Home > Articles > Charges for POS Machines: Our Comprehensive Guide

Charges for POS Machines: Our Comprehensive Guide

November 30, 2023
Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

POS machines are vital tools for businesses to manage operations effectively. Understanding the different elements involved in the system’s charges is crucial when considering an appropriate provider.

Charges for POS Machines: Our Comprehensive Guide

Key Takeaways

  • POS system costs typically fall into software, hardware, and processing costs.
  • The cost of a one-register Shopify POS system varies from around $30 to $230 per month.
  • There are some tips for reducing charges when using a POS machine, such as opting for bundle services, using an integrated payment system, utilizing a free trial, and choosing a POS with mobility and a wide range of features

How much does a POS machine cost?

POS system expenses are generally categorized into three main aspects: software costs, hardware costs, transaction costs and card credit processing costs.

A POS system typically costs from $0 to around $200 for one register, whether for an individual or a small business. However, the cost varies widely depending on your business’s particular needs. The more enormous a company, the more advanced features they require. Thus, for a more prominent firm, it would cost more than $1000 to own the innovative technology of a POS terminal.

Several factors can influence the charges associated with POS machines. Those components can be:

  • Type of Business: Every business has unique requirements. For instance, pharmacy retail stores will need more upgraded software to keep data secure than grocery stores.
  • The volume of sales: Businesses with higher transaction volumes may require more robust and scalable POS systems, which can involve higher processing costs.
  • Scalability: Businesses anticipating growth and expansion should consider the scalability of the POS system. Upgrading or adding additional terminals, software licenses, or integrations may involve additional costs.

It is worth noting that many POS systems now offer mobile handheld devices with built-in card readers and barcode scanners or run on mobile devices. These mobile POS solutions can provide a more cost-effective option for businesses. For example, Vend by Lightspeed, a POS provider, costs $69 monthly for the base plan, which is ultimately higher than the average cost for starters compared to Shopify ($29), Square ($0), etc.

POS Software Costs

POS software is the core of any POS system due to its robust built-in functionalities for running a business. Those include inventory management, sales monitoring, customer tracking, business reporting, and integration with e-commerce platforms. 

POS Software Costs

There are two primary pricing models for POS software: 

  • Subscription-based software entails monthly or annual recurring fees, granting access to software updates and customer support. 
  • One-time purchase software requires an upfront payment but may involve additional costs for updates and support.

POS software often costs $0-$300 per month or more. The price adjustment depends on several factors, such as the type of software, licensing models, and additional features offered, from primary, limited functionality to feature-rich enterprise-grade systems.

Take a quick look at the price of five selected POS software products, which offer monthly subscriptions and add-on costs.

POS System
Monthly Fee
Shopify$39 to $399 (monthly billing)
$29 to $299 (annual billing)
$0-$89/ POS location
Lightspeed$89 to $269 (paid monthly)
$69 to $199 (paid annually)
$29/additional register
Square $0 to $60 $60/additional register
Toast$0 to $165$75/mo for Digital Ordering$50/mo for Gift Cards$50/mo for Loyalty
$75/mo for Email Marketing
Clover$14.95 to $94.85 (pay in-full with hardware included)
$60 to $185 (without hardware)

Always compare the standard set of features with any prospective plan upgrades and add-on expenses needed to meet the specific demands of your business when considering an appropriate POS provider.

Exclusive Offer: Get Shopify 93 days for just $3 + The Online Store Starter Kit

Start a 3-day free trial, then get Shopify 3 months for $1/month plus the premium package designed especially for new Shopify merchants!

Start Free Trial

POS Hardware Costs

POS hardware encompasses the physical components required to operate a POS system, from mobile card readers to store registers. These components include terminals, cash registers, barcode scanners, receipt printers, cash drawers, and other peripherals. 

POS hardware costs often range from $0 to nearly $2000. The price depends on factors such as the type of equipment, its quality, and the brand. 

POS Hardware Costs

Here are some typical hardware options and prices for the five POS selections: 

POS SystemMobile CostRegister Cost
Shopify POS$49/card reader, $399/Shopify POS Go mobile terminal ($429 with case)$99–$185 for iPad stand (not including iPad)
Square$0–$49/ card reader$149 for Square standard (not including iPad)
and $799 for Square Register
Paypal Zettle $49/first reader
$79/additional reader
$199/handheld terminal
Starts at $269 for a full store kit
Clover$599/mobile terminalFrom $17999 for counter registers
Toast $627/handheld Kit$875/Countertop Kit
$1009/ Guest Self-Service Kit

POS Credit card processing fees

These fees are charges imposed by payment processors or merchant service providers for processing credit card transactions through a POS system. 

The main components of card processing costs are interchange fees and assessment fees. 

  • Interchange fees are established by card networks such as Visa and Mastercard and vary based on factors such as the type of card used, the transaction type, and the merchant category. 
  • Assessment fees are charged by the card networks and are typically a percentage of the transaction value.
POS Credit card processing fees

POS fees for credit card processing often range from 1.5% to 3.5%, plus a flat fee per transaction. These fees can vary depending on several factors, including the payment processor, card type (debit or credit), type of transaction (in-person or online), and the merchant’s chosen pricing structure. 

