Can the iPad Become a Mobile Cash Register?

Thanks to major advancements in mobile payment technology, brick-and-mortar retailers are closer than ever to offering the convenience of online shopping in local stores. By swapping out old, clunky cash registers for iPads with mobile point-of-sale applications and credit card readers, many small businesses are taking advantage of today’s best technology.

Can an iPad really take the place of a traditional cash register, though, or would it be more trouble than it’s worth? Many retailers and even individual business people have chosen it after deciding on what they’d like to get out of it.


Accept Credit Cards and More with Mobile POS Apps for the iPad


When mobile POS apps originally debuted, they were primarily marketed as a way for individual entrepreneurs to accept payments on the fly. After all, lugging a cash register out to a flea market won’t work. The software has improved significantly, and these apps and the card-reading hardware that goes along with them do a lot more than process credit card payments.


Advantages of Replacing Cash Registers with iPads


Switching to an iPad can be a cost-effective move because these mobile tablets cost about one-fifth as much as traditional cash registers. Popular apps like Square Register are free, and the accompanying credit card readers usually are, too. An iPad on a stand takes up significantly less space than a regular cash register and can be moved with ease. The best mobile POS apps for the iPad can also accept cash payments, process loyalty card rewards, keep track of inventory and perform many other useful functions.


Disadvantages of Trading Cash Registers for iPads


As exciting and promising as swapping out an old cash register for an iPad setup may be, there are drawbacks. The app and card reader are usually free, but a business can expect to pay a fairly steep processing fee for every credit card transaction. In some instances, inventory features may be lacking or difficult to use. Because the technology is so new, customer support can be hit or miss. Mobile tablets are lightweight and easy to carry, so they are prime targets for thieves and need to be securely fastened to avoid issues.


Mobile cash registers have already been adopted by retailers like Urban Outfitters, and the technology isn’t going away any time soon. If anything, it will improve and become even more useful to brick-and-mortar retailers. By making the switch now, many business have placed themselves on the forefront of the latest advancements and are able to offer them to their customers quickly.




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Susan Peters