Should you choose a standalone or integrated mpos? - person checking out with a mobile pos system

Should you choose a standalone or integrated mPOS?

Saturday, December 06, 2014

When it comes to running your business, technology makes it easier than ever to run your business just from your smartphone or tablet. This is especially true if your small business is always on the go. That’s where having a device that can help you take multiple payment options on the go is so essential. In this article, we’ll talk about mobile point of sale (mPOS) systems: how they work, how they can help your business, and how to choose the right system for your business. To start, we’ll define mPOS.

What’s an mPOS?

As a business owner, you know that a point of sale (POS) system is critical to retail store success. But, for businesses on the move, regular POS systems can be cumbersome. After all, who wants to lug a cash register around? So you need a system that can help you streamline your business on the go. To compete in the modern business landscape, it’s important to be able to accept payments in real-time wherever your customers are. With an mPOS system, your business can make any location a potential POS.

Put simply, mPOS systems turn a smartphone (like an iPhone) or tablet (like an iPad) into a wireless POS terminal. One of the biggest benefits to mPOS systems is that it allows a business owner to take their business on the move. From mobile food trucks that set up shop at a different location each day to service providers who visit customers’ homes, an mPOS system can provide a versatile payment processing solution to accepting card payments no matter where business takes you. For small businesses, it’s also a great way to accept credit card payments without the costs of a full POS system.

Converting a device into an mPOS system depends on the provider you choose and the hardware you implement. Some businesses utilize a companion card reader that plugs into your phone or tablet, while others require you to mount the device on a stand or POS hub. Usually, you’ll also need to download an mPOS app (for both iOS and Android) that allows you to control your mPOS and accept payments.

What are the benefits of an mPOS system? 

There are plenty of benefits to using an mPOS system. The most obvious is that your business can go wherever it needs. Whether it’s a mobile food truck, a catering business, a shop that focuses on trade shows, or a service business that visits your customers’ homes, an mPOS system can help you take your business with you. Here are a few other benefits to mPOS systems:

  • Ease of use – mPOS systems are typically easy to set up, making it easy for your business to start accepting payments on the go. Because many mPOS systems rely on smartphones, if you know how to operate a smartphone, you’ll most likely be able to get an mPOS system up and running. With less POS hardware than traditional POS systems, some systems can be set up in a matter of minutes. Some systems are plug and play, simply utilizing a smartphone or tablet and then plugging in a mobile credit card reader to get started.
  • Accept payments anywhere – As you’ve seen, mPOS systems make it easy for your business to accept payments wherever you are. In addition to outside brick and mortar stores, mPOS systems can also be used in stores to speed up the payment process to take care of more customers at your business.
  • Increase sales – With a system that makes it easier to accept payments, your business will most likely see an increase in sales. With greater payment flexibility and the abilityto accept near-field communication (NFC) and contactless payments, businesses who utilize an mPOS system can process customers more quickly and efficiently. That means your business can handle more customer orders in the same amount of time. In addition, the integration of mPOS tools can help you offer a customer loyalty program, which can help you retain customers and give them an incentive to return to your business.
By looking at the benefits of an mPOS system, you can see how one would benefit your business. But how do you know which system is right? In the next section, we’ll compare the types of mPOS systems to help you find the right system for your business.

Standalone vs integrated mPOS: Which is right for me?

There are two general types of mPOS systems – standalone mPOS and integrated mPOS. As their names suggest, they work differently. Standalone mPOS systems are those that link directly to a bank account. They are simple systems for those with limited mobile sales, perhaps for a sole entrepreneur who doesn’t have a need for reporting or the robust features.

In contrast, an integrated mPOS system provides an all-in-one mobile solution. Integrated systems have far more functionality – from inventory management and employee tracking features to collecting sales and customer data, creating reports, and more, all from your mobile device.

Choosing between a standalone mPOS and an integrated mPOS largely depends on how much you rely on the mPOS system to keep your business moving. The more you’ll rely on this system, the more it makes sense to look for a full-service mPOS system. Let’s look at the factors to consider when choosing the right one for you.

What to consider when choosing a full-service mPOS

There are a few key factors to consider when evaluating your mPOS options:


The first consideration is working with a company who values security. You’ll want to make sure your mPOS software is PCI compliant, which will then allow you to take EMV chip cards and mobile payments using NFC. This will allow you to take Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay. You will also want to make sure that your provider uses the following security features: 
  • Encryption: This process encodes data with a specific “key” that unlocks the data. The only parties that have access to this encryption key are the sender and the bank processing the transaction.
  • Tokenization: This process substitutes the customer’s card number with a random string of numbers. This random string of numbers is used in the transaction, so if the token gets intercepted, it can’t be used for any other transaction.
  • Dynamic authentication: This is using customer information to confirm transactions. Credit cards and debit cards with EMV chip technology are an example of dynamic authentication, as they’re more secure than magstripe cards.


Another important consideration is the ease of use for the mPOS system. The easier and simpler the interface, the less time it’ll take for you to get used to the processes and the less time it’ll take to train employees. Streamlining this process is valuable to both you the business owner and your employees. A simple process also ensures a good customer experience for your customers.

Data collection and management

Another consideration is the amount of data the mPOS system can collect for your business. This data can be very valuable, helping to improve your business’s operations and efficiency. By evaluating the sales data, businesses like yours can increase their performance and create more targeted strategies for customers in the future. These management tools can also help you keep an eye on and analyze your current inventory, giving you more insight into your product mix.


A key consideration for a full-service mPOS system is how the mPOS software integrates with other software your business already uses. This could be your payroll or accounting software, or even your inventory system. You’ll want to make sure your mPOS system is compatible with the systems you currently have in place. This can save you a lot of headache down the road.


While you might be focused on your business’s current state, it’s important to choose an mPOS system that can handle growth. That way, as your business grows, you won’t have to continually update your hardware.

Offline capability

If your business takes you where you may not have wi-fi internet access or a data signal, it’s important that your mPOS system has an offline mode to let you still accept payments, even without a connection.


Finally, it’s important to be aware of the fees for mPOS transactions. Depending on your payment processor, these fees could be separate and vary from your normal POS system. Again, the right system for your business could also come with monthly fees, fees for add-on services, expanded functionality, or even integrations with other software and tools. It’s best to talk specifically to an mPOS service provider to get an accurate estimate of the charges and fees. Researching these costs can help prevent sticker shock once you decide to implement an mPOS system at your business.

As you can see, there are important considerations when looking for a full-service mPOS system. For businesses on the go, be sure to evaluate all of your needs before choosing the best mPOS system for you.

Running any business is tough. But thanks to recent technology, mPOS systems can help you manage your business and accept payments on the go. From standalone mPOS units to more robust full-service solutions, there’s an mPOS system build that is perfect for your business.

Ready to work with a payment processor who can help you pick the perfect mobile POS system?

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