7 best retail POS systems for shops in 2023

Having an efficient and discreet Point of Sale (POS) system is key for good customer experience. See what our researchers picked out as the top choices for retail.

Our Research

When judging the best POS systems, our writers work with expert researchers to focus on key features that matter most to small businesses. These include value for money – setup, hardware and transaction fees – help and support, plus the till, stock, and business management tools available.
Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young
Robyn Summers-Emler Grow Online Editor

Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

Based on our expert research, the best retail POS system for small businesses is Square. It offers a feature-filled, fully scalable POS product with zero monthly charges – which is why Square is our Best Free POS System choice, too.

POS is a big software market to understand – which can be frustrating if you're just looking for an easy, cost-effective way to accept payments.

Luckily, we're here to simplify things. We recently carried out a month-long research campaign – in collaboration with an independent analyst – to find the seven best retail POS brands on the market:

Best Retail POS Systems at a glance

  1. Square: Best overall retail POS system for new businesses
  2. Clover: A fantastic choice for small stores
  3. Vend: Excellent for businesses with multiple sites
  4. Zettle: A great choice for market stands and pop-ups
  5. Talech: A brilliant POS for clothing retailers
  6. GoodTill: Owned by SumUp, this is a strong POS system for retail service
  7. Epos Now: A solid option for larger retail businesses

Click any of the links above to begin comparing costs on POS Systems for your own business's size and needs.

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Goodtill (by Sumup)

Epos Now

Pricing from

£39 per month – retail essentials plan

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£0 monthly cost

£16+VAT – Square Reader

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Plans start from £4.10 per month

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£69 per month

Pricing from

No monthly fee

£29 – card reader

£189 – store kit

Pricing from

£29.99 per month

Pricing from

£29 per month (excl. VAT)

Pricing from

£25 per month

  • Over 250 integrations with other software
  • Unlimited 24/7 support
  • Access real-time inventory updates
  • Powerful customer management software
  • Real time in-depth reports
  • Pay team members with team management
  • Sales data reporting
  • Loyalty programme management
  • Built-in fraud protection and multi-layered security
  • Ecommerce integration with platforms like Shopify
  • Inventory management
  • Flexible payments – including gift cards and mobile payments
  • Accept payments from all major debit cards and mobile wallets
  • Take contactless payments in under 5 seconds
  • Accept cash payments with no daily limit
  • Put items on hold with partial deposits
  • Track and manage employee hours
  • Scan barcodes when products arrive to add instantly to inventory
  • Real-time updates keep you in-the-know
  • Tailored system for unique business needs
  • End-to-end integrations can manage booking processes, sales, etc.
  • Inventory tracking for improved customer experience
  • 24/7 customer phone support if you run into an issue
  • Customer features to build brand loyalty

We judged these top providers against key POS categories most-requested by our small business retailers: pricing, retail features, employee management, help and support, and usability. 

Of course, you might just be looking for the best deal for your shop. In that case, use our custom-built POS cost comparison tool to get personalised bespoke quotes for free.

Or, read on for our rundown of the UK's best POS systems for retail based on specific categories you told us you want to consider.

Save On Your New POS System by Comparing Quotes Do you currently have a POS system? Compare system costs in just minutes

Square: Best for new retail businesses that are less than 4 months old

Pricing from: £0

Square POS

When purchasing a POS system, we always recommend looking out for three key features as this is where we’ve seen the biggest differences in supplier offering: pricing, integrations, and hardware.

It’s telling that Square is our front runner for all of these categories. The platform’s pricing is incredibly beginner-friendly with zero monthly fees. There’s also a flexible, streamlined card reader that costs just £19.

We also like that:

  • Despite its low cost, Square’s clever design is so user-centric that there’s no shortage of immensely valuable and unique features like automatic inventory sync 
  • You’ll have unlimited user passwords – ideal for large teams of 10+
  • Instant set up – start serving customers as soon as you’ve received the Square Card Reader and downloaded the Square for Retail software onto your iPad

Square pricing

Square’s pricing is not only the most affordable on this list – it’s also the easiest to understand. You’ll pay no monthly fees, just a charge for the card reader and of course, merchant rates of between 1.75-2.5%.

