QuickBooks POS Review: Locally Installed POS for Retailers
This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale (POS) is a PC-based standalone POS system that lets you manage in-store and ecommerce transactions. Features include contactless payments, ecommerce integrations, and inventory and customer data management. Naturally, it integrates with other QuickBooks products.
After testing the program, we found QuickBooks POS best suited for midsize retailers with storefronts—specifically, those wanting locally installed software and using QuickBooks for accounting.
What We Like
- Integrates with QuickBooks products
- One-time fee with free software upgrade
- Easy integration of contactless payments
- Includes a free mobile payment app
- Higher upfront cost than subscription-based POS software
- Locked into QuickBooks Payments
- Does not work on iPad
- Ecommerce and live support costs extra
- QuickBooks Plans (one-time purchase):
- Base: $1,200
- Pro: $1,700
- Multi-Store: $1,900
- Free 30-day trial
- Offers promotional discounts
- Offers 30-day free trial
- Payment Processing: $0–$20/month
- Swipe/Dip: 2.3% + 25 cents to 2.7% + 25 cents
- Swipe/Dip w/PIN: 1% + 25 cents
- Keyed-in: 3.2% + 25 cents to 3.5% + 25 cents
- Hardware: PIN Pad $389 (offered free during special promotions)
When To Use QuickBooks POS
I have had the chance to use QuickBooks POS, testing its features for some time, and I find that it does an excellent job with managing inventory and has strong customer relationship management tools.
The Pro and Multi-Store versions expand your inventory control capabilities enough to handle a complex range of products and services. However, you need to pay extra for the ecommerce integration. Overall QuickBooks’ desktop POS system offers enough features to scale with growing retail businesses.
Overall, QuickBooks is best for:
- QuickBooks users: QuickBooks POS natively integrates with the QuickBooks ecosystem, making accounting and creating comprehensive financial reports easier.
- Small brick-and-mortar retail stores: This is a standalone system that runs on a computer, making it best for small retailers or shops with a single cash register.
- Busy specialty retail businesses: For niche retailers with complex products and services such as sporting goods and bike shops, QuickBooks Pro version provides the inventory features to efficiently handle custom work orders and rentals and trade-ins.
- Businesses that prefer a non-subscription POS software: Because QuickBooks is not a subscription service, you need to pay for the software only once. However, if you want a full-featured free POS with payment services, then we recommend Square.
When QuickBooks POS Would Not Be a Good Fit
Typically, we prefer cloud POS systems because of their flexibility, ability to be accessed from anywhere, and potential to grow with your business. For this reason, QuickBooks did not make our list of the best POS systems or the best retail POS systems. We recommend other providers for the following:
- Businesses that prefer an online or cloud-based POS solution: QuickBooks POS is standalone software. If you prefer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), then QuickBooks accounting has partnered with Shopify. Otherwise, check out our top choices for cloud-based POS systems, including Lightspeed and Square .
- Retailers with a busy online store: While QuickBooks does have an ecommerce integration, it has an additional monthly fee. It’s cheaper and easier to find a POS system that includes ecommerce such as one of these multichannel POS systems like Shopify.
- Businesses that sell age-restricted items: Since it lacks tools to alert cashiers to check for ID or track customer ages, we don’t recommend QuickBooks for liquor stores, convenience stores, wineries, or similar businesses. KORONA POS is one of our recommended alternatives.
- iPad users: QuickBooks POS is a PC-run program. If you prefer to use an iPad, then check out our buyers’ guide on the best iPad POS systems. Our top recommendations include Square, Lightspeed, and Shopify.
QuickBooks POS Alternatives
Best for: Businesses with a preferred merchant account
Best for: Businesses needing free mobile and in-store POS
Best for: Businesses with large, complex inventory looking for a cloud-based POS
Best for: Convenience stores or stores with food or age-restricted products
Monthly fee from: $0
Base monthly fee: $0
Base monthly fee: $69
Monthly fee from: $59
Hardware from: $49
Hardware from: $49
Hardware from: $49
Hardware from: $1,300
If you’re not sure QuickBooks POS is right for you, check out our reviews of other popular retail POS systems.
QuickBooks POS Pricing
As a standalone POS system, QuickBooks only requires a one-time payment for the software. The price compares to one or two years’ worth of cloud-based POS systems, and you get free upgrades. You can also try the full version of QuickBooks POS with its 30-day free trial.
QuickBooks also often advertises promotional discounts. For instance, QuickBooks recently had a 50% Independence Day discount which also came with a free payment terminal.
Cost: $1,200 (30-day trial)
What you can do:
Cost: $1,700 (30-day trial)
What you can do:
Cost: $1,900 (30-day trial)
What you can do:
QuickBooks POS Payments
QuickBooks Payments allows you to process payments of any kind, from ACH bank transfers to credit cards and touchless payments like Apple Pay. Rates differ depending on whether you pay as you go or purchase a monthly plan for lower rates. You can also then download QuickBooks GoPayment for POS on mobile for on-the-go payments and have it sync with your desktop version.
Pay As You Go
$20 per month
2.7% + 25 cents
2.3% + 25 cents
3.5% + 25 cents
3.2% + 25 cents
Swipe/Dip with PIN
1% + 25 cents
1% + 25 cents
Custom payment plans are also available for businesses that process high-volume transactions.
This is important since QuickBooks POS’ flat-rate transaction fees can become expensive if you regularly process more than $10,000 in sales per month. If you do, it’s important that you negotiate for wholesale interchange-plus rates. Otherwise, consider alternative POS such as KORONA or Clover, which will let you choose a payment processor that offers wholesale transaction pricing.
