An EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) system is a quick and easy way to process transactions electronically. Prices vary depending on the size and nature of your business. This can make it difficult to get a clear idea of the costs involved - especially if you’re looking to buy a system outright.
For starters, many companies will advertise a baseline price on their website to draw you in, then heap on a host of add-ons when the time comes to pay. Some suppliers quote for individual components, others for a complete system. It can all get a bit confusing.
So let's make things simple. You can expect to pay in the region of:
- £1,000 for an entry-level system, such as the iPad EPOS System. This includes everything you need to start trading: Apple iPad, receipt printer, cash drawer, card machine, installation and training
- £1,500 for an industry specific mid-level system, such as the EPOS Direct ED 910. Includes bespoke software for a number of different industries - retail, bar and restaurant, beauty and spa, and more
- £3,000+ for an advanced EPOS system with multiple terminals, tailored to meet the needs of your business
Many companies are quick to opt for a basic system in order to save money, but it’s worth remembering that these will be limited in functionality and may in fact prove a false economy.
When it comes to EPOS, it helps to first consider your requirements as a business and work backwards from there. A little extra invested up-front is likely to save you both time and money in the long term.
EPOS price guide
Of course it may not be necessary for all businesses to invest in an advanced point of sale system. For an independent coffee shop, a single terminal with a receipt printer and card machine may be enough. Because who carries cash these days?
Not many as it turns out. An independent survey by Expert Market of 1,600 people revealed that amongst those aged between 21 and 36:
carry less than £5 cash on their person, 5% carry none at all
have wanted to purchase but not been able to due to it being cash only
think cash will become obsolete in the next 25 years
So it's clear that now more than ever, for a business to trade effectively it must be equipped to process card payments quickly and efficiently. And that means EPOS.
But before investing in a package deal, consider whether it would be more cost effective to purchase each component separately. We spoke to a range of suppliers and here’s what you can expect to pay...
EPOS hardware prices
The terminal is the beating heart of an EPOS system. This is where the computer processor is housed, and the means by which the user inputs data to the system via a touchscreen. Prices start from around £800.
Most businesses also require a cash drawer. These can be bought for as little as £50. Expect to pay in the region of £150 for a wireless barcode scanner. A thermal printer, for receipts, costs another £150. LCD customer-facing displays start from around £200.
The price of a credit card machine, sometimes called a PDQ terminal, varies dependending on the volume of transactions processed. For example, Worldpay offers two purchasing options for a wireless machine. You can choose to pay either a one-off fee of £228, plus 2.5% and a 4p fee on transactions thereafter. Or £23 per month pay-as-you-go with, fees of around 0.5%.
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, so you will need to speak with suppliers and negotiate the best deal for your business.
Read our guide to card machines - and simply fill out the form at the top of the page to receive quotes from up to four suppliers.
EPOS software prices
If the terminal is the heart, then EPOS software is the brain. It determines what functions are available to the user, as well as the extent to which you can carry out reporting and analytics in the backend. Programs can be either bought outright for £300-£500, or subscribed to for a monthly charge of around £40. Once again, prices vary depending on your specific needs.
There are made-to-measure software packages available for a range of different industries - from restaurants and bars to coffee shops and beauty salons. These come with industry-specific features such as tools for table management and reservations, and, though costing a little more, offer a fully tailored experience.
For tablet systems, there are now a large number of EPOS apps available. These tend to be cheaper than traditional software packages and benefit from being cloud-based - so will automatically update and backup critical data when connected to the internet.
Installation and support
Most basic systems are easy to setup: simply plug them in and off you go. For more complex systems with multiple, networked terminals it may be necessary to pay for specialist installation. Expect to pay £200, plus £40 for every extra terminal.
Any reputable supplier will also offer training and support. This usually comes at an additional cost, though some do offer training as part of their fee for setup and installation.
Read our in-depth guide EPOS installation to find out more about what’s involved and how much it costs.
The cost of consumables should be a consideration for small businesses. Paper and toner for printing receipts come in at £10 box and £15 respectively. Then there’s additional cabling for extended runs, an internet connection - it adds up, so make sure you budget accordingly.
How to minimise EPOS cost - what are my options?
There are three ways to minimise your up-front costs:
1. Rent or lease a system
This is the most obvious option if you’re struggling to justify buying an EPOS system outright - but there are benefits that make renting or leasing attractive to any business. The system will be covered by warranty for the duration of the lease, so if anything breaks (and it wasn’t your fault) the supplier will fix it free of charge. In addition to this, free installation, support, and software updates come as standard.
Worldpay’s Business Hub can be rented for £50 a month, with a one-off setup fee of £250. It includes an Android tablet with Worldpay app, integrated cash drawer and printer, and a card machine.
Most rental agreements are available on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning you can keep hold of the system for as long or short a time period as you like - one week, one month, one year. It’s entirely up to you.
Finance agreements are typically offered at a fixed-rate on either 12 or 18 month contracts, after which you’ll own the system. Some suppliers will allow you to ‘opt-out’ early for a fee. Our handy guide to EPOS rental and leasing options explains everything you need to know.
It’s worth remembering, though, that a rented system will cost you more in the long run than it would to buy one outright. You’ll also have limited options for customisation, as they tend to come with generic, rather than industry specific, software programs.
2. Buy a second hand system
Another way to minimise costs is to simply buy a used system. This can be done through a private seller - usually a merchant who has just upgraded their own system - or a refurbishment specialist.
These suppliers buy used EPOS systems, recondition them, and sell them on. Buying from a commercial supplier means that a warranty, and sometimes support, will be included even if the system is second hand.
3. Compare quotes
It’s remarkable how suppliers will often find a way to reduce their prices when they know you’re being offered a better deal elsewhere. It pays to compare quotes.
And remember, EPOS is a competitive market, so don’t be afraid to play one supplier off against another to negotiate the best possible deal for your business.
How do I compare quotes?
Simply fill in this form and quickly and easily compare prices from suppliers. The questions asked are designed to help us understand your specific needs and match you with the most suitable supplier. The comparison is free and there are no hidden charges.
So what are you waiting for? Compare EPOS system prices today and be confident in choosing the right one for your business.