If you’re a business owner seeking information and advice on point-of-sale systems in Australia, this article is for you.
First, we’ll compare all the top brands including setup costs, card processing fees, features, and benefits.
Then we’ll discuss your alternatives that are lower in cost, easier to set up, and simpler to manage.
So whether you own a retail shop, a hospitality business, or a service-based business, we’ll reveal the best POS Australia has to offer.
Let’s get started…
Best Aussie Point-Of-Sales Systems Compared
|Offers Third-Party Integrations||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Competitive Transaction Fees||Yes||Yes||Unknown||Yes||Varies based on provider|
|Expensive Hardware||Depends on type chosen||No||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
Choosing the right POS system for retail operations (large and small) in Australia is not an easy task.
This is in part due to the fact that there are so many options to compare that all offer a host of great features.
Here, we have reviewed the top five POS solutions currently favoured by Australian businesses to help you narrow down the right fit for your needs.
Let’s get started…
Square first arrived in Australia in 2014 and has since become a firm favourite, frequently topping the preferred POS systems list Down Under.
Whether you’re at a beachside market stall, local cafe, food truck, or even your child’s school uniform shop, you’re likely to see several Square readers during your usual routine.
So what makes it so popular?
At A Glance:
Physical Device – Choose from one of four hardware options (detailed below) purchased at an additional charge.
Training – No training necessary, intuitive, easy to use, and set up.
Software – Square’s POS software/app is free to download, you just need to create a Square account to get started.
As with most POS systems, prices linked to associated hardware can represent a higher outlay initially.
Square gives you four options for hardware that can help overcome this cost barrier if it is a concern.
Square Register – This option works with Square’s till system for a traditional, all-in-one solution that works well in most fixed retail store settings. This option starts at around $1100.
Square Stand – Cheaper than the above at $149 currently, however, requires you to provide an up-to-date iPad for use. This option also attracts higher fees than Register, which when added to the cost of an iPad makes for a poor comparison cost-wise.
The third option – a handheld Square terminal, will set you back at just over $300 and can be wirelessly connected to any smart device running Square POS software.
The fourth option – you can also use a Square Reader paired with your tablet or smartphone to accept payment, which is just $59.
You can opt for one of the above or use a combination of these to suit your business.
Square offers zero monthly fees on its free plan. While this does translate to slightly higher fees on some transactions, you don’t have to factor in ongoing membership costs.
Depending on the risk profile associated with the payment method, you’ll pay between 1.6% and 2.2% of each transaction in fees.
NB: Transactions where the card and cardholder are not present and the details are manually entered are considered higher risk than a tapped or inserted card.
- Incredibly user-friendly and easy to set up
- Multiple hardware options to suit most budgets and settings
- Trustworthy with exceptional data security
- Offers several built-in business management tools for sales tracking, reporting, and more.
- Easily integrated with scheduling apps, accounting, or Ecommerce software
- Limited scalability makes it suited to only small to medium enterprises
- Customer support is unavailable over weekends when many small business owners need help the most
- Must be used with their hardware, not as truly mobile as some alternatives
Who’s It Best Suited To?
Square point of sale, Australia works best for small to medium-sized operations.
As higher fees are levied for remote payments, Square is ideal for those that transact payments primarily face-to-face.
For example, this is a good POS system for cafes, hair salons, food trucks, market stall holders, tradespeople, or similar.
While many retailers are increasingly shying away from bank-owned hardware and POS software in Australia, CommBank is still up there with preferred providers.
As Australia’s largest financial institution, they are a trusted name for households and businesses alike.
Despite several leading alternatives, Commbank EFTPOS solutions are something you can see in every state of Australia and likely several times a day.
Aside from the draw of being backed by one of Australia’s top banks, what is the draw?
At A Glance:
Physical Devices – Select from two types of POS terminals that offer different features (detailed below)
Training – No training is required, however, the application and approvals process is lengthy and highly involved.
Software – Requires you to have existing POS software that can integrate with their terminals. There is no partnered Commbank software solution.
Commbank charges an ongoing monthly fee of $29.50 for hardware rental (per item). This means you do not own your POS machine. In Australia, this is quite common if dealing with the big banks and can help reduce initial setup costs.
It also makes it easier to source a replacement if it begins to malfunction.
However, if you do not return the terminal at the close of your agreed terms or if it is damaged, you may be charged a $500 terminal replacement fee.
