  • Online payments: 2.9% plus 30 cents
  • Manual key payments: 3.5% plus 15 cents

If you’re a smaller business just using the base app and the complimentary card reader, Square is totally free (minus the transaction fees). However, for a high-volume business, those fees can add up. A larger business that handles a lot of transactions might find better options beyond Square.

Why we chose it: Clover POS is a hardware and software bundle used by restaurants, retailers and other small businesses on the go. It’s a solid option if your business needs to process payments offline, or if you want access to high-tech hardware with your POS.

  • Affordable plans include hardware
  • Can integrate with other payment systems
  • Option to pay offline
  • Hardware has to be tied to a merchant account
  • Contracts can vary by third-party resellers

If you already have a merchant services provider and want to update your mobile POS hardware, Clover is a good option. This POS system can be integrated with other payment systems and is available through third-party resellers — meaning you don’t have to change your merchant account.

Clover POS provides business-specific systems for the following:

  • Full service dining
  • Quick service dining
  • Retail shops
  • Professional services
  • Personal services
  • Home and field services

All systems are available in three plans: Starter, Standard and Advanced, each more comprehensive (and pricier) than the previous one. Software and hardware bundles are included in the plans, with devices for on-site transactions (the Mini and the Station) or for mobile payments (the Go and the Flex)

Clover’s hardware is generally easy to install and handle. It also has a 24/7 customer helpline to service the devices when something goes wrong.

Because Clover POS is sold through third-party resellers, contracts may vary. That said, if you buy Clover directly from its parent company, Fiserv, you can expect these fees:

  • For retail: 2.3% - 2.6% plus 10 cents
  • For restaurants: 2.3% plus 10 cents
  • Any card-not-present transactions: 3.5% plus 10 cents

Clover’s monthly plans range from $0 to $290, including hardware and software costs.

Why we chose it: Vend has built-in payment processing, flat rates and an integrated loyalty program that make it a simple-to-use mobile POS system for any growing business.

  • Easy-to-use system
  • Plans come with a loyalty program
  • Scan barcodes with your phone
  • Only works with iOS devices
  • No free plan options

Vend is an option for business owners who want more features than Square offers, but still want to keep their mobile POS system simple. The system is easy to use and train staff on. It also comes with integrated payment processing, so you don’t need a different merchant services provider.

A standout feature of Vend’s mobile POS is the ability to perform tasks directly from the smartphone, including scanning barcodes and adding inventory. It also comes with a loyalty program that tracks your customers’ payment history and awards loyalty points.

A major downside to the system is that Vend doesn’t work with Android devices. You’ll need an iPad or iPhone to run your Vend POS. Another drawback is that there is no free plan, so Vend might not be ideal for a business that’s just starting out.

Vend flat transaction fees are:

  • In-person payments: 2.6% plus 10 cents
  • Online payments: 2.9% plus 30 cents

Plans range from $69 to $229 per month, paid annually. This isn’t the cheapest option on the market, but it does offer more features and better security than a free POS system.

Why we chose it: Lightspeed offers a mobile POS system with advanced inventory management features, a necessity for most retail businesses.

  • Built-in payment processing (no MSP required)
  • Can be customized for retail
  • Simplified inventory management
  • Only works with iOS devices
  • Higher monthly payments

Lightspeed features easy-to-use systems and built-in payment processing similar to other mobile POS, but this system stands out because it can be customized for retail. This helps with managing additional inventory, completing high-volume transactions, and administrating loyalty programs.

Every Lightspeed plan comes with advanced inventory management, which lets you look into the details of every item in your inventory, including vendor information, stocks and purchase orders. It's all accessible from your iPhone or iPad but, like Vend, this system doesn’t work with Android devices.

Another standout feature of Lightspeed is the flexible pricing. As your business grows, you can access lower processing rates for high-volume sales. Lightspeed also offers an enterprise-level plan for larger businesses. To find out if your business qualifies, you’ll have to get a quote from the company.

Without high-volume sales, Lightspeed offers flat-rate processing:

  • In-person payments: 2.6% plus 10 cents
  • Online payments: 2.9% plus 30 cents

Plans with Lightspeed start at $69 per month, paid annually. Unfortunately, the lowest-cost plan doesn’t come with enough features for a growing business. Most businesses pay around $119 to $199 per month for Lightspeed.

Why we chose it: Shopify stands out as a mobile POS system that integrates online shopping with a physical POS system for in-person transactions.

  • Website and online store included
  • Tons of built-in features
  • Integrates online payments into POS
  • Extra transaction fee without Shopify payments
  • No free hardware

If you’re planning on setting up e-commerce for your business, Shopify is a good alternative to get it up and running. All of Shopify’s plans include a website and online store which you can manage through the mobile app, and all online payments are automatically integrated with your in-person POS.

Shopify also comes with bonus features for retail, including inventory management, CRM and loyalty programs. Of course, these advanced features cost extra. Shopify is more expensive than other POS systems for retail. However, the most expensive plan comes with lower transaction fees and additional discounts on shipping and processing.

