Mobile Point of Sale: System Devices & Technology Explained

Revel Blog | Julie Holkeboer | June 9, 2020 |

iPad POS Technology

Mobile point of sale applications, sometimes known as mPOS apps, are an example of advancements in technology that are changing consumer habits, creating a culture of convenience and simplicity.

The innovation allows consumers to make fast, safe, and simple purchases on-the-go, while opening up a whole new world for small and large businesses. Mobile POS systems are a win-win for everyone: restaurant and retail giants have used them to expand their customer base, while micro-merchants can add them to enjoy increased opportunities with the ability to accept payments anywhere.

As beneficial as they may be, many businesses do not have a clear understanding of mobile point of sale systems and the best options for their type of transactions. Here we discuss mPOS mobile payments to help you make an informed decision. 

What is a Mobile Point of Sale System?

A mobile point of sale is a smartphone, tablet, or dedicated wireless device that performs the functions of a cash register or electronic point-of-sale terminal wirelessly. A portable POS system is an ideal way for businesses to process payments on-the-go and can be paired with hardware such as a credit card reader, a barcode scanner, and a cash drawer.

In the past, businesses would accept payments in cash at the register, which would then be counted and reported manually. This was not only a time-consuming process but also one that opened up accounting to the possibility of error and theft. On top of that, many small businesses could only exclusively accept cash payments. This closed them off from customers who would want to pay by card. Technology has evolved a great deal since those days. And with mPOS solutions, sellers can harness the power of their POS anywhere in a completely optimized process. 

The majority of mobile POS companies run their software on tablets like the iPad or an Android tablet. In fact, its use in the restaurant and retail sectors was heavily influenced by the advent of the Apple iPad. The iPad was promoted as a tool for both businesses and personal use, and apps to support this usage were developed as a result. It quickly became a central point for services, such as printing and scanning, and transformed into a viable option for a point of sale system. 

Is an mPOS Similar to Mobile Payments?

A mobile point of sale system is not to be confused with mobile payments. The two terms are wrongly used interchangeably, which unfortunately causes many businesses to choose point of sale technology that does not fully meet their needs.

Mobile payments is a general term used to refer to all payment options that are available via mobile devices. This includes mobile point of sale, meaning everything from mobile wallets to mobile transfer categorizes as a mobile payment option. While some mobile payment technologies are sufficient for small businesses, they lack the sophistication of mPOS systems. Complete systems include helpful features like inventory management and reporting analytics. Skipping on these features can be costly to businesses in the long run. 

How mPOS is Revolutionizing the Restaurant & Retail Industries

Mobile POS systems have been installed in thousands of businesses due to their convenience, but what’s even more beneficial to business owners in the restaurant and retail industries are their supplementary tools. Most mPOS systems come with a whole suite of products that include sales analytics, employee tools, POS hardware, and inventory management.

When it comes to restaurant and retail POS systems, there are various industry-specific advantages of mPOS technology.

Time-Saving Features

As the name suggests, mobile POS technology isn't stationary. This means retailers and restaurateurs can deploy staff to meet customers for check out while they are still in line, reducing traffic volume and wait times for traditional registers. Wait times are a critical factor that influences shoppers' decision to shop at your store (or not). Furthermore, merchants can adjust the number of operating POS terminals according to in-store traffic. This comes in handy during peak hours.

Increased Sales Opportunities

Mobile POS systems create transaction opportunities anytime and anywhere: whether in the store, or at promotional booths. A shopper gets what they want on the spot. This has made it easier for restaurants and retailers who seek brand exposure to sell at pop-up style events like farmers' markets and flea markets.

Loyalty Programs

Most mPOS systems support loyalty programs and easy sign-ups for customer relationship management (CRM), which allow merchants to reward loyal customers. These make customers feel valued which can ultimately help drive sales. The data derived can also be used to target shoppers with special offers and discounts that positively influence purchasing behavior.

Increased Security

Cash isn’t king anymore. The spread of COVID-19 prompted a surge in contactless payment options, and merchants can accept a variety of payments securely with encrypted transactions that don’t store the customer’s card data. Furthermore, the possibility of robbery is reduced as less cash needs to be stored on location. 

How mPOS is Changing the Restaurant Industry

A lot of restaurant owners, especially owners of small and single-location establishments, ask, “What is an mPOS device’s benefit to me?” They prefer to stick to bulky, but more familiar legacy systems. Adopting an mPOS system is a less intimidating and practical alternative once you understand the numerous benefits to them.


The tablets used in mPOS systems come with user-friendly interfaces that both staff and customers can use. Setting up is also easy to do and restaurant owners often do it themselves without much input from the service provider. 

Enhanced Customer Experience

Because the restaurant server is able to meet the customer where they are and submit their orders in a timely manner, the customer is likely to have a pleasant experience. One report even showed that using mPOS software can lead to an increase in tips. 

How to Choose the Best mPOS System for your Business

Choosing the right POS solution with mobile-first options could save you a lot of time and money. You should make sure you select one with the best possible tools for running and growing your business. Here’s what you should look for when shopping: 


The safety and security of you and your customers’ sensitive information is a top priority—especially when it comes to payments. A good mPOS is one that is PCI compliant and lets you take encrypted payments. 


A simple interface that your employees and customers can use without a steep learning curve will save you time and is much more pleasant to use. 


Modern POS systems are preferred because they are much more responsive than legacy registers. Look for an intuitive and reliable system that can adapt to your growing business needs. 

Clear Pricing and Packages

It’s important for your mobile POS to be affordable, so when buying a system be wary of providers who give partial pricing information. Ask about processing fees, add-ons, monthly payments, and the level of support to expect. Choose a service that offers regular updates and the right cross-section of supported features and pricing for your business. 

Affordable mPOS Systems for Your Business

Revel's mobile order takers are trusted mPOS solutions for small and large businesses globally, allowing merchants to meet customers where they are with first-class service.

Other features like Revel's customer display system (CDS) help to keep lines moving, increase order accuracy, and improve efficiency. Revel's kitchen display system (KDS) is specially tailored for restaurants with on-screen division of station-specific prep tasks and color-coded alerts to reduce errors and waste. This customizable technology allows all types of businesses to build the right solution for their operations. Merchants can include the features and third-party integrations they desire, such as payment processing, loyalty programs, and advanced reporting.

A feature-rich POS ensures a complete platform that will scale with your business, and our dedicated team is always on hand to guide implementation and provide ongoing support to fully utilize your mPOS. 

As mobile technology continues to evolve, so too does the use of mPOS programs. These solutions will only continue to grow in popularity and business owners would do well to adapt to the times. Hopefully this article has reduced any confusion around the meaning of mobile POS and you are better equipped to choose a platform that not only fulfills your current business needs, but also evolves with the technology’s potential.

Revel Systems provides a dynamic platform with powerful POS technology. Contact Revel today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your business goals.