Written by Zara Chechi Reviewed by Ruairi Shirlow Updated on 2 October 2023 On this page What is a POS system, terminal, or machine? 1. Square 2. Vend 3. Lightspeed 4. Shopify POS 5. TouchBistro What are the main factors to consider when choosing a POS system? What's the cheapest POS system for Australian businesses? Our methodology Next steps Best POS Systems Australia FAQs Expand Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral. Australia's inflation rate has been easing since its historical high in 2022 (4.9% as of July 2023), which means it's a pretty good time to start a business or ramp up an existing one. In either case, one critical piece of kit you'll need to invest in is a Point of Sale system that fits your specific setup.According to our independent research, Square is the best POS system to use thanks to its highly affordable pricing plans, intuitive hardware, and insightful reporting. But it's not the only option out there, and it may not be the perfect fit for every business. What are the best POS systems? These are the providers we recommend based on our research. Use our cost comparison tool to find the best service for your business1. Square: Best overall2. Vend: Best for scalability3. Lightspeed: Best for bars4. Shopify POS: Best for retail5. TouchBistro: Best for restaurantsPOS systems are much more than a traditional till; they can act as a hub of your business's operations, helping you control stock levels, sync your on and offline sales, set table plans in hospitality environments, generate sales analysis reports, and much more.Choosing one that is tailored to your specific needs is important (you don't want to overspend!), but it does require a bit of research before you commit. The quickest way to do that is using our free quote-comparison tool, which will help you compare prices and offers from top providers in Australia.Or, read on to find out how the providers compare based on our extensive POS testing and research process. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Square Vend Lightspeed Shopify POS TouchBistro 4.8 4.4 4.3 4.1 4.0 Price From $0/month Price From $79/month Price From $79/month Price From $7/month Price From $69/month Best For Overall Best For Scalability Best For Bars Best For Retailers with an online store Best For Restaurants Pros Free POS appSuited to small businesses Pros Intuitive and easy to useAffordable Pros In-built CRM systemExtensive report templatesAdvanced inventory management Pros Integrates with Shopify ecommerce platformNo contract24/7 customer support Pros Designed for hospitalityIntegrated CRM systemAdd-on features Cons Not as comprehensive as other POS systems Cons Shopify integration does not always work well Cons Costly Cons Heavy focus on ecommerce Cons Difficult to get out of contract All prices in Australian dollars and correct as of September 2023 What is a POS system, terminal, or machine?A point of sale (POS) system is the software and hardware that allows businesses to manage their transactions, take payments, control stock, and report on sales.A POS machine — also known as an EFTPOS machine — is the physical device, or hardware used to scan barcodes, enter prices, accept and process customer card transactions and payments, whereas a POS terminal often refers to all the components that make up the entire point of sale system.A POS terminal will often include a POS machine, cash register, bar code scanner, receipt printer, card reader, and all of the software designed to help streamline the entire sales process. A good POS terminal will take payments, issue refunds, manage orders, staff, generate reports, and allow businesses to oversee different aspects of their business, as well as control their inventory. Save money on your POS system by comparing quotes today Get Free Quotes 1. Square – Best POS system overall Square 4.8 Quick overview Square scored a 4.8/5 in our research - largely aided by perfect results in all but two of the seven areas we looked into - and that makes it one of the best POS systems in our research. Square offers a free POS system and includes features such as a website builder, checkout tools, and sales reports.Its Square for Retail variation, like the name implies, is suited to businesses who want more advanced and the best retail POS features. This service offers vendor sales reports, an inventory counting tool, and smart stock forecasts - and is best if you're a retail business that is scaling or looking to scale. If you're not looking to pay a monthly fee for a POS system, you can start out with the free POS app, and then as your business needs change, you can switch to the Plus version.Like Lightspeed, it has a version specifically tailored to the hospitality industry (Square for Restaurants), which does have relevant features for this field, such as timecard reports, integrated payments, and eGift Cards.The transaction fees are fixed at 2.2% for online/manual transactions - and therefore cheaper than retail-focused competitors like Shopify POS (which has transaction fees starting at 2.4%). They're