Shopify’s fees are a little more complicated than other POS options and vary based on your plan. Here’s an overview:

Basic Plan

  • Online payments: 2.9% plus 30 cents
  • In-person payments: 2.7%

Shopify Plan

  • Online payments: 2.6% plus 30 cents
  • In-person payments: 2.5%

Advanced Plan

  • Online payments: 2.4% plus 30 cents
  • In-person payments: 2.4%

Plans with Shopify range from $29 per month to $299 per month. Hardware starts at $49 for a basic card reader.

Why we chose it: Toast is specifically designed for restaurants and bars. It features restaurant-grade hardware, easy menu management and a kitchen display system to help your restaurant or food truck run smoothly.

  • Contactless ordering and payments
  • Handheld devices for use off-site
  • Heavy-duty hardware for use in kitchens
  • Only works with Android devices
  • Multi-year contract required

Just as Lightspeed caters to retail businesses, Toast caters to restaurants, offering multiple plans that help owners integrate ordering and payments into one system.

There are two major drawbacks to Toast’s POS plans. For one, you can’t use iOS devices or outside hardware or card readers. Also, the company requires a multi-year service contract, which means it might not be ideal for a brand-new restaurant. But if you’re looking to upgrade your current POS with mobile options, it might be worth signing up with Toast.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Toast has updated its hardware to include contactless payments and digital ordering. You can also use Toast to communicate between front-of-house and back-of-house, or between your off-site location and the main kitchen.

The systems are all fairly easy to use and Toast has 24/7 customer support to help fix any bugs. When you sign up for your plan, Toast provides ample training materials and videos to help you get to know your system and train new team members.

Toast has a very simple flat-rate processing fee of 2.49% plus 15 cents for all transactions.

Plans range from $75 to $272 per month for software and hardware bundles.

Why we chose it: Loyverse is a mobile POS system designed to help small businesses build relationships with their customers. The free app can be used from any mobile device and comes with an integrated loyalty program that tracks payment history and gives rewards.

  • Automatic loyalty program included
  • Free app works on iOS and Android
  • Multiple hardware options available
  • No built-in payment processing
  • Integration requires monthly payments

Small businesses that are built on customer loyalty might want to consider Loyverse as a mobile POS system because of its integrated loyalty program that tracks every customer’s payment history and preferences.

When your customers opt into the Loyverse loyalty program, you’ll be able to see what they buy from you and when — providing helpful marketing information. You can even send messages to customers in the program to let them know about upcoming sales and events.

The Loyverse app is free, but you will have to buy a monthly plan if you want to integrate the loyalty program with your POS. There are multiple hardware options available, including mobile card readers and desktop systems. You can also buy standalone features such as employee management and advanced inventory for a basic monthly fee.

Unfortunately, Loyverse doesn’t come with built-in payment processing, so you will need a merchant services provider.

Because Loyverse doesn’t have built-in payment processing, transaction fees will vary depending on your merchant account. Plans start at $0 per month and can reach upwards of $100 depending on the hardware and features you choose.

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Other mobile POS systems we considered

Paypal Zettle

Zettle is Paypal’s mobile POS system and app. It’s designed to be easy to use and plans start at $0 per month. Although it has limited features, Zettle could be a decent POS system to get your retail business started.

  • Free app
  • Integrates e-commerce and social media
  • Limited features
  • No free hardware


TouchBistro is another POS system designed specifically for restaurants and food trucks. Plans start at $69 per month and come with basic hardware including a reader for credit card payments and kitchen screen.

  • Works with iOS and Android
  • Multiple restaurant add-ons available
  • No built-in payment processing
  • No free plans


Revel is a cloud-based business software program that offers mobile POS systems. It’s on the pricier end but includes a ton of special features like data reporting and sales summaries.

  • Great for restaurants or retail
  • Data features to help with marketing
  • Expensive plans (starting at $79/month)
  • No free hardware

Mobile POS Systems Guide

No two businesses are the same, so no POS system is perfect for every business. The best system for you comes down to your business size, budget and more. This quick guide will walk you through a few factors to consider before you purchase your mobile POS solution.

What is a mobile POS?

POS stands for point-of-sale. It’s the system that takes payments and processes information for every transaction made. In that sense, a mobile POS system helps your business run while you’re on the move. Your system might be integrated with your phone or tablet to take contactless payments, or include a small card reader so customers can pay with debit cards. It uses cloud software to integrate mobile payments with your business checking account.

A mobile POS is great for restaurants and food trucks, small retailers or any business that travels. These systems are generally affordable (sometimes even free) and help new business owners manage their sales without a huge upfront investment.

The pros of using a mobile POS system

Considering a mobile POS system for your new business? Here are a few benefits to keep in mind.

Easy to use

Mobile POS systems are quite simple to use. Most of them can be operated on mobile devices like smartphones and they offer intuitive layouts that make it easy to keep track of sales information.

Not only is a mobile POS easy for you as a business owner, but it’s also less work for the customer. These systems are set up for quick payments and can integrate online orders.


