mPOS – mobile point of sale device

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Libby James
Merchant Services Expert

Libby James is co-founder, director and an expert in all things merchant services. Libby is the go-to specialist for business with more complex requirements or businesses that are struggling to find a provider that will accept them. Libby is regularly cited in trade, national and international media.

What is a mobile POS system?

So first things first, what is mPOS? The definition of mobile POS definition is as follows; Electronic point of sale software (think of this as a virtual till point) using either a tablet or mobile phone which enables the user to accept payments and process sales and orders.

What type of businesses use mobile epos?

mPOS solutions are used across a wide variety of businesses, from companies who work in altering locations such as events companies, or trade shows to larger firms such as The Apple store, who want to offer a more personable shopping experience. The beauty of mobile point of sale systems is that they allow flexibility the user and business, allowing sales to take place almost anywhere!

How mPOS works

Mobile point of sale systems often work by downloading POS mobile app on to your tablet or phone, some companies will wish for you to download software in alternative ways. Essentially mobile POS terminal’s use the internet to run these apps and authorise payments and transactions, therefore having reliable Wi-Fi signal is a must. For this reason some remote mobile POS users choose more than one network provider to ensure they have a solutionin the majority of locations. If you are using mPOS devices at a fixed location it’s well worth testing which mobile provider has the best data coverage for the area, prior to signing up.

Mobile POS advantages

Here we look at our top eight advantages to using mobile POS solutions. The flexibility across different business types and how using mPOS can work well for your business;

  • Firstly,and in our opinion most importantly, users of mobile POS systems report an improved customer experience. This is due to the lack of queues and therefore waiting for the customer. Using a mobile point of sale terminal enabled workers to provide a more personable and relaxed shopping experience. Added features such as emailing receipts directly to the customer streamlines the transaction, leaving everyone happy.
  • As briefly mentioned mobile point of sale devices can be used anywhere, leaving the restrictions of taking payments in store well behind us. This allows payments and orders to be made offsite at events or trade shows, festivals or fairs.
  • Mobile POS terminal prices are much lower than fixed EPOS systems, making them the perfect solution for start-up businesses, smaller companies and those wishing to save a few pounds.
  • Mobile POS uses touch screen making it simple and intuitive to use.
  • mPOS reports in real time making stock easier to monitor, with the ability to check stock at different locations and reserve if needs be.
  • Data is not stored on the mobile POS credit card machine, making transactions secure due to encryption.
  • Mobile point of sale solutions often provide on-going support and customer care services either through an additional app or live chat. Meaning that businesses can resolve issues promptly on site, when they need to.
  • mPOS machines save space, which is why they are so versatile. Illuminating the need for bulky tills and long queues.

mPOS charges and costs

When looking for a provider it is worthwhile considering all costs involved which include, the terminal, mPOS transaction fees and set up costs. If you focus on either one of these individually you may end up spending more longer-term, so let’s start at the beginning.

When you buy mPOS software you also agree to the rates of that provider. For example, although the iZettle mPOS terminal software retails for £25.00 plus VAT the costs per transaction is 1.75% whereas some of the free mobile pos app’s do not charge for the software, however rates can be as high as 2.15% plus authorisation costs. Comparing like for like is important and will enable you to make informed decisions, thus saving on costly mistakes.


Some larger firms choose to build their own white label mPOS software which can then be integrated with various merchant account providers bringing the cost per transaction down dramatically, and over the longer-term often saving costs.


Mobile POS hardware

As briefly discussed mPOS devices workwith smartphones and tablets using wi-fi 3g and 4g, however it doesn’t stop there. Here we look at the technical workings of mobile POS terminals compared to standard ePOS systems.

Mobile POS system barcode scanner

For some reason merchants worry about how they will scan items using mobile POS devices. This can be done in one of two ways; the most common way is using the inbuilt camera on your iPhone, android or tablet. The built in software recognizes the bar code in the same way a standard till point would. Alternatively some mPOS providers also sell separate bar code scanners which work by communicating through Bluetoothconnected to the mPOS. Mobile POS handheld scannerdevice as less commonly used, speak to our advisors if you have any further questions.

Some brands use more than barcodes alone, mPOS work equally as well with QR code as an alternative.

mPOS printers

Although most stores now offer email receipts, the need for mobile POS terminal with printers still exists for two reasons. Firstly, you must give your customers the option of a paper receipt. Secondly, thermal printers are often still used in kitchens and cafes enabling efficient communication between waiting staff and chefs. POS with mobile printers work using Bluetooth, meaning that more than one mPOS can be connectedwith the printerat any given time.

mPOS swipe machine

Some businesses require the ability to swipe cards, be it for payment, loyalty discounts or even to sign staff in and out. The function to swipe on mobile POS card readers is available with most providers, if you think this is going to be important to you please mention it to your advisor.

mPOS stands and cash drawers

From time to time clients want their mobile phone or tabletPOS terminal to remain stationary and look a little more substernal, the reasons for this vary but usually it’s because more than one user is logging onto the system. Stands for mobile POS are readily available through your provider.