even cheaper for in-person transactions, varying slightly depending on the piece of hardware you use. In those cases, the providers charges 1.9% if you use Square Reader or Square Stand and 1.6% if you use Square Terminal or Square Register.Square scored a 5/5 in all areas of research except in business development and till, where it scored a 4/5. Square does not come with traditional POS hardware and is run on a tablet device. That said, this is not necessarily a drawback, as you can choose to run the app on a tablet you already own and purchase necessary hardware such as the Square card reader ($65) or the Square Terminal, which prints receipts ($329). Its reader allows for great scalability, which makes it one of the best EFTPOS machines we've analysed in our research.You can also opt for the Square Register, which offers one screen for you and one for your customers. Whilst this is a little pricey ($1,099 or $92/month for 12 months), this is a one-off fee and once you have the hardware, your software will be free unless you choose the Plus version. The monthly payment plan means you don't need to make a huge monetary investment if you want to purchase the register.The software works very well and processes payments quickly, offering various ways to take payments. This gives both your staff and customers an easy experience and according to users, the interface is easy to use and adapt to. Read more + Read less - Why we like Square POSWe really liked how Square incorporated convenient features for a smoother checkout experience. In 2023, it incorporated the Afterpay system to the majority of its point of sale solutions, allowing customers to pay in instalments.For business owners, Square offers a mobile POS, which means business owners can save money and avoid buying POS hardware to take payments. Currently, it's only available to Android users, but with Apple having released this functionality in Australia in May, and Square already offering a mobile POS for iOS users in the US, we believe this will be offered to Australian iOS users in the near future.Square POS pricingFree: 0$/monthPlus: $109/month (Retail) or $129/month (Restaurants)Premium: custom Pros Free POS app Easy to use Suitable for small businesses Cons Not as comprehensive as other POS systems What does mobile POS mean? A mobile POS is a system that allows you to take payments and report on your sales directly through your smartphone. In essence, it transforms your smartphone into an EFTPOS machine, with customers being able to pay you by tapping it. This way, you don't have to shell out for a card reader and can start selling straight away. You can compare quotes for POS systems with mobile capabilities through our cost comparison tool – it's super quick to use and also free! 2. Vend – Best for POS system for scalability Vend 4.4 Quick overview Vend scored a 4.4 in our research, scoring highly in the usability and help and support departments. The software is easy to use as is the setting up process. Vend works on iPads, Macs, and PCs, so even if you're already using a POS system but want to switch to Vend, the software will most likely be compatible.Vend is cloud-based so you can access reports, inventory and other features from your phone, tablet or laptop even if you aren't physically present. If you travel often or want the security that you can keep an eye on your business even whilst you're away, cloud-based POS systems such as Vend are a good option. It comes in three set-priced tiers - Lean, Standard and Advanced, with costs starting $79, $129 and $199 per month on an annual plan, respectively. These prices will get Vend set up in one location, with the charge being applied again for each location in which you'd like to implement it. For instance, to have Vend's Standard tier on two locations, it'll cost you $258 per month. It's worth noting that all tiers include one register per location, with each additional one costing an extra $39 per month. It also has a tier designed for high-volume businesses, named Enterprise, which has bespoke pricing.Vend integrates with various third-party apps such as Xero, Mailchimp, and Shopify. Although some users have found that the Shopify integration is often broken and does not work as seamlessly as it should. On the other hand, its 24/7 global support was highly praised by the platform’s clientele.Its inventory solutions are vast: you can automate orders, monitor what is and isn't selling and manage stock across multiple locations. These extensive inventory tools make Vend a good option for retailers or restaurants that have more than one location.We recommend Vend for businesses that are looking to scale as Vend offers add-on features such as advanced reporting and ecommerce, more suited to larger businesses. A scalable POS system helps to prevent overspending as you can opt for the more expensive tiers once your business has grown. Read more + Read less - Why we like Vend POSThe point of sale solutions Vend offers lend themselves well to expanding businesses, especially when it comes to back