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Software cost


Hardware cost

£19 + VAT

Transaction fees
  • 1.75% in person transaction fee
  • 1.4% + 25p for UK card transactions
  • 2.5% + 25p for non-UK card transactions
  • 2.5% Keyed-in transactions

But the best thing about Square is that it really grows alongside your business. Down the line, you can also purchase Square Plus (£49 per month) for advanced tools including the ‘stock forecast’: know which stock will run out based on how fast you’re selling.

  • Allow ecommerce customers to save their baskets to encourage the completion of a sale
  • You can build a free online shop using the Square Online website builder
  • Customer profiles are automatically created - a simple but effective route to building brand loyalty
  • No training mode option available for new staff
  • You’ll need to upgrade for more sophisticated features like bar code printing

Clover: Best for premium, boutique stores with fewer than five employees

Pricing from: £4.10 per month

Clover POS

Based on our results, we’d define Clover as a functional tool that stands out for its business development features.

Managing your company is made much simpler with Clover, which can be thought of as an administrator as much as a payment system. This makes it particularly ideal for higher-end stores that want to prioritise brand reputation.

Amongst the software’s highlights are:

  • Sales data reporting: Use insights about your customers and what they buy from you to intelligently promote your products
  • Built-in security: Help keep your information and your customers’ details safe with Clover Station’s built-in fraud protection and multi-layered security
  • Loyalty programme management: Set up physical and digital loyalty and rewards programmes to attract and keep customers – neither Zettle, Square, or Vend offer this
  • Integrate specialist apps from the Clover App Market for additional functionalities

Clover pricing

Clover POS' lowest-priced software tier, Payments Plus, costs £4.10 per month. If this sounds too good to be true, that's because it is.

Payments Plus' thin library of features is lacking in areas like staff management. However, with several generously-priced tiers to choose from, Clover is a flexible POS tool that can grow alongside your store.

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Tyl (by Natwest)

Hardware cost

£14.95 + VAT per month

Transaction fees


  • Clover’s huge knowledge centre gives users support on getting started, user guides, set up guides and help videos
  • Take payments in offline mode for up to 7 days - handy if you’re based in a remote area
  • High transaction fees (2.7% + $0.10 per sale for Register Lite)
  • Businesses can only buy Register Lite if they make credit card sales of less than £50,000 per year
  • You are only permitted one user per licence. Should you have more than one till - they will all require a separate package

Vend: Best for high street chains running more than one store

Pricing from: £59 per month

Vend POS

Pricing from: £59 per month

Vend by Lightspeed is a popular POS system for firms with established software. That’s because it’s decidedly more expensive than rivals – but if you can afford it, you’ll likely find it worth the money.

We also like that:

  • Vend is the only option on our list with a training mode for staff – incredibly helpful for retailers, who have one of the highest rates of employee turnover
  • We gave the platform full marks for help and support tools – a whole mark ahead of runner-up, Square
  • Vend’s excellent customer support team is known to give users a custom pricing package with healthy discounts
  • Team of 5,000 developers are constantly updating the Vend app, so you’ll be kept up to date with the latest payment technologies

Vend pricing

Vend has three pricing options: Lean, Standard, and Advanced. In terms of the POS cost spectrum, they are decidedly more expensive.

The most similar plan to Vend Standard (£59 per month) would be Epos Now, which costs £25 per month in comparison. As a result, Vend does not have the best value for money for SMEs.

However, Vend’s software is flexible enough to work well with a range of hardware types and brands – including the Square card reader – meaning you might save yourself some money if you’ve already got the bits you need.

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  • 30-day free trial is available so you can try before you buy
  • Good value if you’ve already bought your POS hardware
  • Vend has one of the biggest libraries of integrations and third-party apps. There’s virtually no software this platform can’t work with
  • Vend comes seventh in our ranking of customer satisfaction - slightly better than talech
  • Requires an internet connection to work - only core features can be edited offline

Zettle: Best for market stalls or those selling on-the-go

Pricing from: £0

Zettle POS retail

Selling can often take you to strange locations. With Zettle’s POS app, Zettle Go, that’s not a problem for users.

Through the mobile and desktop app you can perform almost every retail function known to man:

  • Monitor inventory in the ‘Overview’ tab
  • Take QR code payments
  • View and export data on things like top selling items and average sales per week

Because of this, we recommend Zettle to businesses that are selling on the go. That might mean you sell as a side hustle and are monitoring sales irregularly. Or you may be a market seller. The possibilities, as they say, are endless.