If you wish to have a cash drawer to work alongside your mPOS, these work in exactly the same way as they would with a full EPOS solution. Upon pressing the associated button on the touch screen mPOS the cash drawer will open.


Businesses that use mPOS

Similarly to ePOS, mPOS tend to fall into two categories;

Mobile POS systems for retail
Mobile POS systems for restaurants and hospitality

Mobile POS for retailers

Business using mobile POS in retail do so for a more personal shopping experience, Apple stores are a prime example of this. mPOS advantages have been discussed in the article in depth, and these mostly are tailored to retail businesses. To find the best mobile POS system for your shop or store speak to our advisors today about the workings of your business. Together we can aid you in choosing a system that works for your business now and in the future.


Mobile restaurant POS system

Gone are the days of pen and paper ordering systems,mobile POS have been used in restaurants for some time now streamlining customer experience. However, it doesn’t just stop there mPOS systemscan be used for almost any hospitality business from mobile food trucks to large hotels and franchises or chains.

Mobile point of sale systems are no longer just for small businesses, they are used in all manner of industries from taxi companies to fast food chains to ecommerce stores. Mobile POS software can be adapted to suit the running’s of your business.

Mobile point of sale software

Mobile POS software runs with iPhone/iPad’s and also Android. The choice of which hardware you prefer is personal preference, it’s choosing the software behind it that’s important. Here we look at elements which you may wish to consider before deciding on which mPOS manufacturers and software to go for;


  • Firstly and most importantly, mobile POS and PCI compliance. Making sure you choose software that is safe and secure. It’s important to consider the protection of customer card details via encryption. We’ve put together a separate guide in relation to PCI compliance, however we always suggest the use of top rated mobile POS system Clients worry about vulnerability when using new mPOS software, ensuring you are PCI compliant can help to illuminate the potential risks.
  • Cloud mobile POS systems are wonderful as you can access live data from anywhere with an internet connection. However it is important to know how your chosen software works when it comes to ‘offline mode’ as sometimes things don’t go to plan. Consider what would happen in the event of the internet being down or a power failure?
  • Now this sounds obvious, but people often overlook mPOS functionality, most importantly for the staff users– this includes training, testing and also Some mPOS companies provide training for users prior to installation. Is the mPOS configuration important to you? Do you need your system to work alongside another back office programme? These are all facts to consider during mPOS comparisons.
  • Mobile POS and inventory – we all like to make our business lives easier so make sure the reporting side to the software is what your business requires. mPOS reviews from people in similar industries can help you understand whether or not your desired mobile POS system is the right one for you.

There are loads of popular mobile point of sale devices to choose from, however getting it right from a software point of view is imperative for the effective running of your business. To discuss your mPOS options in a little more depth speak to one of our industry experts today.


What types of payments can I accept through a wireless mobile POS terminal?

Accepting Credit and Visa debit via chip and pin and contactless card payments through an mPOS device is straight forward enough, but why stop there? Most systems also allow the use of loyalty and gift cards, however have you thought about being able to accept cryptocurrencies through your mPOS too? With the use of Bitcoin increasing within the UK and worldwide, some mPOS providers are now accepting crypto payments too.

mPOS alternatives

Point of sale mobile payments might not be for you, our experts can look at alternatives for you too, to ensure you make a full comparison before choosing what’s best for your business now and in the future. At Merchant Advice Service we work with industry experts from an array of backgrounds including; rate saving, high-risk, start-up businesses, high ticket items and online and ecommerce stores. Our experts will spend time with you discussing your needs and requirements to help you in all aspects of accepting card payments. Call us today, we’d be happy to help.


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Libby James

Libby James Co-founded Merchant Advice Service alongside David Bird in 2016. Her finance background, coupled with retail and customer service experience, gave Libby the drive to bring transparency and non-biased advice to the world of merchant services. Having come from the heavily regulated mortgage and insurance industry, Libby found it puzzling that other financial sectors lacked regulation and transparency leaving customers confused and unable to make informed decisions when it came to accepting card payments. This was soon to become Libby’s obsession!

With the help of some of the industry’s best, Libby began to research acquiring banks, complex terminology/regulation, and the problems customers experience within merchant services and payment gateway markets. She spent years on sourcing solutions for complex clients, which previously others were unable to assist with. Libby established relationships with brokers and banks which would soon form the cornerstone of Merchant Advice Service. As a result Libby has been featured in high-profile publications across the web.

Libby is proud to be the entrepreneur’s champion, supporting start-up businesses regularly. Her industry insights can often be found on LinkedIn where she provides free of charge advice and money saving pointers. It’s safe to say she has her finger on the pulse of everything card payments related.

Libby speaks of her experience in founding and running Merchant Advice Service…

‘Merchant Advice Service is one of my greatest achievements to date. We help business owners to overcome card processing issues which can become detrimental to their business. We assist SME’s in finding suitable card payments solutions, helping them create their vision. Each and every day is different, exciting and fore filling. As technology advances I can’t wait to see the way in which the merchant services market advances, and I’m pleased that our business will play a part in educating company owners along the way.’

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