office activities. It introduced a time clock function to its POS software in July 2023, giving greater visibility to employee shifts, easing payroll processing. This feature becomes more valuable as your staff grows, as it can reduce the chance of payroll errors.Vend POS pricingLean: From $79/monthStandard: From $129/monthAdvanced: From $199/monthEnterprise: custom Pros Intuitive interface Easy to use Cons Shopify integration doesn't always work well ▶ Read more: Best POS systems for retail businesses 3. Lightspeed – Best POS system for bars Lightspeed 4.3 Quick overview Lightspeed offers solutions for retail and hospitality businesses, with specific features for each, and it scored 4.3/5 in our research. Lightspeed Retail has in-depth inventory management tools, such as being able to track items across multiple locations and setting up notifications to re-order an item when it's low in stock. These advanced tools make it suitable for larger businesses or those with multiple locations. It also has an integrated CRM (customer relationship management) system so you can foster better relationships with your customers. You can store customer details, and build their profiles for tailored marketing and loyalty programs. However, Vend’s CRM system is more organised and streamlined and puts it ahead of Lightspeed. Furthermore, Vend’s pricing structure is identical to Lightspeed Retail’s, so you're likely to be better served by the former if you’re a retailer.Lightspeed really shines in its Hospitality incarnation. It allows for guest and table management, edits on product availability, which enhance customer experience, and integration with popular delivery platforms such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Its restock reminders and live recipe margin calculator make it one of the best takeaway POS systems in the market. Plus, its offline mode keeps the show running even if during internet hiccups - a trait it shares with hospitality-focused service, TouchBistro. Multi-location reports can also be run so you can easily keep an eye on all your locations. Lightspeed Hospitality comes in three paid tiers - Starter, Essential and Premium, which cost $79, $179 and $359 per month, respectively.Neither version of Lightspeed come with hardware on its own, but you can run it on your iOS, Android, Windows or mixed setup, which puts it in an advantage against Shopify POS, which requires you to buy their hardware.It allows for Ethernet and Bluetooth printing options, works with standard cash drawers and integrates with accounting platforms Myob, Quickbooks and Xero. Also, because it's so comprehensive, we recommend it for businesses that have multiple locations, so you can easily manage all your locations from one system. Read more + Read less - Why we like Lightspeed POSLightspeed has invested heavily to improve its point of sale software, and the new features are particularly helpful for bar owners. Since August 2023, users can access five new reports within the Insights tab through its POS terminals. Of the five reports, Individual Performance, Sales by Hour of Day, Dusty Inventory, and Recently Out of Stock are the four powerful tools you can use to plan a restock, pinpoint items that aren't selling well, and identify the most dedicated members of staff.Lightspeed POS pricingLightspeed Retail POS planStarting priceLightspeed Hospitality POS planStarting priceLean$79/monthStarter$79/monthStandard$129/monthEssential$179/monthAdvanced$199/monthPremium$359/monthEnterprisecustom Pros Software is free to install Very easy to setup and use Provides detailed analytics reports Cons 2.75% charge for non-card transactions No live chat support Save money by comparing POS system quotes Do you already own a POS system? Yes No Answer the question below to get started... 4. Shopify POS – Best POS system for shops Shopify 4.1 Quick overview Shopify is best known for its ecommerce platform designed to run online shops but it also offers a POS system so you can easily integrate the two to create a seamless way to track and manage your inventory and orders. Overall it scored a 4.1/5 in our research, with stock management and usability scoring a 5/5.Even if you're a pop-up store, you can still benefit from using a POS system to organise and manage all the moving parts of a retail business. Your mobile device can be turned into a POS system at your fingertips by downloading the Shopify POS app onto an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. The system is customisable so you can personalise it to suit the way you want to use it for your business. For example, you can keep your most popular discounts or products on the front page to make it easier to access.Shopify POS is best suited to those who want to take their business online or who already have an online store with Shopify, especially because its Lite plan already comes with three of four Shopify's paid plans - namely Basic ($45/month), Shopify ($123/month) and Advanced ($464/month). Shopify POS' top tier, named Pro, costs $138/month per location on top of your