Zettle pricing

Zettle operates a pay-as-you-go model. You simply purchase the card reader for £29, then use it however frequently or sporadically to take payments of any type.

Zettle has recently pushed up its payment processing fee from 1.25% to 1.75%. This is still competitive (Square has the same rates), however Zettle’s hardware is more expensive than Square, so the latter is slightly better value for money.

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Zettle by PayPal

Software cost


Hardware cost

Starting from £29 + VAT

Transaction fees
  • 1.75% for all contactless or card payments
  • Zettle gets the same customer satisfaction score as Clover - and costs much less per month
  • Excel users will be happy with Zettle as the app lets you import all product information from a spreadsheet format
  • Completely free to set up, so you don’t need to budget for any nasty joining fees
  • You can't use Zettle in offline mode, so if your shop is in a rural area you'll need a strong broadband connection
  • Zettle gets 3.5 out of 5 for its retail features, while its closest rival Square gets 4
  • Zettle only has one payment plan, which is not great for scaling firms

Talech: Best for clothing retailers with multiple product lines

Pricing from: £29.99 per month

Talech POS

talech gets our vote for its fantastic retail features. As the only other provider in this list to draw with our number one brand, Square, the tool gets full marks in this area.

These are particularly well-tailored to clothing retailers. Just some of the leading features that talech provides for sartorial SMEs include:

  • If your sales associates aren’t fashion experts, give them access to product details at their fingertips with detailed images and descriptions
  • Use variations to create hundreds of product coding combinations, such as if you want to show a t-shirt you’re selling in different colours
  • Get low inventory alerts so you’ll never run out of stock – useful for clothing shops, which keep lots of products in storage

Talech pricing

We weren’t hugely impressed by talech’s scalability. Its lowest-priced tier is missing a lot of core features, so users will likely need to upgrade to the mid-tiered plan for £49.99 per month – placing talech at the higher end of the POS cost spectrum.

Another thing to be aware of is that talech charges £24.99 per month for each additional device you want to add to your plan.

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talech Starter

talech Standard

talech Premium

  • Track employee hours with timesheet reporting - handy for teams working to rotas
  • Whether paying with a card or online, end-to-end encryption means your customers can trust their data is secure
  • talech gets 4 out of 5 for help tools - you’ll be able to get 24/7 support if you encounter an issue
  • Only 500 products are permitted with talech’s lowest priced tier
  • Hardware can only be purchased on a quote-by-quote basis, unlike more transparent brands like Zettle
  • Few integrations are available - particularly for ecommerce

Goodtill: Best for customer service-oriented retailers, such as furniture shops

Pricing from: £29 per month

Goodtill retail

An iPad-based POS system, Goodtill is the brainchild of SumUp, a popular fintech brand that purchased Goodtill in 2020 to bolster its reputation in the restaurant and hospitality sectors.

SumUp describes itself as a card reader ‘to suit every business’ and this ethos is particularly evident in its customer score. We gave Goodtill 4.5 out of 5 for this criteria – while its closest competitor, Square, gets 4.3.

We particularly like:

  • Goodtill’s specialist add-on: ‘Goodies’ for £18 per month. As a customer relationship tool, it keeps buyers eager to return with features such as a rewards and loyalty program
  • Employee management is another strong point – you can track work hours through the till and tailor access through custom permissions
  • Unlike Square, Clover, Zettle, talech, and Epos Now, Goodtill users can choose to have onboarding assistance when getting set up

Because of the hyperfocus on customer satisfaction, we recommend Goodtill for firms that need to offer a bespoke sales experience, such as jewellers.

Goodtill pricing

Goodtill has a slightly different way of pricing.

Our analysts judge Goodtill’s software pricing to be very affordable at £29 per month. On top of this, users can purchase optional add-on ‘modules' to boost your plan. For retail, these are:

  • Customer display screen (£9 per month)
  • Advanced promotions (£18 per month)
  • Advanced stock (£18 per month)
  • Basic loyalty (£18 per month)
  • Premium loyalty (18 per month + £875 one-off cost)
  • Basic analytics (£29 per month)
  • In keeping with Goodtill’s customer-centric USP, the brand received the highest customer satisfaction score in our latest round of testing
  • Goodtill has 13 plans to choose from with focuses varying from business analytics to customer display
  • Trend-tracking available to identify opportunities for promotions
  • Set up process can take a long time - you need to add all your products and main information to get started
  • As with Epos Now, you’ll be locked into a 12-month contract with Goodtill

Epos NOW: Best for wholesalers with 15+ employees that need to keep an eye on products and importing

Pricing from: one off payment of £399 or £25 per month

Epos Now products and services

Processing over £2bn in transactions every year, Epos Now is the largest EPOS provider in the UK.