Being able to run your business from a phone or tablet is convenient for several reasons. With a mobile POS system, you don’t have to go through the hassle of cash-only payments or set up multiple systems to keep track of payment history and orders.

Plus, a mobile POS makes it easy to move your business around. Set up a booth at the farmers market or sell your merch at the local music festival — all you need is your phone.

Improved customer experience

There’s a reason you can find touchscreen POS systems in pretty much every store and restaurant today — people like them.

A mobile POS system makes it easier for customers to order food or make a purchase. They don’t need to worry about carrying cash and can add a tip through the same transaction. Contactless payments also reduce exposure to germs, which is why they’ve boomed in popularity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cons of using a mobile POS system

So, do you need a mobile POS system for your business? Not necessarily. You'll want to consider the downsides before you pull the trigger on a brand new POS system.

Security risks

Although mobile POS systems are becoming more secure as cloud technology evolves, there is still some risk. POS systems can be hacked through phishing attacks or malware. Not to mention, if you run your POS from your phone, there is always the risk that your device can be stolen.

You’ll want to make sure you have security systems in place to prevent hacks and protect your business’s data. But plenty of businesses today still use mobile POS systems despite these risks.

Costly maintenance

Even if your POS system is free, there are still maintenance costs to consider. Devices can break down and necessitate repairs. Your POS software will need regular updates, which might require hiring a tech expert.

Simply put, a POS system is always an investment. Be prepared to maintain and repair your system even if you don't have a monthly plan.

Fragility of devices

Running your business from a smartphone sounds great until you consider the practicalities. Mobile devices can easily break — especially in a busy restaurant or retail environment.

Tablet POS systems and other touchscreen devices should have protective cases on them at all times. You might also want to be prepared with a backup system in case the device your business relies on suddenly breaks.

What to keep in mind when choosing a mobile POS system

Even considering the limitations, a mobile POS system is still a great way to streamline your business and make things easier for your staff and customers.

There are tons of options out there, and every business has its own unique needs. You don't want to buy the first POS you see just because it works for another business. Before you start shopping, keep these factors in mind.

Your business size and type

The size and complexity of your business will affect the type of POS system you need.

For example, if you run a small retail shop with no other staff, you’ll probably be fine with a free app and card reader. Square POS systems are great for new businesses that are getting off the ground.

But if you’re opening a restaurant that takes online orders and has multiple team members, you might want to invest in a more complex POS. Restaurant POS systems can get a little pricier but offer integrated features like kitchen screens and cash registers to keep everything flowing smoothly.

The features you need

Along with your business size, consider the features you need from your POS system.

Most POS companies offer multiple types of hardware and software. Do you want a loyalty program to build relationships with your regulars? How about receipt printers for customers who want a physical copy instead of one sent by text? If you’re looking for a POS system with a lot of features, you should be ready to invest in a high-tier plan with a company like Toast or Lightspeed.

iOS and Android compatibility

Some POS systems only work with a certain device type. If you already own the devices with which you're going to integrate your POS system, make sure you choose a compatible solution.

Compatibility with both iOS and Android operating systems allows you to keep your POS if you change devices. It also means your team members can access your POS from their own phones.

Overall price

There are plenty of cheap POS systems out there. But cheaper isn’t necessarily better. Consider your budget and the value you’ll get from your POS system. If it’s going to bring in more business and keep your customers happy, it might be worth the investment.

Best Mobile POS Systems FAQ

How does a mobile POS system work?

That depends on the type of system you have. Generally, a mobile POS system takes customer payments and stores your business's important information.

In a restaurant, a POS system might send orders from servers to the kitchen. A retail POS system might integrate e-commerce payments with in-store payments.

How much does a mobile POS system cost?

The cost of POS systems varies based on their complexity. Most systems come with a basic monthly payment. If your POS system has built-in payment processing, the company will also take a small fee for each transaction.

Can a phone be used as a mobile POS system?

Yes! Most mobile POS systems are designed to run on a mobile device like a phone. You can even use your phone for contactless payments with some systems, eliminating the need for a card reader.

How We Chose the Best Mobile POS Systems

This article reviewed seven mobile POS systems that are popular with small businesses. No system is perfect, but each of these companies stood out for their positive reviews and features. Here are the factors we considered.


Cheaper isn’t always better — but a mobile POS system shouldn’t break the bank either. POS systems are designed to be affordable and we sought out companies that offer a fair value for the services provided.

Range of features

A wide range of features is important for a growing business. Optional add-ons and services ensure your mobile POS system can adapt to your business’s needs. We reviewed POS suppliers that offer a variety of hardware options and software features that can be integrated into their plans.

Tech support

Even for a tech-savvy business owner, customer support is a must-have. The best mobile POS systems come with 24/7 customer support to help when your software or device fails.

Payment processing options

One of the most important features of a mobile POS system is its user-friendliness. Multiple payment options (contactless, card readers, cash and e-commerce) ensure that you won’t lose a customer because they don’t have the right form of payment.

Summary of Best Mobile POS Systems