Terminals available are:
SMART Integrated – Operated by a secured hard-wired connection this is a POS system for retail stores in fixed locations such as bars, restaurants, or clothing stores that do not require portability.
Essential Plus – A more portable option that delivers the same functionality as SMART integrated with a few added extras. This option is wireless but still needs access to a Wi-Fi network to operate so not truly mobile.
There are no fees to set your business up with Commbank EFTPOS, only the monthly, per-piece, hardware fee mentioned above.
While this may seem expensive, their transaction fees compared with other options, are incredibly low at just 1.1% on card transactions.
- Great for businesses that like their existing POS software but need a new solution for payment processing
- Low fees
- Backed by big bank security
- User-friendly and easy to learn
- Scalable for businesses seeking to grow
- Not truly portable, Commbanks portable terminal options do not allow for POS integration
- Extensive sign-up and approvals process which require a lot of paperwork
- Hefty penalties for damaged or lost hardware
- Limited features and add-ons are available
Who’s It Best Suited To?
Commbank EFTPOS, as far as payment systems in Australia go, has a lot to recommend it.
If you have a POS arrangement that works for you and you simply want better equipment to use with it, this is a good option.
However, it is best suited to established businesses, in fixed locations with quite a high turnover.
Thanks to options allowing split billing, this is a preferred POS system for restaurants, nightclubs, and bars but also works well for franchised retail stores in shopping centres.
When it comes to securing physical retail POS systems in Australia, most often you’re dealing with either a big bank or a multinational company.
If you prefer to stick with a genuinely local offering that isn’t a bank, Retail Express is ideal.
Only available to Aussies and Kiwis, Retail Express – as its name suggests, is also only for those in the retail sector.
At A Glance:
Physical Devices – Retail Express requires a compatible EFTPOS terminal to operate as well as added hardware such as a computer (Mac or PC) or iPad.
Training – No training is required, however, they do offer a training academy program for those seeking to understand the software in-depth.
Software – Runs off their targeted retail platform which is accessed via an ongoing subscription.
Retail Express do not offer any indications of pricing on their website. Which may be a red flag for some.
They promote themselves as offering tailored packages to best meet your business needs which is why no pricing is provided upfront.
Helpfully, their software is designed to work with any existing hardware you may have such as cash drawer/till, barcode scanner and receipt printer or similar.
This means you do not have to purchase their bundled hardware options at additional charge to get started so long as yours is compatible.
Currently they do not offer a free trial and online chatter from various sources suggests subscription pricing starts from $129 a month.
No information is publicly available regarding any transaction fees.
- Dedicated local company only servicing Australia and New Zealand
- Potential to work with existing hardware
- Offers insights into sales performance and supports better inventory management
- Allows for integration into several third-party programs such as Xero, MailChimp and Afterpay among others for better financials, marketing and customer service.
- Able to work across multiple stores with continued accuracy
- 24/7 via the customer portal
- Can be configured to process remote sales
- Lack of transparency regarding fees
- This POS system is iPad/tablet or computer operated with this provided at your own cost
- Does not allow for many customisations which can make it harder to manage processes such as backorders and special orders
- No free trial
Who’s It Best Suited To?
If you’re looking for the best POS system for a cafe in Australia, this isn’t it! Retail Express is only for the retail sector, they do not support those in hospitality.
If you intend to primarily sell at markets or work in a trade, where portability is a must, this option is not for you.
Retail Express is really geared towards bricks-and-mortar stores, making it one of the best POS systems for retail store owners, especially those with multiple locations.
Lightspeed POS Australia is considered one of the best cloud POS and hardware providers for both retail and hospitality businesses.
Offering a host of features geared towards enhancing customer engagement as well as easy payment processing, Lightspeed delivers numerous benefits to merchants.
At A Glance:
Physical Devices – Hardware is required that is to be used alongside your chosen iOS or Android tablet or Windows PC. Pricing is only available via quotation directly with Lightspeed.
Training – Marketed as easy to learn, Lightspeed still offers free training for its clients to ensure you get the most out of its offerings.
Software – Lightspeed offers tailored software with one option for retail operations and another for hospitality. Software is accessed via a paid monthly subscription.
You will need to purchase a POS hardware pack from Lightspeed, pricing for this is provided via quotation and can be adjusted to suit your needs.
There is no sign-up fee to get started.
Lightspeed charges both a monthly subscription fee in addition to transaction fees. Expect to pay from 1.3% for in-person transactions and 2.1% for manually entered card numbers.
Subscription fees vary between $79 to $199 monthly for those using their POS terminals in Australia.
