Last Updated on April 19, 2023 by Ryleigh Stangness
Ever thought of turning your iPad or tablet into a POS sytem?
Whether you knew it or not, anyone with an iPad or other tablet holds the power to wield a fully functioning POS system. In this article we discuss how, and whether an iPad POS system is right for your business.
IPad POS systems: A more affordable option?
Using your tablet as a POS is one of the most economical ways to implement modern POS systems into your checkout experience. POS software can be expensive on its own, but when business owners need to shell out for POS hardware - look out!
POS hardware is the most costly upfront cost in the credit card processing industry, so if you already have a tablet, you're well on your way to accepting credit cards with low to no upfront cost!
All you need to do is download the necessary iPad POS software or POS application, and you can start taking payments from your iPad!
What are my POS device options?
When it comes to accepting payments, you need a way to accept payments, whether in-person or online, and a way to connect those payments to your POS software so that you can reconcile your transactions, provide receipts, and more.
To do this, you will need hardware and software solutions. In some cases, hardware may come with software built in. In other cases, you can use your own devices, such as an Ipad POS or a mobile device, to create a basic POS solution.
Some types of POS devices include:
- A Smart Terminal that acts as an all-in-one solution
- A smartphone can be used as a mobile pos system, like an iPad, to connect through an app.
- A laptop or desktop computer
- A credit card reader or Tap reader
- Other solutions involve a customer-facing screen and built-in payment processing capabilities.
When rounding out your POS setup, you might want to add on other hardware accessories like an iPad stand, receipt printers, barcode scanners, cash drawers, or software solutions that let you manage multiple locations, track inventory, conduct online sales or food ordering, eCommerce, invoicing, and more.
These POS system options have pros and cons, primarily related to whether you need a mobile pos system, a traditional POS system, and whether you will accept payments in person or through an online POS system.
Read our article on setting up your ideal custom POS system if you want more information on in-person POS equipment. If you are still fuzzy on POS systems and POS software, read "What is a POS system" to learn more about how it works.
Choosing an iPad POS system
Step 1: Finding the right POS software
The first thing you need to be aware of when looking for POS software for your iPad is the keywords "cloud-based." This means that you can use your POS with your tablet, as it will operate using the internet and communicate with your card reader via the cloud. Some payment processing providers will offer free POS software and even additional tools which we will discuss next.
Step 2: Choosing a payment processor
Next you want to look at functionality. Your iPad POS should be able to help you with inventory management, give your customers the option to have their receipt emailed to them, and of course, accept credit card payments. This is helpful for small business owners who need to streamline all these aspects of payment processing such as retail, omni channel and e commerce, food trucks, and more.
Step 3: Watch out for hidden fees
If you've found a payment processor that offers the above, next, you'll want to compare fees. Many processors charge for their POS software, while others include it free in your account, so this will impact your decision making. Watch out for other hidden fees such as PCI compliance, monthly fees, equipment leasing. and more.
Step 4: Transaction costs and pricing
Additionally, every processor is going to have their own pricing model for processing transaction fees, and it's important you understand the different pricing models so you know you're getting the best deal every time you process a customer transaction.
Reasons to move to a professional, cloud-based POS
The cloud based POS has nearly rendered the cash register obsolete and is challenging the old by increasing functionality and efficiency. Many people are surprised to learn that a tablet POS can do many of the things a traditional POS setup can, as long as you're using the right tools and applications. Here are some ways an iPad POS system could benefit your business:
Lower transaction errors
Tablet Point-of-Sale Systems can benefit your business by cutting unnecessary costs and saving on lost funds. Human error can be one of the most expensive and unpredictable blunders that can happen at check-out. Inputting transaction data manually into a cash register often leads to higher transaction errors. With a tablet POS, built-in features such as total checking, product SKU barcode scanners, and automatic electronic accounting services reduce the number of mistakes that occur from manual input.
Let your customers order from the menu via tablet
One of the best ipad POS system benefits is the flexibility it offers for both ordering and taking payments on-the-go. Whether you are a looking for a restaurant POS software or you want to meet your customers where they are (think of Apple stores which have already nixed the checkout line) an iPad gives you the mobile pos system your business needs such as online food ordering.
Easier and less costly inventory counting
Accounting for your finances is hard enough, but manually accounting for your inventory on a regular basis can cost you a fortune. Using only a cash register means staffing more of your team for an inventory count and equipping 3rd party tools to record your stock numbers. A tablet POS system, on the other hand, can track your inventory numbers as they go out of the store. Having inventory management features built into your POS system can translate into fewer and cheaper stocktaking days.
Create purchase orders
As the tablet POS system tracks the count of items in your store inventory, it can automatically alert you when stock levels for an item reach a critically low level so you can create and send a purchase order directly from your POS. Imagine doing that with a cash register— didn't think so.
iPad POS setup
- Download your cloud-based POS app
- Connect your iPad/tablet to your card reader via Bluetooth (if you have one)
- Start accepting payments. It's that simple!
If you're looking to integrate a professional Point-of-Sale at your place of business but worried about upfront costs or if you even need one at all. Using a tablet you already own and a cloud-based POS software that comes with your merchant account is a great place to start. Even if you don't own a tablet, buying one can still be an economical way to take payments, plus you can use it for other stuff too! (e.g. I don't think you can use Netflix on a Clover POS.)
Overall, an iPad POS system adds efficiency to your business as well, allowing you to track purchases, inventory, and accept payments automatically, rather than having to manually input purchase amounts and do the math on inventory yourself. If you're looking to get started with a POS system for your tablet that's cloud-based, Helcim offers a great one for free! Give our Merchant Experience team a call today to find out more.
Is an iPad POS system secure for accepting payments?
Yes, using an iPad POS system is secure for accepting payments. Most iPad POS systems use encryption and other security measures to protect sensitive payment information.
This will be done through a physical card reader or a secure payment processing tool like a virtual terminal. However, it's important to choose a reputable payment processor and to follow best practices for secure payment processing, such as using a strong password and avoiding public Wi-Fi networks when accepting payments.
Can I use my existing iPad or tablet as a POS system?
You can use your existing iPad or tablet as a POS system. You only need a compatible POS app and a card reader to connect to your device. Some payment processors even have free tools for accepting online when you sign up for their service, making it easy and affordable to get started with a tablet-based POS system.
What are the benefits of using an iPad POS system over a traditional POS system?
There are several benefits to using an iPad POS system over a traditional POS system. First and foremost, iPad POS systems are often more affordable since you can use your existing tablet without investing in expensive hardware.
Additionally, iPad POS systems are often more flexible and easier to use since they can be customized with various apps and features. Finally, iPad POS systems can offer advanced functionality, such as inventory management, purchase orders, and customer data tracking, that may not be available with a traditional POS system.