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Types of POS Systems


POS is an acronym for “point of sale,” meaning that the system/terminal is intended to process payments for goods and services, primarily debit/credit card transactions. Whether you’re an avid or casual shopper, there’s a good chance that you have seen a POS terminal, and if you weren’t familiar with every nuance of the device, you, at a minimum, recognized it as a payment system. In this article, we will explore the different variations of POS systems as well as how to choose the right system for your business.

It’s important to note that there are three different types of POS terminals, but they all facilitate the same end-goal; processing payments. These terminals include:

  • Retail POS systems
  • Countertop POS
  • Mobile POS reader


So, now that we have identified the types of POS systems that are available, how do you choose the right one for your business? Well, first and foremost, you should know that each system is designed to meet specific business needs. For example, the functionality of the retail POS system is optimal for restaurants and entertainment venues.


What differentiates retail POS systems from other iterations of the same the device? Firstly, the retail POS system is much larger in scale. It is also comprised of specialized software that can be connected to a gateway; a main entry point to the Internet.

The retail POS system is also capable of tracking inventory, making it a must-have for any large-scale business. This is why these types of systems also make for great restaurant POS systems. Lastly, it is a modular system; additional applications can be downloaded to boost the overall functionality of the device.


But what if you own a small business and don’t need something with the breadth and scope of a retail POS system? In this case, merchants may want to go with the countertop POS system. These are commonly associated with brick and mortar locations and are connected to the Internet via LAN line or dial-up connection.

Yes, dial-up is still around and many merchants still commonly use it. The countertop POS system is the one most recognized by consumers. This is largely because these devices are commonly found at places where people frequent on a weekly basis: convenience stores, supermarkets, and most small retailers.


Let’s face it, operating a business today requires flexibility, and this is what mobile POS readers can offer today’s on-the-go merchants. For example, these devices would be ideal for someone who operates a food truck; obviously, selling food doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to open a restaurant. Therefore, larger retail POS systems will not fit your business needs. Mobile POS readers, on the other hand, can be attached to your iPhone or Android device, meaning you will always have it with you.

How do they work? First, you will have to download the user and administrative interface. Once the software is loaded, you simply connect the hardware, which is connected to the input on your phone. It’s really just that easy, and now you’re ready to operate your business from literally anywhere.

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