While this may seem minimal for businesses with high turnover, for a small to medium-sized enterprise, this is not going to help you cut costs and boost profits.
- A very robust system capable of handling a high volume of transactions and multiple users simultaneously
- Exceptional built-in tools for better business management including loyalty program options and enhanced inventory management
- Outstanding customer support is available 24/7
- Free onboarding
- Targeted solutions for both the hospitality and retail sectors
- High monthly fees
- The hardware looks outdated. Some reviews compare it as being like Microsoft vs Square POS Australia, which presents more like Apple
- Much harder to learn than competing alternatives
Who’s It Best Suited To?
Lightspeed is geared towards bigger businesses in the retail and hospitality sector.
Not only a great POS system for bars, think franchises, high-end restaurants, or large-scale operations such as RSL clubs and department stores.
If you have a high turnover and large volume of transactions daily and need an option that gives you plenty of added features and reliability where cost is no issue, this may work for you.
Hike is a cloud-based POS payment system in Australia that is designed for use only by retail businesses.
While it is not as well known as its main competitors, Hike is worth a look for any business owners operating out of multiple locations.
Easily configured and able to integrate data from several locations and online, Hike makes it easier to track sales, inventory, profitability.
This makes it one of the best POS systems for small retail businesses.
At A Glance:
Physical Devices – Operated via an iPad, Mac, or Windows PC, Hike’s POS hardware is sold in tailored bundles to suit your needs. Pricing through direct inquiry only.
Training – No formal onboarding is available, though Hike does have several video tutorials available via their website.
Software – Hike’s software is accessible only through their paid subscription service
Hike works primarily with iOs devices such as an iPad or iPad mini, but can also work on non-touchscreen devices such as your laptop (both PC and Mac).
Despite being sold as an iPad POS system in Australia, these devices are not supplied by Hike, so these costs must be factored in.
Additionally, as Hike does not provide a payment terminal, you will also need to look at the costs for this hardware.
Hike integrates with the following card terminals:
- Square Reader
- Tyro EFTPOS machines
- Westpac Presto
Hike has ongoing monthly fees ranging from $79 to $109 or higher depending on the features you want and the number of outlets/registers you will be using.
Unlike most point-of-sale systems for small businesses in Australia that lock you to a chosen payment provider, Hike allows you to choose a provider that best suits you.
In Australia, they integrate with Square, Tyro, Westpac, Zip, Afterpay, Windcave/Fiserv, and ANZ.
This means transaction fees will vary for each Hike user based on who they select as their payment processor.
- A point-of-sale, Australian-based offering with 24/7 support, many others are US based
- Offers an exceptional number of integrations to Shopify, WooCommerce, Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks among others. This makes it ideal for those currently using Quickbooks POS in Australia which will be phased out in October 2023.
- Able to be used across multiple locations with no loss of reporting continuity or accurate inventory data
- Great customer support and online resources for users
- Not Android friendly
- Only for retail, not hospitality
- Requires extra steps to get set up in that who have to liaise with an approved payment provider
- Reportedly glitchy when integrating with the other third-party software
- Expensive compared with alternatives
Who’s It Best Suited To?
If you’re a small to medium business wanting a solution for several locations that doesn’t compromise on management tools, Hike is worth a look.
A little more clunky to learn and set up, it also allows you to tailor your payment processing to better meet your needs.
This is a good POS system for hair salons with several locations, multi-store boutiques, retail clothing chains, or similar.
POS Systems Vs Card Readers Vs Mobile Apps
Now that you know your options with POS systems, you may be wondering about other options.
If all of the above sound more involved, complex, or costly than you were hoping for, don’t stress!
There are some amazing alternatives to POS solutions in Australia. Many of which can help your business get to where you want it to be without the fuss or expense.
Card readers (AKA Card Swipers) are a well-known tool and something you have likely seen many times before.
These readers, depending on who develops and distributes them, may work in conjunction with a POS network or simply as a mechanism for processing a payment.
Hike for instance is a POS software provider, but a separate card reading terminal is available via a payment processor.
Alternately, Commbank provides basic card reading devices, however, they are not able to link to third-party POS hardware in Australia.
- Some card readers offer POS integration with existing software
- Easy to use and trusted by consumers
- Secure payment method
- Many readers are bulky and heavy
- Card readers often face connectivity issues
- Not always a wireless solution making it less portable
- This hardware can be expensive to buy or rent
Who’s it most suited to?
