What to Know Before Getting Started
Depending on what type of business you run or where you do your shopping, you may have noticed a recent change at the checkout counter. At small businesses and large businesses alike, traditional credit card terminals are being dumped in favor of iPad-based point-of-sale (POS) systems. iPad POS systems are appealing to merchants because they require cheaper hardware, they can be integrated with other cloud-based services, and they allow for greater customization based on a merchant’s business type.
The growing iPad POS market has attracted the attention both of young start-ups and of major merchant account providers. Developers are devising a number of innovative point-of-sale iPad solutions, specifically for the service industry. For catering services, food trucks, or small restaurants, the ability to have multiple mobile terminals that are all tied into a central system is incredibly helpful. Even multinational businesses like Starbucks see potential in the technology.
If you are considering switching from traditional point-of-sale equipment to an iPad point-of-sale system, you should be sure to research which services are best for your business needs. Below is a list of the top five iPad POS providers that offer a wide variety of solutions for different industry types.
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Why We Chose These Merchant Account Providers
Founded in 2007, SalesVu is an Austin, Texas-based software provider that has partnered with Mercury Payment Systems and Century Payments to offer a full POS system for iPad and iPhone. SalesVu’s free POS app comes with a free card reader and allows for Quickbooks integration, end-of-shift reports, labor tracking, recurring billing, barcode scanning, automated discounts, tip adjusting, split checks, and invoicing. The company’s service also comes with a free, customizable e-commerce website and telephone support. SalesVu currently receives an “A+” from CardPaymentOptions.com, and although the company does not have a Better Business Bureau profile at this time, the BBB profile for Mercury Payment Systems is showing an “A+” rating.
For more information, see the SalesVu Website.
Shopify is an Ottawa, Ontario-based merchant account provider specializing in e-commerce solutions for small businesses. The company’s POS app for iPad can be added to a merchant’s service package for $49 per month and includes a card reader, digital receipts, support for custom payment options, partial or split payments, synchronization with a web store, customer profiles, sales analytics, and a large app store for further customization. Shopify offers service tiers for $14/month (Starter), $29/month (Basic), $79/month (Professional), $179/month (Unlimited), and custom pricing for merchants who process over one million dollars in a year. Our review of Shopify currently awards the company an “A” rating, and the BBB is showing a grade of “A+.”
For more information, see the Shopify Website.
ShopKeep is a POS system provider based in New York City. ShopKeep allows for inventory management, layout customization, labor tracking, customizable receipts, customer profiling, reporting, a mobile dashboard app for live sales tracking, and a barcode scanner. The service costs $49 per month per register, but it allows you to choose the credit card processor you would like to use or keep your current processor. This provider-agnostic flexibility is ideal for merchants who are looking to keep costs to a minimum. Our review of ShopKeep awards the company an “A” rating, while the BBB is also awarding the company an “A” rating at this time.
For more information, see the ShopKeep Website.
Vend began in 2010 as an New Zealand-based POS provider but has since expanded to the U.S., Australia, Canada, and the UK. The company’s POS software is compatible with iPad, Mac, and PC and is integrated with Element, Authorize.net, Tyro, Payment Express, and PayPal. Vend offers support for external hardware, customizable receipts, product and inventory management, customer profiling, sales reports, loyalty programs, and a number of add-ons for additional services. Vend provides service packages for monthly costs of $0/month (Extra Small), $35/month (Small), $59/month (Medium), $85/month (Large), and $169/month (Extra Large). Vend currently has an “A” rating on CardPaymentOptions.com, but the BBB does not have a profile for Vend at this time.
Secondary Merchant Account Options
Breadcrumb is an iPad point-of-sale service formerly offered by Groupon. Launched in 2013 as a replacement for Groupon Payments, Breadcrumb includes a free app and card reader, custom menus, live support, and integrated Groupon deals. The company’s free service is called Breadcrumb POS and advertises a swiped rate of 1.8% plus $0.15 per transaction, although we have seen some evidence that this rate is only for merchants who run “Daily Deals” with Groupon. For an additional monthly fee starting at $99 per month, merchants can sign up for Breadcrumb PRO, which is described as a “complete restaurant POS.” Breadcrumb PRO comes with many more features than the free Breadcrumb POS service, and Breadcrumb also sells various hardware packages depending on a merchant’s needs.
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