8 Top Mobile POS Systems and How to Select the Best Solution

Mobile point-of-sale systems have been a game-changer for small businesses and independent sellers. Cumbersome tableside systems may suit big retail stores and kiosks, but mobile POS is a top priority for 44% of companies today. And not just small operators.

While 79% of mPOS users are SMEs, 21% are large enterprises. From trade shows to food trucks and artisan markets, wherever there are customers, there should be mobile readers to take payments. 


  • Instead of being tethered to a countertop or back-office terminal, an mPOS system allows businesses to accept credit card payments on the go. They’re app powered, with compact hardware readers ready to move.
  • With built-in features like cloud storage, user-friendly interfaces, and loyalty programs, mobile POS solutions stack up strongly against their fixed hardware competitors.
  • The mPOS system has less initial setup hassle, but various costs must be weighed to get the right solution for the right price.
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What Is a Mobile POS System?

A mobile POS system is a software solution that allows business owners to accept credit card and debit card payments on the go. Instead of being tethered to a countertop or back-office terminal, an mPOS system can be used anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi connection or cellular data coverage.

When we say mobile, we mean movable. While EMV and magstripe cards are still in circulation, a smart-device-only NFC option is not viable. mPOS solutions are a POS hardware-software combo. They’re app powered, with compact hardware readers ready to be taken on the move to accept NFC contactless payments as well as EMV and magstripe cards.

With built-in features like cloud storage, user-friendly interfaces, and loyalty programs, mobile POS solutions stack up strongly against their fixed hardware competitors.

What Is the Difference Between POS and mPOS?

The difference between traditional POS and mPOS systems is the mobility factor.

A POS (point-of-sale) system is fixed in one place and requires a payment terminal connected to the cash register. This is typical for retail stores and restaurants, where customers line up in front of the cash drawer to make their transactions.

They require hardware installation on the premises, with lengthy setup processes involving integration into back offices and databases. They’re generally more expensive than mobile systems, with larger upfront costs that may include installation and servicing fees. Moreover, they tend to require training to familiarize staff with the touch screen and its features.

An mPOS, on the other hand, gives retailers flexibility. While it still involves a payment terminal, you can take it anywhere. It’s the perfect solution for businesses that need to accept payments in-person but outside of their physical store, like at events or tradeshows. Or for small businesses that operate on the road or regularly change locations.

The mPOS system is usually more cost-effective and has less of that initial setup hassle. They’re pre-configured (ready to go out of the box) and come with cloud storage options for transactions and customer data.

Imagine you run a busy restaurant where customers often line up outside the door. A mobile POS system would allow you to take payments on the go and reduce wait times. A combination of a traditional POS and mPOS solution would give you more payment options.

The same applies if you go to trade shows, art galleries, and market stalls. Where an in-store countertop POS cannot go, a mobile payment solution can.

What Are the Benefits of a Mobile Point-of-Sale System?

Mobility is typically reason-number-one for wanting a mobile point-of-sales system. It’s compact, lightweight, and doesn’t require power sources. A data connection, and you’re ready to go.

But that’s not all. mPOS systems also offer merchants the following:

  • Speed: Mobile card readers are quicker than traditional hardware. Customers can pay faster, and checkouts become more streamlined.
  • Flexibility: Sell anywhere, anytime. An mPOS system lets you be agile in your operation. If an opportunity arises to do a pop-up, attend a trade show or participate in a festival, you have the tools to transact with customers on the spot.
  • Reliability: An offline option that stores transactions in the event of an outage is helpful for businesses operating outside reliable networks.
  • Security: Whether chip-enabled or contactless (NFC), mPOS systems meet the highest security standards for card transactions.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Low upfront costs, minimal installation processes, and low maintenance needs are some of the advantages of an mPOS system.
  • Scalability: As your business grows, you’ll be able to scale up your mPOS system with the help of additional hardware and features.
  • Efficiency: With powerful analytics tools at hand, you can better understand your sales patterns and customer preferences.

Are There Disadvantages To Using a Mobile Point-of-Sale System?

While mPOS systems are generally thought of as a great way to improve customer service and speed up the payment process, they also come with a few drawbacks.

For one, the merchant fees (interchange rates) for mobile card readers tend to be more expensive than traditional swipe-and-dip machines. Additionally, it may be difficult to reconcile your transactions if you plan on using them offline (in areas without data coverage).

Another thing to consider is that mobile POS systems rely on software. They’re POS apps. They need updates, and it’s important to ensure you have installed the latest version.

8 of The Best Mobile POS Systems

When mobile is a must, great POS options are available to help fit your business needs. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best mobile POS systems for you to consider based on functionality, scalability, upsides and downsides. 


Lightspeed is a cloud-based iPad POS system with all the essential features to take payments and manage your business. It integrates with multiple payment processors (including Stax) and has powerful inventory management tools and robust data analytics capabilities, making it an excellent choice for small and medium businesses.

