POS System Installation: Challenges & Cost

by Jones David

Installing your POS system might seem like child’s play, in particular, if you choose a simple iPad-based system. Most of the time, it’s best to have the system professionally installed, usually by the hardware vendor or POS provider. Challenges with what seem like “little” things at first glances, like software and networking cables, can wreak big havoc when you start actually trying to do business with the POS. Though some systems are more prone to this than others, customers generally report fewer glitches when the system is installed by a professional. 

Another common POS installation issue that sometimes arises has to do with the new EMV chip card readers merchants nationwide have been installing. Around 66% of smaller retailers do not set up their EMV terminals correctly. Some merchants are facing unexpectedly high fees as a result of their debit networking setup on their new EMV reader. Merchants should pay careful attention to the terminal’s debit network settings. At any rate, we do recommend using an EMV terminal.

How  to Install your POS System Properly

If you find the prospect of setting up a POS system daunting as a small retailer, you can find solace in the fact that a lot of new POS systems are tablet-based and simpler to install than their predecessors. 

As installation instructions are usually published on company websites, you can decide if you’ll need help or set up the system yourself. Many companies offer step by step video tutorials to guide you through the process. Some can recommend local installation partners, while others provide remote assistance. 

Complex Setup

If you choose a more advanced POS system, the setup requirements may be more complex. The company may charge an installation fee in advance to pre-configure your system so when it arrives, you can just plug it in and start working. They may offer data migration, remote or onsite setup assistance, and training services billed in a lump sum or by the hour.

Be sure to give yourself ample time to set up the system before you start using it regardless of whether you choose a more advanced or a simple POS system you can set up yourself. Apart from the hardware setup, you’ll need to train your employees to use the system, create a menu, spend some time setting up the software, and add inventory.

POS System Cost

Most POS systems have 3 components: hardware, software, and payment processing. They will all cost you. We break them down in this section. 


You can lease or buy the hardware depending on your long-term needs and budget. The exact hardware that you need depends on your store setup or business type. 

The first major decision to make is whether you go with an iPad system with a cloud POS or a traditional server-based system. The former has its advantages: you can potentially move it around the store to meet customers where they are and it takes up less space. Both make for great customer experience. Some modern registers either have a customer-facing display or swivel to face the customer.

Depending on the set up of your venue, you may need to invest in scales, a bar code scanner, or self-serve checkout kiosks. You may need to set up only a tablet, cash drawer, and a credit card reader.

POS software costs

Your POS software needs integrated analytics and should be user-friendly. These things shouldn’t cost you that much. POS software usually comes with a monthly fee with cloud and traditional server-based models. Some providers, like Square, don’t charge monthly software fees.

Payment Processing

In addition to POS hardware and software, you need to plan for credit card processing fees. Again, some POS systems come with integrated payments. Others will require you find a separate payment gateway provider for this purpose. 

Make sure you’re clear on all fees and long-term commitments before you choose your POS with integrated payments or your payment processor. Transaction pricing should be easy and simple to understand. Before purchasing, do consider compatibility issues. 

Being by deciding if there are any parts that you might have and want to use and if there are any services you will need to utilize. Here are a few things to look for before you choose a system.

Check Integration 

Make sure that the POS system integrates with your card reader and credit card processor. Also, make sure the system will support any tablets that you plan to use with your new POS system. Be clear on the platform and model. Ensure that the operating system on your tablet is compatible with the POS app and up to date.

If you already own a cash drawer, a receipt printer, or other pieces of POS hardware that you want to use with your system, check with the POS software company to make sure these will work. 

If you want to integrate your payroll service, accounting software, or any other business programs with the POS system that you have, make sure the respective integrations or plug-ins are available. Ask how much it will cost to use them. 

Some apps are free, while others have installation or setup fees. Still, others come with a monthly fee. Export your data to CSV or Excel spreadsheets if you’re currently using a POS system before your account expires so you can enter it into your new system instead of generating it all again. 

POS hardware installation 

Tablet POS systems normally require reliable internet access. Hybrid systems save your data in the cloud but use a local server. The cloud gives you access to back-office features like online reporting from any mobile device.

POS software installation 

In the process of configuring your account settings, you can set up sales tax rates, customize receipts with your logo, business name, address, and other information, decide whether you want to prompt users for signatures for transactions or skip that, set up tipping options, connect to third-party integrations, add employees, and assign roles or manage permissions. 

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