POS SystemCard payment processing fee
Shopify POS2.4 – 2.7%
Square2.5% + $0.10 to 3.5% + $0.15
Clover2.3% + $0.10 to 3.5% + $0.10
Lightspeed2.6% + $0.10 to 3.5% + $0.10
Toast2.49% + $0.15 to 3.89% + $0.15

It’s crucial for merchants to carefully review and compare the fee structures offered by different payment processors to find the most cost-effective solution for their business. Each pricing model has advantages and is suitable for different transaction volumes and business types.

Other POS fees

Besides software, hardware, and card processing costs, there may be additional charges associated with POS systems when scaling the business up.

Transaction Fee

An additional charge would be incurred when using a POS system’s integrated payment processing solution. Shopify POS, and Square are well-known for requiring customers to use their in-house payment processing systems with free transaction fees. While others support third-party processors, which means customers have to pay higher per-transaction fees. For instance, Shopify POS merchants using the third-party payment processor would cost customers an extra transaction fee of $0,5 to $2.  

Location and Registration Fee

Some POS providers may charge additional fees for multiple registers in one location. This means you must pay more if you need several logins for more staff. For example, Lightspeed charges $59 for an added terminal per month, and Clover costs $49/month per additional register.

Apart from the add-on register fee, some POS software levies fees for each location the company has due to the additional requirements to operate another store. For instance, Shopify POS Pro charges $79 for each location (billed annually), and Square’s customers pay $60 per location on paid plans.

Additional apps and features

POS systems often offer additional apps and features to enhance functionality and customize the system according to specific business needs. Features like advanced inventory management, robust sales reports, or qualified customer programs are not usually accessible. 

To illustrate, Lightspeed provides an excellent loyalty program for advanced plans. A full menu of Square’s features can cost an extra hundred dollars per month. 

5 Tips to reduce charges for pos machines

Opt for Bundled Services

One effective way to reduce charges for POS machines is to opt for bundled services. Many POS providers offer comprehensive packages that include the necessary hardware and software for optimally running a business. For example, popular platforms like Shopify POS provide integrated solutions combining the physical POS device and the software required for seamless transactions. By choosing a bundled service, you can potentially save on upfront costs and avoid additional charges for separate software subscriptions.

Choose a POS that Runs on Mobile Devices or Offers Handheld Devices

Mobile POS solutions are becoming increasingly popular due to their flexibility and affordability. With a mobile POS, you can transform your smartphone or tablet into a fully functional payment terminal, eliminating the need for expensive traditional POS hardware. Additionally, handheld devices provided by certain POS vendors can offer the same functionality at a lower cost, making them a viable alternative.

Use an Integrated Payment Processor

When considering a POS system, choosing one that integrates with a reliable payment processor is crucial. Integrated payment processors streamline the payment process by eliminating the need for a separate third-party service. For instance, with Shopify POS, merchants can leverage Shopify Payments, which provides free transaction fees for eligible businesses. Utilizing an integrated payment processor can reduce the charges associated with external payment gateways and enjoy more competitive rates.

Take Advantage of Free Trials

Free trials allow you to test different POS systems’ features, functionality, and compatibility without committing to a long-term contract or upfront payment. During the trial period, assess the system’s user-friendliness, payment processing speed, inventory management capabilities, and any additional services offered. You can choose a cost-effective POS solution that meets your business requirements by thoroughly evaluating the options.

Choose a POS with a Wide Range of Features and Scalability

When selecting a POS system, consider opting for one with a wide range of features and scalability. Investing in a comprehensive POS solution that aligns with your business needs can significantly reduce the expenses of managing multiple systems or adding third-party integrations. Additionally, scalability is essential for accommodating business growth without incurring additional charges for upgrading or migrating to a different POS system.

Charges for pos machine: FAQs

Yes, getting a POS machine for free is possible, but it typically depends on certain conditions and agreements with the payment service provider or POS vendor. Some providers may offer promotional deals or incentives that include a free POS machine as part of their package. However, it’s important to note that these offers often come with specific requirements or limitations.
No, it depends on factors your business needs and requires, such as its nature, size, budget, scalability, integration, and support. However, investing in a full register POS system can bring numerous benefits to your business. It streamlines transaction management, enhances inventory control, improves the customer experience, and provides valuable data for decision-making. To sum up, consider all the above-mentioned factors carefully to find a well-suited business method.
When finding the cheapest POS (Point of Sale) system, there are several factors to consider, such as the upfront cost, ongoing fees, and additional expenses. While specific prices may vary depending on the provider and the features included, here are a few options known for their affordability:
  • Shopify POS: Shopify offers an affordable POS solution with different pricing plans to cater to businesses of all sizes. Their basic plan starts at a reasonable monthly fee and includes essential features for selling in-store or on the go. Shopify also provides hardware options that can be purchased separately.
  • Square: Square offers a free POS app that you can download on your smartphone or tablet. They charge transaction fees for card payments, but no monthly fees or long-term contracts exist. At competitive prices, Square also provides optional hardware, such as card readers and cash drawers.

Bottom line

The article has provided a basic understanding of a POS machine’s pricing and some recommendations for users to optimize their budget to find an appropriate provider for their business. Due to the list of POS pricing structures, Shopify POS turned out to be a popular option for most business types.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.