Evaluation Criteria for Point of Sale Systems

The independent authority on credit card processors, topcreditcardprocessors.com, is a research firm dedicated to identifying and ranking the best credit card processors in the United States. Through an in-depth vendor analysis, client evaluation, and the use of our proprietary evaluation criteria, we have put together a list of the top point of sale systems. Our analysis delves into a vendor’s business practices and compares them against industry standards to ensure that the service is quality. Often times we connect directly to the clients of a vendor and ask about their overall experience.

There are five key areas which we have identified as significant for point of sale systems:

POS systems that cause headaches for the merchant won't be widely accepted. Instead, a POS system should have features that make it easier to monitor, inventory, and process credit card transactions. The software that goes with the POS system becomes just as important as the hardware when true functionality is desired. The best POS systems are systems that make it possible for any cashier to quickly learn how to use it.

A POS system that doesn't have significant options for customization may not work for every individual merchant. POS systems have to be able to accommodate a wide range of situations and inventory needs. Merchants that can customize the menus, control inventory in specific ways, and brand their products are essential elements of a POS system. Consoles that have a wide degree of customization are easier for merchants to use and provide customers with a seamless checkout experience.

The pricing structure for different models helps small businesses to choose a POS system that matches the needs and budget of the business. This enables a business to find an effective POS system that falls within a specific price range. Small business may need fewer options than larger companies, and shouldn't have to pay for all the unneeded features if they simply want a basic POS system. By providing several options with differing features, the POS system manufacturer shows they care about what the merchant needs.

While the POS hardware can't be easily upgraded, the software should allow for updates without charging the merchant substantially. A strong set of features and the ability to easily upgrade the software helps extend the life of the POS system. Systems that provide the most features and upgrade possibilities at reasonable rates score high in the marks on evaluation criteria. Features should work seamlessly without glitches and stalls when processing transactions. Otherwise, the extra features end up becoming cumbersome instead of useful to the merchant.

If the Point of Sale system manufacturer simply sells a product and then offers no customer support, the manufacturer won't score high in an evaluation. Manufacturers need to stand behind the products they sell and make sure that telephone, on-site, and even email communication is possible to troubleshoot problematic systems and features. Since POS systems can be complicated to set up, it's important to provide merchants with a wide range of support options.

General Questions:

  • How did you find your current payment processor?
  • What other payment processors, if any, have you used?
  • How many transactions do you process per month?
  • What would be three things you would change about your experience?
  • Rate your overall experience (1-10; 10 being the highest).

Specific Questions:

  • Which point of sale system did you go through?
  • Which payment processor is processing your payments?
  • Why did you select this particular PoS provider?
  • Which features do you most commonly use?
  • What were your prerequisites when looking at PoS systems? Was the provider able to provide a machine to meet all of your needs?
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