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iPad POS System Reviews

buyers guide
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  • Lightspeed Restaurant POS

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    Lightspeed Restuarant is a cloud-based iPad POS system built solely for the foodservice industry and, like many of its rivals, can be a one-stop-shop for your POS needs if that's what you're looking for.

  • Revel POS Systems

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    If you own a small business, Revel is certainly scalable for virtually any size. However, although Revel is a good POS system, using Revel Systems is a long-term commitment.

  • Lightspeed Retail POS

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    Lightspeed is one of the most robust and easy-to-use solutions in today's POS market. If you're looking for a retail system that will likely have every option you could dream up in a POS in both the front and back end, and pricing isn't a major consideration, Lightspeed Retail should be fairly high on your list.

  • Square For Retail

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    Square for Retail runs on an iPad with an interface optimized for searching and scanning. But do the back-end features also work for businesses with large inventories? See how Square’s retail-specialized POS system stacks up in terms of features, pricing, reporting, and more.

  • Lightspeed (Formerly Vend)

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    Vend isn't quite as robust as a handful of other retail systems out there. Still, for mid-sized businesses, which may not necessarily need to utilize extremely in-depth reports and inventory analysis, it would seem to be a perfect solution. If you don't need too many add-ons, Vend's cost will likely make it an appealing option to any retailer researching POS systems.

  • Toast POS

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    Whether your restaurant is focusing more on in-person dining or takeout options, Toast POS comes with a fantastic array of built-in features to serve customers. Toast also acts as the client’s payment processor. Toast is different from many of its iOS-based competitors in the POS world because it runs on Android operating systems, making the tablets it runs on cheaper and more versatile.

  • Square For Restaurants POS

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    Need an affordable POS system specifically for restaurants? Square for Restaurants delivers everything small eateries need to succeed at the right price.

  • Lavu POS

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    Lavu POS promises to deliver features for all kinds of restaurants, from cafes to pizzerias and even food trucks. Plus, the UI is simple but customizable. But is that enough to earn your business? Read on to find out!

  • Square POS

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    Can you really run your restaurant or shop on Square’s free Point of Sale app? Check out our in-depth review for a look at features, available integrations, user reviews, and more!

  • SwipeSimple

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    Pros Low cost Included free from Payment Depot Incredibly easy to use Good customer service Offline mode Free card reader Cons Lack of integrations Limited backend Overview SwipeSimple (offered by Payment Depot) is one of the more unique POS products I’ve come across. For one, you can’t simply buy the product outright; you can only get […]

Why Use An iPad POS? 

Odds are if you’re reading this, you’re considering upgrading to an iPad point of sale (POS). iPad POS systems are becoming more and more popular among small businesses, and for good reason:

  • Easy Deployment: To get started, you only have to purchase an iPad and a credit card reader, and download an app. Adding a second or third terminal is even easier because all your business data is already in the cloud.
  • Easy To Use: Because touchscreens and iOS are so common, your employees’ learning curve will be minimal. Chances are they already know how to navigate an iPad.
  • Integrations With Ancillary Software: Most of these iPad-based POS systems integrate with other software that works to support business marketing and operations—including accounting software, booking software, shopping cart software, shipping software, inventory software, and payroll. Older systems usually don’t have these types of integrations.
  • Lower Maintenance: Since iPad point of sale systems are based in the cloud, all of the updates happen there, too. You don’t have to worry about updating your onsite servers if you don’t use onsite servers.
  • Accessibility: Look over sales reports or inventory from anywhere there’s internet access. Everything is on the web so you don’t have to be at work to have the information.
  • Increased Mobility: Your employees can be wherever your customers are. Use your iPad POS at a food truck park or an auto repair shop, a hair salon or a trade show. You’re not tied down to the checkout counter. Anywhere can be the checkout counter.
  • Low Upfront Costs: For a single-user situation, the costs involve an iPad and an app. iPad POS software is typically billed monthly, so you don’t have to pay a large sum upfront. Obviously, those costs increase if you use additional hardware or have more than one register, but even the most complete iPad register hardware setup will still cost less than a traditional Windows-based POS.

