Find out the pros and cons of POS systems, what your options are, and how to choose the best system for your business.
Whether you’re just starting your business or you’re looking to upgrade your aging equipment, you need a way to accept credit card payments.
So how do you decide what’s best for your business?
We at Progressive Payment Solutions want you to make the best choices possible for everything payment-related. Let us show you what you need to know when it comes to choosing a point of sale system.
Four essential steps to decide on a POS system for your business
1. Define what your specific business will actually need
Sure, you like the feature-rich point of sale system at your favorite coffee shop.
It’s so clean!
It makes cool sounds!
And it just looks so pretty.
But in all truthfulness, it’s incredibly expensive and your business probably won’t benefit from it. Let us briefly explain why.
There’s a difference between a simple desktop terminal and a point of sale (POS) system:
- A desktop terminal is a device that lets you accept credit card payments
- A POS system is a feature-rich central point where your business does much more than just accept credit card payments (more on that below)
And it’s this difference that can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in fees and expenses, so listen up:
Are you just going to be accepting credit card payments? Then get a desktop terminal and a cash register (don’t worry, they make pretty desktop terminals too!).
Why? Because a point of sale system has costly features designed for a business that needs to have a central point where everything takes place. It’s like the difference between a bathtub and a hot tub: a bathtub is a simple, affordable way to warm up and relax, whereas hot tubs have way more features, but cost far more money and take a lot more upkeep.
So ask yourself: ‘Do I actually plan on using a central system where I’…
- Track all of our inventory
- Have a timeclock where employees punch in and punch out
- Create and manage employee schedules
- Track and manage customer contact information for rewards, points, or coupons
If you didn’t say yes, then you likely won’t benefit from a POS system. Instead, you should have a desktop terminal and cash register.
We’re also going to let you in on a secret we’ve learned about the payment industry:
Most companies that sell POS systems are purely looking to make money off you.
- They often sell a business a piece of equipment they don’t need for many thousands of dollars
- They make them pay a subscription fee each month
- They lock them into a processing contract that can easily cost thousands of dollars per month because they can’t use a third-party processor that will provide a better pricing structure.
- If a business wants to break their (expensive) contract with them, they’re charged for that too
This is why we at PPS don’t deal with POS systems: We’re all about helping your business thrive, not ripping you off. And most POS companies engender dishonest, greedy business practices that we don’t want to be a part of.
2. Make sure the POS system has an open API (to save hundreds to thousands of dollars per month)
If you truly need a number of the features listed above, then it’s time to start shopping for POS systems. But one important point to keep in mind: make sure the terminal has an open API.
In other words, make sure it isn’t locked to just one processor.
Why is this so important?
Different processors charge different amounts for enabling you to accept credit card payments. They charge different rates, they can charge extra fees, and they may use a different pricing structure that’s more expensive for you.
So after you buy an expensive POS system, you may be shocked to realize you’re being charged thousands of dollars extra each month to accept credit cards compared to other less expensive payment processors (like us).
And if you don’t have an open API on your POS system, you have no other choice but to pay these high costs. So always make sure your point of sale system is not locked to one payment processing company–or else your business will pay for it.
3. Decide what integrations you’ll need (The specific features for your business)
Since you chose a more expensive POS system instead of a cheaper desktop terminal, your business must have needed extra features and integrations. So: what are they?
One common integration a business with a POS system needs is to sync with their accounting software. This enables a single system to manage everything having to do with cash flow to make accounting much easier.
Another integration is with email marketing systems. This keeps track of customer information to see how your customers are interacting with your business. This allows you to make important marketing decisions when it comes to discounts, rewards, promotions, or sales.
It’s best to first decide what your actual needs are before being enticed into a system that has features you don’t need–because again, you’re paying for everything you get.
4. Choose good customer service and support (and avoid leases and contracts)
Remember: it’s not just about the POS hardware on your counter–it’s also about the company behind the equipment.
For example, what happens if you have a system failure or a problem accepting payments? How quick will the company help you resolve it so that you can keep accepting payments?
So how can you tell how good their customer support is?
- Call their customer support hotline ahead of time
- See how quickly you get a person on the phone
- Find out how knowledgeable and helpful they are by simply talking with them and asking questions
A ten minute phone call can save you hours (or even days) of frustration that may cost you tens of thousands of dollars in sales because of unresolved payment issues.
Along with good customer support, you need to make sure you’re not getting into a contract or a lease with an unsavory company. Both contracts and leases will cost you more than buying the system outright, and these companies know that–which is why they want to lock you into a contract or a lease for more money.
So simply avoid contracts or leases. Remember because an honest, affordable company won’t need to lock you in.
Our recommendation: You’ll likely get everything you need from a feature-rich desktop terminal (and save a lot of money)
We’ll cut to the chase:
Unless you are a very large operation, don’t get a POS system. You won’t use a quarter of the features that you WILL pay for.
Instead, almost every small to medium-sized business benefits the most from a quality desktop terminal that is bought outright (not leased) and is not locked to any payment processor.
Having this equipment will easily save an average business thousands of dollars each year.
Speaking of saving your business thousands each month: why are you still paying your customer’s credit card processing fees? By using Cash Discounting (aka Zero-Fee Processing), thousands of businesses like yours across the country are saving tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars each year by eliminating 100% of their processing fees.
If you’re ready to start saving your business four, five, or even six figures each year on processing fees, then schedule a free call today. We’ll answer any questions you have and even show you how much your business will save.