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Essential Payment Processing Hardware for Independent Retailers

Long checkout lines are the bane of every retailer. 86 percent of customers have abandoned their carts and left a store due to overly long lines in the past year. 

Clunky payment systems that lag on transactions delay customers and drain profits. Your store loses revenue and drives customers away without the right payment processing hardware. Yet many independent shops still rely on outdated credit card machines or basic cash registers that can’t keep pace with modern payment processing demands. So, how can you avoid frustrating your customers and speed up your checkout process?

This post walks you through the six essential payment processing hardware tools every independent retailer needs. We’ll also discuss the top providers and partners in point of sale hardware, giving you everything you need to modernize your payment systems and keep your customers smiling. 

Payment Processing Hardware: Providers and Basics 

Many businesses have an old-fashioned view of payment processing hardware. So, before we dive into the details, let’s establish one fact: Modern payment processing hardware is way more than just a simple cash register. The right solution should be the backbone of your store operations, helping you provide better customer service and gain valuable insights into your sales. 

You need a full point of sale (POS) solution

A complete POS system is like having a personal assistant who helps you manage everything from inventory to customer data. Using a simple cash register is like using a flip phone in the age of smartphones. With a modern POS system, you get a whole suite of tools to help you run your business more efficiently. 

Related Read: 5 Top Retail Software for Small Business

We’ll cover the six hardware tools you need later in this post, but remember, the right payment processing system is not just about the hardware — it's also about the software that powers it. A sound POS system will integrate with your inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM), and accounting software, giving you a comprehensive view of your business' performance. It'll help you track sales, manage customer data, and even offer loyalty programs to keep your customers coming back.

You also need the right partner for your payment processing hardware needs. Let’s examine three top providers, looking at features and pricing for each. 

Payment Processing Hardware Providers

1.  POS Nation

POS Nation offers a comprehensive, all-in-one point of sale solution designed to help retailers streamline operations, manage inventory, and enhance customer experiences. Offering a wide range of commercial-grade hardware and feature-rich software, POS Nation provides the tools every independent retailer needs to succeed.

Top Features:

  1. Inventory Management: Real-time inventory control, automatic purchase order generation, and mix-and-match pricing for optimized stock levels and increased sales.
  2. Simplified Transactions: Fast and efficient checkout process with item lookup, mobile checkout, and multiple payment options, including contactless payments.
  3. Customer Loyalty: Built-in customer tracking and rewards programs to turn new customers into loyal regulars.
  4. Payment Processing: In-house payment processing with competitive rates, POS Nation Merchant Services, contactless NFC and EMV chip payments, and more.
  5. Employee Management: Streamlined clock in/out functionality, user permissions, and payroll deduction reporting for efficient staff management.
  6. Enhanced Security: Exception reports, cash drawer counts, and integrated security camera footage to minimize shrinkage and protect your business.
  7. Comprehensive Reporting: Over 55 prebuilt reports with customization options and 24/7 access to gain valuable insights into your business performance.
  8. Seamless Integrations: Easy inventory import, website integration for e-commerce capabilities, and QuickBooks integration for simplified accounting.

Pricing: Get a custom price for your store using our transparent build and price tool.


KORONA POS is an advanced point of sale solution designed for retailers, quick-service businesses, and amusement parks. Some of the features KORONA POS offers include:

  1. Contactless NFC and EMV Chip Payments: Secure payment options to protect your business and customers from fraud.
  2. Business Insights and Recommendations: Access real-time reports and receive useful suggestions and automation tools for assortment cleanups and reorder level calculations.
  3. Employee Management: Evaluate staff performance, control access, and track time for a more efficient workforce.
  4. Customer Relationship Management: Build loyalty programs and manage customer relationships directly from your POS system.

Pricing: KORONA POS Retail starts at $69 per month.

3. Lightspeed

Lightspeed is a comprehensive retail platform designed for retailers, restaurants, and golf courses. Let’s examine a few of the features that make Lightspeed a top choice for enterprise-level retailers: 

  1. Multi-Location Management: Integrate and manage inventory, sales, and customer data across all your sales channels and stores.
  2. Streamlined Payments: Speed up checkout, simplify payment reconciliation, and accept various payment methods with Lightspeed Payments.
  3. Customizable Workflows: Build highly tailored workflows and capabilities using Lightspeed's open API.
  4. Real-time Insights: Gain visibility into your sales, product, and team performance with customizable reports accessible from anywhere, at any time.

Pricing: Lightspeed’s Standard package starts at $119 per month.

Retail POS System Buyers Guide

Touch PC 

The first piece of hardware you need is a touch PC. This device, also known as a touchscreen computer or an all-in-one PC, is a computer with a built-in touchscreen display that allows users to interact with the system using touch gestures.

The main function of a touch PC in a retail setting is to serve as the central hub for the point of sale system, allowing employees to manage transactions, inventory, customer data, and other crucial business operations through a user-friendly, touch-enabled interface.

Related Read: ​​5 Powerful Small Business Retail POS Systems

A touch PC is the backbone of any modern point of sale system. A touch PC can help you streamline operations and improve customer service, all while providing valuable insights into sales, inventory, and customer behavior.

Average Cost: The average cost of a touch PC for retail use can vary widely, depending on factors like screen size, processing power, and additional features. Generally, a mid-range touch PC suitable for a small to medium-sized retail business can cost anywhere from $999 to $1,500.


Next, you will need to invest in a pinpad. A pinpad, or PIN entry device (PED), is a secure hardware device for processing debit and credit card transactions. It allows customers to enter their personal identification number (PIN) securely during a payment transaction.

The primary function of a pinpad is to capture and encrypt a customer's PIN during a debit or credit card transaction, ensuring the security of sensitive financial information. This tool also facilitates authorization communication between the POS system and the payment processor.