chosen Shopify plan.With that in mind, if you're just interested in the POS system, this system is not worth it as there are much better and more affordable systems such as Square or Vend. Read more + Read less - Why we like Shopify POSWe were impressed by Shopify's features related to stock control and order fulfilment, which are a must-have for shop owners. In August 2023, it introduced two noteworthy features — one allows you to mark stock as unavailable, so you can designate items as Safety Stock, Quality Control, Damaged, or Other. This offers you extra protection against overselling and helps you ensure a high customer satisfaction level. The others allows you to print shipping labels straight from your smartphone using the Shopify app.Shopify POS pricingStarter: From $7/monthRetail: From $129/monthBasic: From $56/monthShopify: From $149/monthAdvanced: $575/monthShopify POS Pro subscription: $89/month, per location Pros Powerful platform ideal for retail stores Affordable hardware options Cons Works best when selling through your own Shopify store, not other ecommerce platforms 5. TouchBistro – Best POS system for foodservice TouchBistro 4.0 Quick overview Designed with the hospitality industry in mind, TouchBistro has relevant features to suit this industry and is one of the best equipped to serve it in Australia. This restaurant POS system - which scored 4/5 in our research - comes with a CRM (customer relationship management) system so you can store customer data accurately. A CRM system means you can connect to your customers better through targeted marketing and tailored loyalty programs.Like Lightspeed Hospitality, TouchBistro has an offline mode, and provides you with the ability to offer mobile and pay-at-table solutions, so customers can have a more convenient, and efficient way to pay.TouchBistro doesn’t offer a free trial, making it more difficult to make an informed decision. Once you've signed up, it can be difficult to get out of the contract as you'll need to send TouchBistro 30 day's written notice before the end of your contract. Failure to do this means your contract is automatically renewed. Other providers such as Square don't require you to sign a long-term contract, so you have more flexibility.The system starts at $106/month and is customisable through add-on features, so you can build a complete restaurant management system which tackles your needs. For example, you can add online ordering from $77/month, and marketing tools from $152/month. Whilst this means you don't need to pay for features you don't need or want, it does mean that all these add-ons that you do need can make your monthly fee very costly. Considering this, Lightspeed Hospitality might be a better alternative as it offers similar hospitality-focused features without the add-on fees. That said, TouchBistro does offers a wide variety of online tools to troubleshoot any issues, plus 24/7 phone support, which is a considerable plus. Read more + Read less - Why we like TouchBistro POSWe found that TouchBistro's focus on the foodservice industry shines through with its menu management features. In June 2023, it allowed users to set up promotional pricing directly onto menus through its app. In August 2023, it introduced filtering by menu groups in its menu editing function, which is particularly useful if you need to quickly update your menu without going through all of the items you offer.TouchBistro POS pricingPOS software: starts at $69/monthPOS hardware: it runs exclusively on iPads, so this cost is directly linked to the number of iPads you'll need for your business. Pros Designed for hospitality Add-on features, such as marketing Integrated CRM system Cons Can be difficult to get out of contract Not the most cost-effective Save by comparing POS system quotes Do you already own a POS system? Yes No Answer the question below to get started... What are the main factors to consider when choosing a POS system?When choosing a POS system, it's important to look for features that serve your particular industry and business. To help you out, we've compiled some of the features to bear in mind.Inventory managementCrucial for stock level upkeep. If you run a hospitality business, it's worth noting that the best restaurant POS systems allow you to mark stock as perishable, so can pay extra attention to it.Shipping & deliveryA very important step in the order fulfilment process. For restaurateurs, it's worth looking into integrations with delivery platforms. For shop owners, a provider must offer practical ways to print shipping labels, like the best retail POS systems do.Online salesThis feature allows you to expand your business online. Some POS systems, like Square, even let you to create your own website from scratch on its platform.Mobile salesSell your products via social media. Shopify POS, for instance, provides this function.Marketing capabilitiesThese can expand your clientele through loyalty schemes and automated email campaigns. TouchBistro is a POS system that offers this.Payment options availableChoose a POS system