Epos Now’s retail POS software offers a variety of handy features, with a particular emphasis on till and inventory management. During our testing, we also liked:

  • Real-time reporting on product, sales and employee information
  • Rapid stock takes, including minimum and maximum stock alerts
  • Bulk imports to add and edit thousands of products in one go
  • Automatic running of quarterly and annual tax returns

Epos Now pricing

Epos Now offers retail system bundles, which aim to provide both the software and the hardware you might need to get started. Each of these packages is priced similarly.

However, like talech there are lots of hidden fees to incur with Epos Now including an annual licence fee of £224 per register.

Because of this, we recommend contacting the Epos Now support team to get a full breakdown of your invoice before purchase.

Unfortunately, it's a fact of life that EPOS systems are notoriously difficult to understand. That's why we designed our Startups-exclusive cost comparison tool that will match you to provider quotes in just one minute.

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  • Scores higher than Square for till management features, thanks to outstanding hardware
  • Automated employee performance reports generated each month save on admin time
  • Premium price point means it’s not for early stage startups
  • Gets our worst score for business development (2.3 out of 5) due to poor scalability
  • No free trial or plan available - you’ll need to be fully committed to purchase this platform

Alternative retail POS systems


Lightspeed is ideal for businesses that want an all-in-one sale system with excellent customer support and integrations.
  • Pricing from £39 per month
  • Over 250 integrations
  • Customer loyalty features
  • 24/7 customer support
Summary Lightspeed offers a range of monthly subscriptions for its POS, which is an all-in-one complete system. It's an EPOS system that utilises cloud technology. In addition to its software, Lightspeed can also provide hardware, which is available as a kit or individually so that it can be customised to your needs. Lightspeed’s hardware components range from printers to scanners and cash drawers. It offers 24/7 customer support and over 250 integrations with other software. This is a POS system that looks to help businesses future-proof themselves. You can visit Lightspeed to learn more about how they aim to help businesses be “future-ready”. For restaurants, orders can be taken tableside and are sent directly from the waiting staff to the kitchen. This means that staff no longer have to wait for an open terminal to complete the order, cutting down the time between customers ordering and receiving their food.
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Lightspeed is an excellent retail POS. In fact, we ranked it as our top choice overall – but only for large businesses.

That’s because Lightspeed’s incredibly powerful software product – it can even be used to create customisable receipts – comes with a matching price tag that most SMEs won’t be able to afford of £59 per month.

That being said, if you’re an ambitious retailer with a lot of dispensable cash, Lightspeed can give you a heck of a lot for your investment. Tellingly, we gave it 4.9 out of 5 for its till management features.

  • Ring up sales at record speed using Quick Keys
  • Personalise the customer experience by collecting their details at checkout for return buyers
  • If you’re not sure if Lightspeed will be worth the cost, you can trial the platform for free for 30 days
  • Priced at £59 per month, before hardware costs, Lightspeed is a premium POS product for SMEs
  • Our research reveals that some customers have difficulty with the Lightspeed bill-split feature


takepaymentsplus is a great fit for growing retail SMEs that want to take control of their sales with a simple, streamlined and mobile POS system.
  • Pricing £25 per month
  • Realtime reporting
  • Easy inventory management
  • Dedicated account manager
Summary Billed as "the card machine that does more", takepaymentsplus is a mobile POS system that combines a 4G SIM-enabled card reader with bespoke software to allow SMEs to not just take payments but really take control of their sales. With takepaymentsplus, you'll get real time insight into what and isn't selling, and be able to track sales by time of day, employee and category. The easy software also means you can add new category/product buttons in seconds and makes inventory management a doddle. You can also expect exemplary customer service, with a dedicated account manager and the sort of genuinely helpful assistance that gets you a 4.8 rating on Trustpilot from over 22,000 reviews. And you get all this for a flat fee of £25 per month.
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takepayments first launched takepaymentsplus – “the card machine that does more” –  in 2019. Aimed at larger retail SMEs, takepaymentsplus didn’t perform as well for our small business specific testing.