Related Read: 5 Top Options for a Small Business Credit Card Terminal

If you intend to accept credit and debit card payments, you need a pinpad, end of story. This tool is a crucial component of any modern POS system, ensuring compliance with payment industry regulations and protecting both the retailer and the customer from potential fraud or data breaches.

You will also want to consider a pinpad with the ability to accept mobile payments. Mobile payments are on the rise in terms of popularity and public interest, and offering this option to your customers can help make your business appear more convenient and modern. There are two primary types of mobile payment hardware options available:

  • Full Wireless Credit Card Machine/POS System with Mobile Capabilities: These devices combine the functionality of a traditional credit card machine or POS system with the added advantage of mobile connectivity. 
  • Card Reader with Smart Device Integration: This option involves using a card reader that connects to a smart device, such as a smartphone or tablet, to process payments.

Average Cost: The cost of a pinpad can vary depending on the model and features, but a basic pinpad suitable for most independent retailers typically ranges from $400 to $500, though some providers (like POS Nation) will include a free current-generation pinpad with your POS hardware build.

Receipt Printer 

Thirdly, you should invest in a quality receipt printer. Your receipt printer is a hardware device designed to print transaction receipts, invoices, and other transactional documentation for customers and record-keeping purposes.

The primary function of a receipt printer is… you guessed it, printing receipts. The ideal printer for your business should generate receipts that include details such as purchased items, pricing, payment method, and other relevant information. 

Independent retailers need a receipt printer as part of their POS system to provide customers with physical proof of their transactions, maintain accurate records for accounting and tax purposes, and comply with legal requirements for documenting sales.

Average Cost: The cost of a receipt printer can vary based on factors like print speed, connectivity options, and paper size capabilities. On average, a thermal receipt printer suitable for most independent retailers can cost between $250 and $400.

Barcode Scanner 

Next, you should invest in a barcode scanner for your retail store. A barcode scanner is a hardware device used to read and decode the information encoded in various types of barcodes, such as UPC, EAN, and QR codes.

The primary function of a barcode scanner is to quickly and accurately capture product information, such as item codes, prices, and descriptions, by scanning the corresponding barcodes. You can use a barcode scanner to improve checkout efficiency, but that’s not all. A barcode scanner also helps manage inventory and minimize data entry errors across your business operations.  

Related Read: 5 Best Barcode Systems for Retail Shops

When you include a barcode scanner as part of your POS system, you can more efficiently manage your inventory, speed up the checkout process, and ensure accurate pricing and product information. This tool helps reduce errors, improve customer service, and provide valuable data for inventory tracking and reordering.

Average Cost: The cost of a barcode scanner can vary depending on factors like scanning technology (laser or image-based), wireless connectivity, and scanning range. A basic handheld barcode scanner suitable for most independent retailers typically ranges from $100 to $300.

Cash Drawer 

A classic piece of payment processing hardware you’ll need next is a durable cash drawer. A cash drawer, also known as a till or a cash register drawer, is a secure storage compartment used to hold and manage cash during payment transactions.

Even though the majority of modern payments are via credit or debit cards, you’ll still need the capability to accept cash payments in your store. Your cash drawer provides a secure and organized space for storing and managing cash during sales transactions. It also serves as a temporary storage for checks, vouchers, and other non-cash payment methods, making it easier to manage and balance funds at the end of each business day.

Related Read: 6 Differences Between Cash Registers and POS Systems You Need To Know

A cash drawer is critical to your store because it helps maintain accountability, reduces the risk of misplaced funds, and facilitates end-of-day cash management and reconciliation. Unless you plan to implement a “paperless transactions only” policy in your store, you’ll need a cash drawer. 

Average Cost: The cost of a cash drawer can vary depending on factors like size, security features, and integration with the POS system. On average, a simple cash drawer suitable for most independent retailers can cost between $100 and $300.

Label Printer 

Finally, you may want to integrate a label printer with your payment processing hardware. A label printer is a specialized hardware device designed to print labels, tags, and stickers with various types of information, such as barcodes, product descriptions, pricing, and branding.

Your label printer can generate professional-looking labels that can be used for inventory management, product identification, pricing, and branding purposes. Having a custom label printer on-site allows retailers to create customized labels with product information, barcodes, and branding elements, improving organization and customer experience.

Related Read: 5 POS Register System Features to Use This Year

Custom labels can provide customers with critical product information, but that’s not all they do. Customized labels can speed up inventory and payment processing for these sales if you intend to bundle items into custom kits or package-deals. Overall, using a label printer in your store helps maintain an organized and professional appearance for products and improves efficiency in tracking inventory.

Average Cost: The cost of a label printer can vary depending on factors like print quality, speed, connectivity options, and label size capabilities. A basic thermal label printer suitable for most independent retailers typically ranges from $200 to $500.

The Best Payment Processing Hardware for Your Business 

The six payment processing hardware tools in this post all offer the features and functionality independent retailers like you need to succeed. If investing in six separate pieces of hardware sounds expensive — and overwhelming — there’s a better way.

Rather than investing in disparate payment systems and hardware, retailers can save significant time and money by purchasing an all-in-one point of sale bundle. POS Nation allows small business owners to create customized POS packages with built-in payment processing suites tailored to their needs. We combine essential hardware like receipt printers, cash drawers, barcode scanners, and label makers into a single intuitive system. With flexible software integrations, POS Nation ensures seamless compatibility with your existing accounting, payroll, inventory, and other platforms.

Before choosing a POS solution, access our detailed buyer’s guide outlining what to consider, from hardware specs to software capabilities. You can also review our custom package building and competitive financing options to see how our payment processing and point of sale systems can help you grow your business. 

Retail POS System Buyers Guide


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