Solution Finder: Online Point-of-Sale Systems

Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

Two people exchange a credit card while using point-of-sale systems

Virtually every business needs a system to collect payment and track sales. New point-of-sale (POS) systems are robust tools and have a wide range of features that make them all the more worthwhile.

POS systems are often digital (using an app and internet-enabled device) and allow you, your associates, or your customers to input a payment method from anywhere in the world.

However, many owners also opt for hardware POS features, such as a bar code scanner, a cash register to tally up transaction totals, a credit card reader, and a receipt printer.

In this article, we focus on the digital piece of the POS system you may need to process payments. You’ll find three standout solutions that may suit your business in the chart below.

Be sure to click the logos of each product for a brief explainer video on its functionalities.

 

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Square

2.6% + $0.10
  • Full service for online and brick-and-mortar businesses
  • Wide range of terminal options available
  • Card-present rate: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Card-not-present rate: 3.5% + $0.15
  • Purchased through your Square Online Store, Square Online Checkout, eCommerce API or invoice 2.9% + $0.30
  • Volume discounts available
  • Additional services include banking, payroll, customer loyalty, and invoicing
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Helcim

Avg. 1.92% + $0.08
  • Best value
  • $109 card reader works with your PC or mobile device
  • No monthly fee
  • Card-present range: (0.48% + $0.32) to (3.13% + $0.20) with weighted average of 1.92% + $0.08
  • Card-not-present range: (0.65% + $0.50) to (3.44% + $0.37) with a weighted average of 2.38% + $0.25
  • Volume discounts available
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Shopify

2.4% + $0.00
  • Best for internet-based businesses
  • Wide range of terminal options available
  • Card-present rate: 2.4% + $0.00
  • Card-not-present rate: 2.9% +$.030
  • Volume discounts available
  • Industry-leading eCommerce platform
  • Use it to sell through Walmart, social media, eBay, and Amazon

 

Let's explore each of these point-of-sale systems.

 

Square

With Square, you can accept payments from your customers quickly, easily, and securely, and importantly, you can do so from anywhere in the world.

Like the other solutions we mention, Square allows you to send digital invoices, offer your customers a checkout link by text or email, and track precisely when you get paid. With it, you can accept a variety of payment methods, including credit cards, gift cards, and ACH transfer.

One feature that's great for new business owners is the option to set up a free, no-code, SEO-optimized online store right through Square. With it, you can offer QR code ordering and pickup, delivery, and shipping options. You can even set it up so you can sell directly through social media.

If you already have an online store, you can integrate Square in minutes. Square has prebuilt connections with WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, Wix, and others that make the process easy and painless.

Square partners with Afterpay, too, which is a buy-now-pay-later service you can offer your customers if it makes sense for your business.

One more thing we want to mention: Square offers options that suit businesses of various sizes across multiple industries. Square for Restaurants and Square for Retail are two of these options, but other solutions are expertly designed to support businesses that focus on professional services, home services, beauty and personal care, and healthcare and fitness.

Square charges 2.6% of every transaction plus an additional 10¢ per dip, tap, or swipe. And, if you need a physical card reader for in-person sales, you can obtain one for as little as $49. However, many owners select the Square Stand model (currently priced at around $169) that requires an iPad to be purchased separately.

You can learn more by visiting Square’s site.

 

Helcim

This point-of-sale system makes it easy to collect contactless credit or debit payments from your customers. Like Square, Helcim offers both online and in-person payment options that make sales a snap.

Here, we want to focus mainly on Helcim's online capabilities.

With Helcim, you can create an online store or integrate the POS into your current site relatively easily. Once your tool is set up, you can enable online ordering, accept donations and registrations, process payments, and even allow your customers to enroll in subscriptions or recurring payments.

Let's focus on the registration piece for a moment. Here, your customers can create and manage an account with your business, which allows them to view and update their billing and shipping information, pay outstanding orders, and modify the subscriptions they've enrolled in.

The best part of Helcim may be its transparent pricing model. The service promises no monthly fees, contracts, or hidden charges, though there are processing fees. For the average online order, these are 2.38% of the sale plus $0.25. In-person, they average 1.92% plus $0.08.

If you need a physical payment processing unit, you can attain one for about $200, plus there are additional fees for unit mounts.

You can learn more about Helcim by visiting their site.

 

Shopify Point of Sale

With Shopify's point-of-sale system, it's easy to accept and process payments. Many owners choose this solution because it easily integrates with Shopify storefronts and offers inventory forecasts and performance.

Shopify's system allows for some customization in terms of staff permissions and checkout processes so owners can include loyalty programs, information collection, and the construction of customer profiles.

The system, as a whole, is heavy on features. It includes customer profiles (with the options to categorize each one), outstanding product and inventory management tools, options for custom sales and discounts, and custom-printed receipts.

What we really like is its reporting features. You can run daily sales, cash flows, product, discount, inventory, and a bevy of other reports to gain insight into your business's performance.

Some of the features we mention here are part of Shopify's advanced plan, which starts at around $300/month. However, lots of businesses get started with the basic plan, starting at around $30/month, and move up to their mid-tier plan (available for around $80/month) as sales volumes increase.

Visit Shopify’s website to learn more about their solutions, start a free trial, and connect with their sales team.

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Consider point-of-sale systems that will integrate with your preferred CRM solution. Robust systems will allow you to track what your customers buy and when. This is important because it will help you personalize the service, support, and communications you have with every customer.

 

Interested in other small business solutions? Let us help you find the right systems. Then, log into your owner’s portal for more articles and advice tailored to your business’s needs.

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