Choosing the right point-of-sale (POS) machine for your business can be quite a difficult task. There are many different choices on the market, and deciding what’s best for your business can get a little overwhelming.

With so many options available, it is essential to carefully consider hardware and software features that will benefit your business now and future proof your point-of-sale experience.

The key to buying the perfect machine is knowing what you need from it, so we’ve put together these six POS essentials to consider:

1. Ease of use and richness of features

There are a variety of portable point-of-sale (POS) systems on the market today. Some include a touchscreen, high portability, digital menus, base stations, swipe card options, and more.

The best POS system will come with all the tools you need to grow your business, such as customisable insights and app integrations. Some POS machines designed for the hospitality sector even come with scales, kitchen displays, or handheld devices.

Our most advanced POS systems have a sleek and compact design and are ready to use straight out of the box. Features include a wireless connection via 4G, 3G, 2G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Soon, you will be able to use dual cameras that enable payments by face recognition, QR codes, and the ability to add value-added applications such as loyalty. They have smart ways to pay, including Apple, Samsung and Google Pay, touch screen displays and an in-built Thermal Printer option to help print on the go.

Ease of setup and customisation is at the forefront of functionality for a POS device. Alongside ease of setup, payment speed is essential – the quicker your customers make a payment, the better their experience in your venue. Hence having a POS terminal integrated with our ePOS system is paramount for both speed and security. Tools like personalised QR codes for POS machines can also make checkouts speedier, and most payment solutions are working on making these available soon.

2. Adaptability and affordability

As you are determining how you will use the POS machine, look for payment solution providers that can support your growing business with flexible contracts, no setup fees and affordable rates.

Additionally, whether your business takes card payments in person, online or over the phone, using an Omni-Channel Solution will give you in-depth data with reporting, key performance indicators (KPIs), and the more common sales reports. Our Enterprise Merchant Portal will ensure real-time access to all your online, mobile and point of sale payment transactions without any added fees.

3. Security and cross-device compatibility

Security is paramount to consider next. Fraudulent transactions can cost your business millions in lost revenue. Oversight is critical here – you need a solution to keep track of all money in one place and check transactions in real-time. Your POS system and POS machine should also be compliant with the data security standards established by the PCI Security Standards Council. Look for something that encrypts payment data and can accept EMV cards.

An accessible and easy-to-use point-of-sale software helps ensure that your sales are organised efficiently and that your customers don’t have to navigate complicated menus to complete their transactions — something that can be quite the task these days.

Look for something that can keep your orders and receipts well organised, showing you all the necessary information for your businesses to be efficient.

4. Dedicated Support

24/7 support is ideal, which is why at Trust Payments, we offer customer assistance at any time of the day for any technical issues with their POS machine. We advise companies to look for POS systems that also offer online training content for their POS machine – well-trained staff make all the difference.

5. Cloud-based vs on-site

POS systems have two main options for storing data: cloud-based and onsite.

An onsite system is the traditional POS environment. It’s a combination of hardware and software present on onsite devices such as computers, registers and barcode scanners. Onsite systems are managed via local servers and require ongoing IT management.

A cloud-based system is far more beneficial for modern businesses – bars, cafes and restaurants – due to its crucial mobile aspect: it stores your data in the cloud, which can be accessed anywhere via any device. Data secured on the cloud is encrypted, and the system service provider’s responsibility is to invest in security far beyond the means of an onsite system.

6. Semi-integrated POS

Semi-integrated cloud solutions are gaining a lot of popularity as they are efficient and secure. Payment terminals are connected with POS software but maintain separation between payment information transmission and other systems. The cardholder’s data bypasses the POS terminal and is directly transmitted from the card reader to the processor or gateway. A lot of times, this is done with encryption and tokenisation for added layers of security.

What’s coming next

The physical and digital boundaries of POS machines are continuously tested. We’ve noticed a significant increase in mobile and tablet POS payments during the pandemic, as in the UK, 46% of people are more willing to pay digitally since the first lockdown.

Leveraging technology is crucial for the evolution of POS systems and POS machines. We predict businesses will be integrating Artificial Intelligence more into their systems for specific purposes such as reminders to fulfill an order or replenish stock, notifying them about evolving customer behaviour, alerts for new customer trends, or promotions suggestions.

Complementing AI with intelligent use of real-time customer data, the future of POS systems involves instant access to rich consumer data and robust analytics for hospitality businesses. This way, they will easily make data-based business decisions such as quickly identifying peak hours or items and services that are selling better than others.