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Whether you’re a new small business owner or a seasoned pro, chances are you’ve been exposed to a lot of myths regarding point of sale solutions and payment processing for your small store. Even though something might seem like the latest and greatest, doesn’t mean that it is. Here are three POS myths you should definitely not fall for:

1) Expensive software – Some small business owners are still under the impression that they need to spend thousands of dollars on POS software in order to get something decent. While that might have been the norm years ago, times have already changed, technology is more advanced, and software is going the way of the Dodo. Software has to be installed directly onto a computer and that one computer holds all the data for your shop, and your soul. Many merchant services providers are still out there peddling expensive and unnecessary POS software (and hardware) to small business owners. It’s important to know that you absolutely do not need to purchase expensive POS software. Shop around! Look for a cheap solution that will fit your needs and your budget. For example, consider a cloud-based POS system instead. Cloud-based POS systems are all-in-one solutions with all the features you’ll need at little to no extra cost. In addition to the affordable monthly fee, there are usually no setup fees, no contracts, no hidden fees, and considering they are platform agnostic, they should work with hardware you already own. Most are also built especially for small business use.

2) The iPad Cash Register – The sleek and sexy design of a tablet POS is the new must-have for small business owners everywhere. However, is an iPad the best option out there? Not necessarily. There are a few issues with iPads that you should be aware of. First of all, Apple applications have limited capabilities. Certain features like importing and exporting data, uploading photos, etc, are not always possible with an iPad. This isn’t because the app itself wasn’t built properly, it’s actually because iPads are not designed to function like a standard computer. If your POS solution is also web-based, you could essentially run it on the iPad’s Safari browser. However, you might have trouble with hardware integration. Also, if you have any technical issues, troubleshooting an iPad can be troublesome. Sure, over the years, Apple has made great improvements in iPad functionality, however you might want to consider a PC tablet instead. A PC tablet has all the same functionalities as a standard PC desktop or laptop. From importing and exporting Excel spreadsheets to downloading reports, a PC tablet can do it all. Plus, you’re looking at about half the cost.

PC Package

PC tablet: Windows 10 ASUS tablet, listed on Amazon for $295

Receipt printer: Star TSP100 USB printer, listed Amazon for $186

Cash drawer: RJ12, printer driven cash drawer, listed on Amazon for $56

Barcode scanner: USB barcode scanner, listed on Amazon for $17

Total cost: $554

iPad Package

iPad: Basic 32gb iPad with WiFi, listed on Apple for $329

Receipt printer: Star SM S220i listed on Amazon for $347

Cash drawer: RJ12, printer driven cash drawer, listed on Amazon for $56

Barcode scanner: Socket Mobile 7Ci Bluetooth, listed on Amazon for $193

Total cost: $925

Feel like using a laptop or a desktop instead? You’re not alone. Many small business owners find the on-screen keyboard of a tablet to be cumbersome and opt for a more traditional laptop or desktop. If you decide to go that route, you can still go with the standard PC package above. Simply swap out the PC tablet and replace it with a standard PC (or Mac) laptop or desktop. The hardware is standard and will work for both.

3) SQUARE – Square flooded the market with their easy-to-use credit card processing dongle years ago, but that doesn’t mean they are the best option. Before you go with Square as a payment provider, or a POS solution, you’ll want to do a bit of research. In addition to the almost non-existent customer support they offer, a variety of complaints have been lodged with Consumer Affairs that mostly relate to Square holding funds and preventing small businesses from accessing their own money. They also charge you extra for additional features that any small business would likely need anyway. For example, to sell a gift card, they charge 90 cents. If you want loyalty features, that’s another $25 per month. Want employee management? That’s another $5 per month per employee. You can take a look at all their additional fees on their pricing page. When it comes to payment processing, you absolutely need to shop around. Square is first and foremost a payment provider, but it’s definitely not the only one out there. In the US alone, there are hundreds of payment providers just waiting to compete for your business. Call a few, get the quotes in writing, and send them along to other payment providers so they can all battle for your business.

With that being said, where should you start? Make a list of all the features your small business needs and also what you’re willing to pay, then start shopping around. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’ll make it that much more difficult for companies to sell you things you don’t need. Also, go to local shops and ask other small business owners for advice. The small business community is full of incredible folks who would love to help.