Card readers are best suited to fixed store locations where customers will be expecting to tap, swipe or insert their card.
They are also beneficial to anyone using a POS system currently who would like to introduce a more mobile payment option.
As they require the purchase of additional hardware, this may not be the best option for anyone on a budget or those seeking to avoid bulky add-ons.
Mobile Payment Apps
Payment apps are the ultimate solution for any business owner seeking to accept card payments without fiddly hardware add-ons or ongoing monthly fees.
With a mobile payment app, you are just as capable of accepting card payments on the go as a business using a POS structure.
The difference is that you’re not paying for complex point-of-sale software. In Australia, as a small to medium-sized business, you may not need this anyway as there are several great alternatives to choose from.
You simply need your existing smartphone or tablet and the ability to download from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.
- Zero additional hardware is required to accept payments
- No ongoing subscription fees
- Exceptionally portable
- No learning curve unlike most retail POS software in Australia
- Easy way to boost sales by making it easier for customers to purchase
- Most mobile payment apps are FREE and levy low transaction fees
- Cannot link to any paid or free POS software in Australia that you currently use
- Usually fewer features than a POS option, so reports and insights into trends, and inventory may not be available to help you manage sales
Who’s it most suited to?
Payment apps are the perfect solution for small to medium business owners seeking a truly portable, reliable, simple, and low-cost option for accepting card payments.
If your business has a highly variable income stream, this option is ideal.
There are no hefty monthly fees for use, zero hardware rental fees, and no expensive upfront costs for equipment.
Why Charge is the best payment app for smartphones and tablets
So which payment app is best for your business?
Charge App for iOS and Android – and here’s why.
With the Charge app, fiddly or unreliable card readers are a thing of the past!
Simply download the app on your chosen smart device, link to your free Stripe account and you’re ready to go.
Charge is one of the fastest-growing mobile phone credit card processing apps both in Australia and around the world.
When you take a look at their most recent statistics, it is easy to see why this is.
Over $135 million in payments have been processed (and counting) since it was first launched in 2018.
Since that time, the Charge app has been downloaded over 100,000 times.
Perhaps most tellingly, it holds a rating of 4.4 stars from 823 user reviews.
Price: The app is free to download
Transaction Fee: 1% in addition to Stripe’s fees
Setup Fee: There are no setup fees or ongoing monthly fees and zero lock-in contracts
Terminal/Device: All you need is your smartphone or tablet
Charge’s core features and benefits include:
- Being integrated with trusted merchant service Stripe. This ensures optimal security on all transactions.
- Charging lower fees than many competing payment apps
- Facilitates subscription payments for businesses offering subscription services
- Being user-friendly and offering a quick, straight-forward setup
- Ultra-fast payment processing
- Allowing for tap-and-go payments, manual card entry or the sending of payment requests
- Actively monitoring for unusual activity aids in fraud prevention
- Bonus features not seen in many payment apps such as sales insights and tracking
- The ability to process refunds, review past transactions and see all recent payouts within the app
- 24/7 live chat support within the app
- Acceptance of all major credit and debit cards
If POS systems like Square just aren’t the right fit for you currently, and you’re after an inexpensive and less involved option, Charge is worth a look.
Which Is Best… POS Machine, Card Reader Or Mobile App…?
|POS System||Card Reader||Mobile App|
|Quick Set up||No||Sometimes||Yes|
|Reliable (minimal outages/glitches)||No||No||Yes|
|Detailed Business Management Tools||Yes||No||No|
|Ongoing monthly fees||Sometimes||Sometimes||No|
|Competitive Transaction Fees||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Local POS Providers In Australia
If you’re still considering a POS system, here are several additional suppliers for each state in Australia.
DISCLAIMER: The POS system companies outlined below are independent operators with no affiliation to Charge. These listings are provided as a directory, not as a recommendation.
POS Companies New South Wales (NSW)
Products/Services: POS systems in Sydney including software, hardware, loyalty programs, merchant services and more.
Business: POS Depot Australia
Products/Services: Complete point-of-sale systems in Sydney offering software, hardware, support and integration services.
Business: Access POS
Products/Services: This Sydney point-of-sale service provider delivers POS Software & Hardware Solutions, Installation and Training Services and ongoing POS System Support.
POS Companies Victoria
Products/Services: A provider of POS systems in Melbourne, OrderMate offers tailored POS solutions to the hospitality industry including software, hardware and training.
Products/Services: DigiCloud offers POS software in Melbourne as well as point-of-sale hardware, PC & Mac support to website design and API development.
