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What is a POS Terminal?

A point-of-sale (POS) terminal is the hardware required for a business to process payments. Whether you use a mobile card reader or an in-store register, a POS terminal allows you to collect and process payments. With different types of terminals available, collecting and processing payments has never been easier.

What Does a POS Terminal Do?

A POS terminal speeds up and simplifies the sales process for not only your business but also for customers. Your business’s POS terminal will include a few primary functions.

Accepting & Processing Payments

POS terminals have the capabilities and functionalities to accept various forms of payment. These forms of payment include credit/debit cards, cash, contactless payments, and even Apple Pay or Google Pay. The POS terminal will seamlessly transfer the funds required for the transaction from the customer’s bank account to your business if cash is not used.

Recording Transactions & Sales Data

When the transaction is complete, your POS terminal will automatically record the transaction for your internal records. This information is typically used for inventory management and tax purposes.

Once the transaction is complete and the payment has been processed, your POS terminal will generate a receipt as proof of sale. This can be done physically with a receipt printer or digitally. 

What Are the Types of POS Terminals?

The type of POS terminal your business needs is dependent on how you do business with customers. There are three main types of POS terminals.

Mobile POS Terminals

Mobile POS terminals allow your business to accept payments easily on the go. At Coast 2 Coast, we offer a wide variety of contactless chip and card readers, as well as other mobile terminal options. If you are meeting with customers outside of a typical retail environment, then this type may be for you.

Card scanner clover go - mobile pos terminal

Retail POS Terminals

Retail POS terminals are typically used in-store. If you run a retail business with a physical location, this would be the best option for you. Check out our selection of retail POS terminal options from PAX, Ingenico, Cover, and many more!

Clover POS System

Virtual POS Terminals

If you do business primarily online, the virtual POS terminal would make the most sense for your business. A virtual POS terminal allows your business to easily accept and process payments online or over the phone. At Coast 2 Coast, we offer efficient virtual POS terminal options!

How to Choose the Right POS Terminal For Your Business

Choosing the right POS terminal for your business may be a daunting task. Review our list of considerations to take into account when determining which POS terminal fits best for your business.

Business Needs

When customers have selected which items they want to purchase, what is the checkout process? Do they checkout online, in-store, or at a different location? Which checkout process would be the most efficient and streamlined based on your product offering? Answering these questions will help you find the right type of POS terminal.

Accepted Payments

What types of payments does your business accept? This is a very important factor since some terminals cannot accept certain types of payments. For example, if your company primarily conducts business online, then it will be impossible for you to accept cash – making a retail terminal impossible. But if you sell goods at a farmers market, then a mobile POS terminal will make it easy for you to accept credit and debit card payments with a contactless card reader.


Another factor to consider is the POS terminal cost. A retail terminal will typically cost the most but allows you to accept most types of payment methods in-store. This is because, with a retail POS terminal, you will also need to purchase a barcode scanner, receipt printer, cash register, and most likely some type of tablet. 


The most cost-effective option is a virtual terminal since virtually no hardware is required. This also puts a mobile POS terminal right in the middle. Once again, if you are a small business that accepts payments on the go, then a mobile POS terminal is the best option for you.

If you would like assistance determining which POS terminal is right for your business, get in touch with Coast 2 Coast Payments to get started!

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