Why An iPad POS Is Especially Great For Restaurants 

When the server arrives at the table of your favorite restaurant, she’s carrying an iPad instead of a pen and pad. As the members of your party place their orders, she navigates the touchscreen and sends the order directly to the kitchen from right there at your table. You notice the efficiency of the process and resume conversation with your colleagues.

When it comes time to settle the tab, you hand the server your credit card. Instead of walking away or saying that she’ll be “right back with your receipt,” she completes the entire transaction on the iPad and asks you to sign the touchscreen. Then she offers to email the receipt to you. This modern restaurant ordering system saves paper, time, and energy. (If you’ve ever waited tables, you know the value of saving steps whenever you can.)

Scenarios like these have led to the increased popularity of iPad POS among all kinds of restaurants. iPad POS software is also useful for quick-service restaurants such as coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and food trucks, as these systems allow for quick electronic transactions and feature onscreen tipping prompts. The customer simply brings their phone/Apple Watch close to the screen or swipes/dips/taps their credit card, touches a button with a tip amount or percentage, and that’s it!

On the backend, iPad POS software also helps restaurants do things like manage raw ingredients, track server shifts and tips, edit your menu, and set up email marketing campaigns. All in all, an iPad POS system simplifies many restaurant management tasks.

Features To Look For When Choosing An iPad POS

Thanks to the power and versatility of an iPad, an iPad POS system can do as much or as little as you want it to. If you more or less just want to take orders and payments, you can find a system that does just that. But if you need more advanced features such as advanced inventory management, eCommerce, and accounting software integration, you can find systems that perform those tasks also.

Generally, most quality iPad POS systems will have the following features/attributes:

  • Cloud-Based: A cloud-based infrastructure allows for versatility, scalability, secure offsite data storage, remote business management, and regular, automatic updates. Almost all iPad-based systems also have an offline mode that allows you to maintain business operations even if your internet goes down.
  • Strong Reporting: A strong POS reporting suite is useful not just for accounting purposes but also to make important decisions such as which items to restock, what items are and aren’t selling, and when to schedule staff.
  • 24/7 Support: If (and when) something goes wrong with your point of sale, you need to be able to reach someone immediately to get the problem resolved ASAP. Ideally, the POS provider should offer phone and/or live chat support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Integrated Payments: Most iPad POS providers offer in-house payment processing, and some offer the option to integrate with an outside merchant account or payment gateway. Whichever entity provides payment processing services for your POS, you should have access to competitive rates and terms. The processor should support chip cards (EMV) and ideally also support contactless payments (NFC) such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and contactless credit cards.
  • Security Features: In addition to complying industry standards such as PCI DSS compliance and EMV, your iPad POS system should provide built-in security features such as employee PINs and the ability to set different permissions for different employee levels.

Depending on your needs, you may also want advanced POS features such as online ordering, gift cards, a loyalty program, purchase order management, a kitchen display system, appointment functionality, or others. Advanced features such as these may be available through the purchase of add-ons, or they may be included in higher-tier monthly software plans. Some functionalities can also be integrated into your POS via integrations with third-party software.

How Much Does An iPad POS System Cost?

Hardware costs vary depending on how many terminals you want and the hardware your business requires. Usually, you can purchase a basic setup including the iPad, iPad enclosure, credit card terminal, cash register, and receipt printer for less than $1,500. Depending on your industry, you may also require other peripherals such as a kitchen printer, barcode scanner, or customer-facing display.

Monthly software fees for iPad POS vary from vendor to vendor according to the features they offer. There are free iPad POS systems that include just payment processing and a few basic features, but in most cases, you can expect to pay at least $60 to $70/month for one terminal. For an iPad POS system with more advanced functionalities, such as eCommerce or a customizable loyalty program, you may pay upwards of $100/month.

You can find out more about iPad POS expenses by reading How Much Does A POS System Cost? Everything You Need To Know About Software & Hardware Prices.

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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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