However, it is still a simple, streamlined POS system that offers great benefits like real time reporting, the ability to easily add product/category buttons, and inventory management tools.

We’d recommend it for larger firms based online and looking for a system that integrates well with your existing software such as payment gateways.

  • takepayments hardware has the ability to print receipts - unlike our top-rated POS, Square
  • You’ll have a dedicated account manager to get you set up
  • takepayments, like Square, comes with zero set up fees
  • Hidden fees can require a personalised quote for a clear idea of pricing
  • While there’s no monthly fees, you will be in a minimum 12-month contract
  • Next-day settlement is subject to Barclaycard’s approval - not good for SMEs needing instant access to cash

Our methodology

Over a month-long period, we dedicated our entire research team to find out which POS system best suits the needs of a small business retailer – based on over twenty years of working with them.

Square (4.3 out of 5) is our top brand overall. Zero monthly fees, user-centric hardware design, and a reputation for innovation mean we think it is the best option for startups and scaling retailers looking to get established.

  • Clover (4.4) is best for high-end, boutique stores with fewer than five employees that want ultimate control over their sales and customer experience
  • Vend (4.4) is best for chain retailers with more than two outlets and complex support/staff training requirements.
  • Zettle (4.3) is best for selling on the go thanks to its surprisingly functional adaptable mobile and desktop app
  • Talech (4.1) is best for clothing retailers also selling online that want to manage and edit large product lines
  • Goodtill (4.1) is best for long sales pipelines that need to provide a personalised customer experience, such as furniture stores
  • Epos Now (4) is best for wholesalers with extensive inventory management and importing needs

How we test EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) systems for small businesses

We tested 16 EPOS systems to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, price, help and support, and more so we can make the most useful recommendations to small UK-based businesses.

Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in nine main categories of investigation and 45 subcategories – in fact, we covered 61 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs of our Startups.co.uk readers.

Our main testing categories for EPOS systems are:

Till: the core functionality of the EPOS system, which includes the processing of sales transactions.

Business Management: the features and tools provided by the EPOS system to support various aspects of running a business.

Stock Management: the EPOS system's capabilities to manage inventory and track stock levels, such as inventory tracking, stock alerts, and stock transfers.

Business Development: the features and tools provided by the EPOS system to help businesses grow and improve their operations, such as marketing integrations and sales forecasting.

Usability: how easily and intuitively the EPOS system can be used by the staff. It includes factors such as user interface design, navigation, and ease of training.

Price: the cost associated with acquiring and using the EPOS system, including purchase cost, licensing fees, and subscription plans.

Help and Support: the assistance and resources available to users when they encounter issues or need guidance while using the EPOS system.

Features: the functionalities and capabilities provided by the EPOS product. This can include a dedicated restaurant and retail functionality.

The Startups product testing process

The Startups product testing process diagram

How do I get started with a retail POS?

The majority of retail POS systems – including Square and Zettle – are quick and easy to get started with. Simply go to their websites, select the plan you want to get started with, and you can sign up in as little as two minutes (in Square’s case).

See: Square vs Zettle

Others, such as Vend, are trickier to get started with. You’ll need to contact each providers’ customer support team to be given a custom quote to compare.

To make things easier, we advise using Startups’ exclusive POS System comparison tool to get bespoke pricing information.

Simply fill in a couple of details about your business and we’ll match you with tailored quotes for the best POS systems and best card readers that complement your business operation and objectives.

Retail POS FAQs
  • Which is the best retail POS software?
    Square is our top-rated POS platform for retailers. Our analysts gave it an overall score of 4.7 out of 5, largely thanks to its impressive list of retail-specific features and unparalleled value for money.
  • What is the most widely-used retail POS software?
    Square is one of the most popular POS brands currently on the market. Over 2 million business users currently rely on the Square system - part of the reason it received the highest customer satisfaction score in our research.
  • What is the easiest retail POS software to use?
    Our research found that Square is the best POS system for ease of use. It has not only the highest customer satisfaction score, but also takes the crown for help and support tools. That means users who do encounter problems can have them swiftly solved.
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Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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