that accepts the preferred payment methods of your customers.Ease of use and supportConsider point of sale solutions that are intuitive and that come with wide support.CostsMake sure both upfront and ongoing costs involved in your POS system fit your budget.ScalabilityAnalyze your business plan and pick a POS system that can serve you in the long run as you grow. What's the cheapest POS system for Australian businesses?The cheapest POS system for Australian business is Square because it offers users a free plan and mobile POS, allowing you to sell without having to buy an EFTPOS machine. Even if you decide to invest in Square's POS hardware, its initial $65 price won't break the bank. Its transaction fees, which start at 1.6%, are lower than some of its competitors, helping you save money over time (for example, Lightspeed's transaction fees start at 2.6% + 10c). Our methodologyWith a solid overall score of 4.8/5 in our research, Square tops the list out of providers for the best POS system, offering users an affordable, easy to use system that is packed with a range of features. Our research team looked into several areas, including till, business management, stock management, usability, and price.We recommend Square for small businesses or start-ups because it is affordable and has all of the core features needed to manage a business. Vend takes our second spot, scoring and overall 4.4/5. We recommend Vend for businesses that are looking to scale because it offers add-on features so you can comfortably expand your business. Next stepsWe’ve shown you the best overall POS systems in Australia, and you should now have a better idea of which one is right for your business. To recap, Square is the best POS system overall, thanks to its intuitive interface, broad range of features and exceptionally low cost.In comparison to other providers, we found Square to be the best value for money. It offers advanced reporting and analytics, team and inventory management capability, smooth refunds and returns, CRM integration, and flexible payment options, which we found to be the most applicable to different industries.Every business is different though, so we'd always encourage you to do your own, independent research. You could even use our free comparison tool to compare POS system costs, and find the best POS system to suit your individual businesses' needs. Best POS Systems Australia FAQ What's a POS System? A point of sale (POS) system combines software and hardware that is designed to help you complete card and cash transactions. These solutions store your sales data on a singular platform, which can help boost staff efficiency and your sales figures. What should a good POS System do? The best systems can do more than just help you take payments. They come with extra features that help you run your business efficiently, including features like sales performance reporting, tableside ordering, stock level alerts, and customer relationship management (CRM) email builders. How do I choose a POS System? Firstly, you need to find a POS system that suits your budget and comes with strong customer support to keep your business ticking along. You should also look for industry-specific features that would benefit your business. For example, small retailers might want customer email marketing tools to help encourage repeat purchases, while restaurateurs might want to use an iPad POS system to help with tableside ordering. Which is the cheapest POS System? Square is the cheapest POS system, offering free software and has transaction fees that start at a low 1.6%. If you own an Android smartphone and use its mobile POS functionality, you can take payments directly via your phone. Alternatively, it will cost you $65 for an EFTPOS machine, and $329 for a card terminal, but Square still offers great value for money. Do all POS Systems have a monthly fee? No, not all POS Systems have monthly fees, but some do. Square POS is an example of a provider that waives monthly fees but has transaction fees. If you need the provider's hardware for your business, there is a once-off cost for each piece of equipment you buy. Written by: Zara Chechi Business Services Expert Zara is a Payments Expert, specialising in writing about Point of Sale systems. With a Law Degree from City University of London, she has used her legally-honed research and analytical skills to develop expertise in the Business Services world. Featured in FinTech Magazine, she quickly became an expert in payroll, POS systems, and merchant accounts. Reviewed by: Ruairi Shirlow Business Services Researcher Ruairi uses his 3+ years of research experience to uncover insights which can help Expert Market provide the best business solutions for their users. He has done this by meeting with business owners to find out what is important to them and what challenges they face on a daily basis. Ruairi specialises in tools that can be used to grow your business and has done research for a wide range of categories on Expert Market, such as EPOS, Website Builders, and Merchant Accounts.