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What is an EPOS System?

Stephen Hart

Stephen Hart

Founder - Cardswitcher

Former - Chief Financial Officer @ Worldpay

Frustated with your current point-of-sale system? You’re not alone.

The slow sales processes. The outdated and inefficient systems. It can drive you up the wall!

If this all sounds familiar, an EPOS (Electric Point of Sale) system might be the answer to your problems.

In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about EPOS systems. We’ll define what an EPOS system is, break down its key components, how it works, clarify the key differences between EPOS and traditional POS systems, and give you tips on choosing the right one for your business.

By the end of this post, you'll have a clear understanding of EPOS systems and how to choose the best one to meet your business needs!


What is an EPOS system?

An EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) system is a digital, more modern version of a cash register that businesses use to process transactions and manage sales more efficiently.

It combines both hardware and software to make selling faster and more organised.

Unlike traditional cash registers, EPOS systems provide businesses with detailed insight into their operations, enabling better decision-making and improved efficiency.

EPOS systems can handle various tasks such as inventory management, sales reporting and customer data tracking.

For a visual introduction to EPOS systems, check out the video below.


What makes up an EPOS system?

An EPOS system comprises two essential components: software and hardware. Let’s delve deeper into what elements make up each of these and what functionality they offer.

EPOS Software Functionality

  • Inventory Management: Track and manage stock levels in real-time.
  • Sales Reporting: Generate detailed reports on sales performance.
  • Payment Processing: Accept various payment methods securely.
  • Customer Management: Maintain customer profiles and purchase history.
  • Integration: Seamlessly connect with other business software for enhanced functionality.

EPOS Hardware Functionality

  • Terminal: Main device for processing transactions and running software.
  • Card Reader: Device for accepting credit and debit card payments. Click the link to check out the 10 best card readers for small businesses.
  • Barcode Scanner: Tool for quickly scanning product barcodes.
  • Receipt Printer: Prints receipts for customers.
  • Cash Drawer: Secure compartment for storing cash during transactions.


Types of EPOS system

There are different types of EPOS systems to match various business needs:

  • Traditional EPOS Systems: These are used in fixed locations like retail stores. They include a terminal, barcode scanner, receipt printer, and cash drawer.
  • Mobile EPOS Systems: Ideal for businesses on the go, like food trucks or market stalls. They use mobile devices such as smartphones to process payments anywhere.
  • Tablet EPOS Systems: Perfect for restaurants and cafes. Tablets are used for taking orders and processing payments right at the table.

Each type of EPOS system offers specific benefits, making it easier to choose the right one for your business needs. Depending on your business type, you can mix and match EPOS system types.


How does an EPOS system work?

EPOS systems enhance traditional cash registers by streamlining various business operations. Here's how they work:

Key Features of EPOS Systems

  • Payment Processing: Accepts various payment methods offering customers more options.
  • Sales Tracking: Automatically records transactions, reducing manual reporting errors.
  • Inventory Management: Adjusts stock levels instantly after each sale, ensuring accurate inventory tracking.

Enhanced Transaction Process

  • Product Information Entry: Scanning a barcode or entering product info calculates the customer’s payment amount.
  • Real-Time Stock Updates: Instantly adjusts inventory levels post-transaction, aiding efficient stock management.
  • Customer and Sales Data Recording: Tracks customer loyalty, sales figures, stock levels, and employee productivity.

Reporting Capabilities

  • Comprehensive Reports: Generate detailed reports on sales, customer behaviour, inventory, and staff performance.
  • Business Insights: Uses accurate data to make informed decisions and improve overall business performance.

With these features, EPOS systems ease operations, reduce errors, and provide valuable business insights, enhancing both efficiency and customer satisfaction.


Is EPOS the same as POS?

No, EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) and POS (Point of Sale) systems are not the same. Here are the key differences:

EPOS vs POS: Key Differences

FeaturePOS (Point of Sale)EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale)
System TypeTraditional, often manual or basic digitalAdvanced, fully digital and electronic
Data HandlingManual entry, limited automationAutomated data processing and storage
Payment MethodsCash, basic card processingCash, credit/debit cards, mobile payments
Inventory ManagementManual trackingReal-time inventory updates and tracking
ReportingBasic sales recordsDetailed, real-time sales, inventory, and customer reports
Customer DataLimited or no customer data trackingComprehensive customer profiles and loyalty tracking
IntegrationStandalone systemIntegrates with other business systems (CRM, eCommerce)
User InterfaceSimple, often less intuitiveUser-friendly, intuitive interface with touch screen capabilities
FlexibilityFixed location, limited flexibilityMobile options available, flexible and adaptable
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How do I choose the right EPOS for my business?

We’ve done a bigger post outlining how to choose the right EPOS for your business, but we’ll do a quick summary here. Choosing the right EPOS system for your business involves comparing several key factors which we’ve detailed below:

Security Compliance

Ensure the EPOS system meets the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to protect customer payment information and maintain trust.

Customer Support

Look for a system that offers dependable customer support. Consider the availability (24/7 vs. business hours), types (phone, email, live chat), and responsiveness of the support team.

System Features

Compare the features of different EPOS systems to find one that meets your business needs. Key features to consider include:

  • Inventory management.
  • Sales reporting.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM).
  • Integration with other software (eCommerce, accounting, etc).
  • Multi-location capabilities if you have more than one store.


Evaluate the total cost of ownership, including:

  • Initial setup costs.
  • Monthly subscription fees.
  • Transaction fees.
  • Costs for additional hardware or software.

Ease of Use

Assess the user experience for both your employees and customers. Consider:

  • User-friendliness: Is the system intuitive and easy to navigate?
  • Training: How much training will your staff need to use the system effectively?
  • Efficiency: Does the system operate quickly and minimise wait times for customers?

Installation and Deployment

Check the setup and delivery process of the EPOS system. Important factors include:

  • Installation: Is the installation process straightforward or does it require professional help?
  • Delivery time: How long will it take to receive the hardware and start using the system?
  • Scalability: Can the system easily scale with your business as it grows?

By carefully comparing these factors, you can choose an EPOS system that enhances your business operations, improves customer service, and fits your budget!



Got more questions? Here are some frequently asked questions about EPOS systems:

What businesses use EPOS?

EPOS systems are commonly used by retail stores, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, and other businesses that need efficient transaction processing and inventory management.

What cards do EPOS tills accept?

EPOS tills typically accept all major credit and debit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, as well as contactless payments and mobile payment options like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

How do I set up an EPOS system?

  1. Choose the right EPOS provider.
  2. Install the EPOS software on your terminal or mobile device.
  3. Connect hardware components like card readers and barcode scanners.
  4. Configure the system to fit your business needs (e.g. adding products, setting prices).
  5. Train your staff on how to use the system effectively.

What are the advantages of EPOS?

  • Streamlined transaction processing.
  • Real-time inventory management.
  • Detailed sales and customer reports.
  • Enhanced customer service.
  • Integration with other business systems (e.g. eCommerce, accounting).

What are the disadvantages of EPOS?

  • Initial setup costs and ongoing subscription fees.
  • Potential technical issues requiring support.
  • Training needed for staff to use the system effectively.


Selecting the right EPOS system is crucial for optimising your business operations. Consider factors such as security compliance, system features, and ease of use to find a solution that fits your needs. 

CardSwitcher can help you compare card processing costs so you can make an informed decision about which EPOS system is best suited to your business. Click below to start comparing fees!

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Written by:
Stephen Hart

Stephen Hart

Founder - Cardswitcher

Former - Chief Financial Officer @ Worldpay

Stephen brings a wealth of experience honed through years in the financial sector, particularly in the card processing payments industry. His illustrious career spans key roles at PwC, Natwest, and the role of CFO at WorldPay, before going on to found card processing comparison site, CardSwitcher. He is passionate about helping growing businesses to understand the card processing landscape so they can make savvy financial decisions.