One downside is that it’s iOS-only. If you don’t have an iPad, this will be another expense required to use Lightspeed’s solution.

Costs for Lightspeed range between $69 and $249 per month, with payments taken annually.


Micros is a system designed for larger merchants, specifically in the restaurant hotel niche. It’s an Oracle solution that integrates with dozens of payment processors, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other mobile wallets. It also has built-in loyalty programs for customer retention.

For hotel restauranteurs, the system is praised for being highly customizable to cater to features like room service, event reservations, and check-in/checkout capabilities.

The downside of Micros is the pricing. It isn’t cheap. Costs start from $200 per month and increase based on your business needs. When you consider that it is for large hotel businesses, it compares more evenly with other solutions suited to those high transaction volumes.


Square is one of the most popular mPOS systems in use today. It is ideal for smaller merchants and offers a fast and easy setup process. Square’s hardware works with iOS iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, and you can get started with your phone or tablet. No additional mobile devices are needed.

The basic plan includes everything you need to accept payments, track inventory, and manage customers. It also has plenty of add-on features like online ordering, invoicing, and appointment scheduling.

The downside to Square is that its fees can be pretty high compared to other mPOS systems. While the basic plan is free to use, you’ll pay a processing fee for each transaction. Costs start at 2.6% + 10¢. The plans then can go up to $79 per month as your business needs increase.


Clover is a comprehensive mPOS system for small to medium businesses. It has all the features you need to take payments and manage your business, including robust inventory tracking and customer loyalty solutions. What’s more, it includes a receipt printer, which is not offered as standard by other providers.

Clover also works with most major credit card processors, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility. You don’t have to change providers. It’s easy to set up and manage and comes with 24/7 support.

The downside to Clover is the costs. You need the Clover hardware to go with the Clover POS software. If you buy your hardware from Clover, the basic plan is free, but the processing fees are on the high end, matching Square’s.


Aloha is a cloud-based mPOS system designed for restaurants, bars, and other hospitality businesses. It offers a range of features like mobile ordering, kitchen solutions, online reservations, loyalty programs, management tools, reporting and analytics, and more. On the backend, staff can change prices in real-time to quickly reflect the availability of menu items to avoid unfillable orders.

It also integrates with multiple payment processors, so you don’t have to switch payment processing providers to use it.

The downside to Aloha is that it’s a very complex system and may require some training for employees to get up to speed. The setup can also be quite time-consuming as you need to input all your menu items and set up payment processing. Costs are also higher, with plans starting from $79 per month.


Toast is specifically designed for restaurants. It includes features like menu management, online ordering, table management, and more. It offers printers, QR code capabilities, an extensive loyalty program, and barcode scanners. It also integrates with multiple payment processors.

What stands out with Toast is its scalability. It starts with a pay-as-you-go plan and grows into an all-in-one cloud-based solution, including mobile, traditional POS, and eCommerce online stores.

The downside is that the hardware costs can be high, as you need to purchase POS terminals or other devices from Toast. The plans are also expensive, starting from $79 per month and increasing as your needs grow. There may also be additional setup costs as you need to customize the system for your restaurant.

PayPal Here

PayPal Here is a mobile point-of-sale solution from PayPal. It’s designed for smaller merchants and includes inventory management, invoicing, and customer tracking. You can also accept debit and credit card payments and PayPal payments.

What stands out with PayPal Here is that it’s free to sign up, and there are no monthly fees. You only pay a processing fee when you make a sale, which starts at 2.7% + 10¢ per transaction.

The downside is that the features are limited compared to other solutions, and there’s no loyalty program. You also need to apply for a merchant account if you want to accept credit cards which will be subject to additional fees.

Shopify Lite

Shopify Lite is an mPOS solution from Shopify. It’s designed for small businesses looking for a basic POS system without all the bells and whistles of a fully featured mPOS system. It’s ideal for eCommerce business owners who occasionally do pop-ups or make other in-person sales.

Shopify Lite includes some basic features, like credit card payment processing, inventory tracking, customer data management, and sales reporting. It’s also easy to set up and use, with no setup fees or monthly fees.

The downside is that the features are limited compared to more fully featured mPOS systems. It also doesn’t have a loyalty program.

How to Select the Right Mobile POS System

There are a lot of different mobile POS systems to choose from, so it’s important to determine your needs first. Consider cost, complexity, customer service, and scalability before making your decision. Look at industry-specific solutions but also weigh whether the cost of those extras is worth it against your needs.

Research thoroughly to understand the fees associated with each system and ask questions about any additional costs or hidden fees that may be applicable. Get demos or free trials to get a better feel for the system before committing, and make sure you understand how it works before signing up.

The right mobile POS system isn’t necessarily the one with the most features. It’s the one that best fits your business needs. Take the time to compare and contrast the different solutions and their features to pick the right one.

For affordable payment processing with a flat-rate subscription, no lock-in contracts or hidden fees, contact Stax Payments today. Compatible with most mPOS hardware, we help you save on processing fees to get the most from your mobile solution.