Products/Services: Specialists in point of sale, Melbourne-based FrabPOS offer software, hardware, support and app development for both the retail and hospitality industries.
POS Companies Queensland
Business: Coyote Software
Products/Services: Offering retail POS systems, Brisbane-based Coyote Software offers software solutions for single and multi-store retailers with tailored integrations and ongoing support.
Products/Services: Targeted POS solutions for QLD hospitality businesses including software and hardware with a host of integrations and expert support.
Products/Services: Advanced hospitality POS software that works in-store, online, via QR codes or self-serve kiosks. Offers advanced integrations and tailored support.
POS Companies South Australia
Business: Retail Solutions
Products/Services: Offering POS systems in Adelaide, Retail Solutions provides free access to a web-based POS software Hive POS for qualifying customers. They also handle hardware sales and rentals and tech support.
Products/Services: Offering restaurant POS systems in Australia, POSmate supplies hardware, installs POS Software, sets up the POS System, delivers staff training and ongoing customer support.
Business: POS & IT Solutions
Products/Services: Building of tailored POS software, hardware sales, staff training and tech support as well as skilled IT services.
POS Companies Western Australia
Business: Unlimited Tech
Products/Services: POS systems in Perth for both the retail and hospitality sectors. Offers POS software with tailored integrations, hardware and expert tech support.
Products/Services: Offering point-of-sale systems in Perth for both hospitality and retail, select from branded software and hardware with the option to rent or buy as needed.
Products/Services: Solutions for point of sale in Perth that can be configured to meet the needs of the hospitality, retail and entertainment industries. Hardware bundles and expert tech support are also available.
POS Companies ACT
Business: Cash Registers Canberra
Products/Services: Supply and installation of POS systems in Canberra, selling software and hardware bundles for both retail and hospitality.
Business: Capital Business Equipment
Products/Services: Uniwell POS Australia solutions for various industries, hardware, peripheral business equipment and tech support.
POS Companies Tasmania
Business: Statewide Business Systems (SBS)
Products/Services: Offering POS systems for hospitality businesses in Tasmania, SBS provides integrated software and hardware solutions alongside installation and support services.
Products/Services: Supplying POS systems in Hobart, ProSys is an authorised distributor for the IdealPOS system and can assist with both retail and hospitality ventures.
What is a POS system?
A POS or point-of-sale system is a combination of software and hardware that allows businesses to take payments and track sales.
This software also supports businesses to streamline their operations by allowing for better inventory management, sales insights and more.
Many systems also integrate with accounting software or Ecommerce platforms for better financial management and enhanced business growth.
What is the best point-of-sale brand and device?
The best brand or device is the one that best meets the needs of your business.
Some systems such as Vend POS Australia only facilitate the retail sector whereas others may only support hospitality.
This is why it is important to look at a POS provider in detail. You should weigh up their fees, features, support services, integrations and more to determine if they are right for you.
What is the best POS system for small businesses?
As above, there is no one answer to this query. Ideally, for a small business, you want a POS option with no (or low) ongoing fees that are easy to set up and manage.
Depending on your business turnover and the industry you work in, pursuing a POS system may not be the most suitable alternative.
In these instances, we would suggest looking at mobile payment apps such as Charge which allow you to accept card payments without the need for added hardware or complex software.
Is a mobile payment app better than a physical EFTPOS terminal?
In some cases, yes! For small to medium enterprises, mobile payment apps can often deliver all the functionality and features necessary to run your business successfully.
Some businesses will require an EFTPOS terminal as part of their POS system as this all ties in together.
However, if you do not need POS software capabilities for the business management side, you can absolutely do without an EFTPOS machine.
A payment app works from your phone or tablet, making it ultra-portable and reliable.
There’s no cost for the Charge app and no cost for added hardware which some would say makes it a better choice.
When it comes to finding the best POS system in Australia, there is no one size fits all solution. What works for one business may not work at all for another.
Thankfully there are several solutions for accepting card payments that do not limit you to investing in an expensive POS option before you or your business are ready to do so.
With intelligent mobile payment apps like Charge, you can enjoy the flexibility of offering card payments to customers without the added costs or challenges.
If you’re a small to medium business seeking a robust mobile payment solution that supports your growth and goals, Charge is ideal.
Whether you’re hoping to set up a POS in future and need an interim solution or you have realised it just isn’t for you, Charge ensures you never miss the chance to make a sale or get paid.
Take charge with Charge today.