QuickBooks POS Hardware
- Windows-based system
- Purchase hardware from Intuit or use recommended third-party hardware
The most important hardware you need to start running your business with QuickBooks POS is the payment terminal. There are also stands available if you download the software on a tablet instead of a laptop. Barcode readers will help you to ring up sales and manage your inventory. Other accessories include cash registers, printers, and customer displays.
QuickBooks Standout Features
QuickBooks does not offer setup services. So, you need to input all the information yourself, although you can bulk upload through QuickBooks or a CSV file. It offers an excellent array of retail features, especially in the Pro and Multi-Store programs, which Intuit continues to update.
Purchase Order Management
QuickBooks POS offers a complete suite of purchase order management tools—from managing vendor listings to receiving orders with the POS Pro account. It creates a list of product suggestions that need reordering based on your set reorder point level and automatically prepares a purchase order request per vendor. You can also track items that need returning to the vendor, and QuickBooks prepares a return voucher that you can send along when you ship the products.
While the system only offers partial automation, I felt that being able to manually edit the quantity for partial receiving and returning of products is a welcome feature that gives you added control.
QuickBooks POS’ inventory management feature allows you to create and track a variety of products and services with variants, track cost per item, assign tax rates, and set reorder points, discounts, and markup levels. The system also automatically adjusts product quantity as you complete sales, receive orders, and process returns. You also have the option to choose which products will be made available for online and mobile sales.
There are a lot of customization features available for inventory; however, the system does not have an automatic kitting function. I spent some time looking for ways to associate one product with another while creating a new item category without success.
QuickBooks POS is designed to help you manage custom work orders as well as sales orders and layaways. In all three scenarios, the system lets you allocate available inventory, put them on hold, and assign them to a customer. Once the customer is ready to receive the orders, you can remove the products on hold by accepting payment and issuing a receipt. It also has a serialization function if you plan on selling products that require you to monitor warranty.
What I loved about this feature are the possibilities that the system provides. You can choose between starting the work order from the customer’s profile or from an inventory item (for example: if your business sells customized apparel). Unfortunately, QuickBooks POS does not support ingredient level tracking—meaning you won’t be able to automatically assign a set of products to a custom order. You will need to manually list the items one at a time for every request.
You can process direct sales, installments, and refunds with QuickBooks. It is designed so you can easily ring up items using a barcode scanner or by looking them up in the inventory. You can accept payments from cash and check to credit cards and touchless payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Upgraded versions of QuickBooks POS also allow invoicing, billing, and layaway for customers. You can also email receipts and add coupons to receipts to bring customers back.
Overall, QuickBooks’ sales processing feature is simple and intuitive. It’s easy enough to use, and the register is well organized so tracking different types of sales transactions will not take up so much time. However, the ability to upload images is only available for multi store versions so you won’t be able to counter-check the actual product against what item is presented at checkout unless you pay extra for this feature.
The customer management feature allows you to create and manage your customer list, process sales and returns, and set up customer special orders. Each customer record will display the customer’s contact information, preferred shipping address, rewards status, and purchase history. You also have the option to set special discounts for each customer and track the customer as a company, which will then prompt you to specify a company name.
Users get a number of customization options for this feature, including the ability to print customer ID cards and create “letters” via Microsoft Word for selected customers. This seems slightly outdated, although easy to repurpose. The QuickBooks POS Pro account also gives you a rewards management functionality that is simple to set up and can prompt the cashier to ask the customer if they would like to be signed up for the rewards program during checkout. Unfortunately, you can only set up one rewards program at a time.
QuickBooks provides templated reports with the basic QuickBooks POS account. You will need a higher version if you want purchase order, employee performance, and customized report templates. All QuickBooks POS versions can run reports and modify them by setting filters, choosing which rows and columns to display, and even limit access based on employee permission.
The interface seems a little clunky, although I find small features such as launching a separate tab to view the sales history per product quite useful and easy to understand. It also allows you to customize the look of your report (headers, footers, displayed browns and columns) before exporting it to a spreadsheet.
QuickBooks also offers a mobile payments option with QuickBooks GoPayment. This feature allows you to ring sales using your mobile device, and both your inventory and sales records are updated in real time. It’s an efficient solution for reducing long queues in your store, offering curbside pickup, or making a sale during offsite events like trade shows, pop-up shops, and street market fairs.
Learn more about mobile payments in our roundup of the best mobile credit card processors.
QuickBooks POS’ ecommerce integration is an add-on that will sync your online store with QuickBooks POS Desktop, so you can manage inventory, sales, and customer information from either source. Powered by Webgility, the integration works with many popular marketplaces and shopping cart programs, from Amazon to WooCommerce (ecommerce integration starts at $39 per month). If you need a mobile app, download the QuickBooks GoPayment app and sync it through Intuit’s payment program.
Employee management is found in the POS Pro and Multi-Store versions. You can set permissions and track commissions for your employees. It also has a time clock for tracking hours, so you can make sure you’re paying employees for time worked. Overall, this feature is easy and simple to use.
The control function could be improved if the system can prevent employees from logging in before or beyond their shift, on top of having the ability to override and log them out of the system. And while QuickBooks POS has a built-in timeclock function, you will need a third-party shift management application.
QuickBooks POS Ease of Use
- The interface is overall intuitive, but the lack of product photos in the cheaper versions detracts from ease of use.
- Bulk import of data is available.
- Administrative functions are easy to use.
- General support consists of how-to guides, webinars, chat, and an online forum.
- Phone support costs extra.
QuickBooks is easy to set up, but you will have to do it yourself. You can find the user guide online to walk you through the process of adding items, customers, taxes, and more. You can import much of the data from QuickBooks Desktop or import it from an Excel spreadsheet or text file.
Windows 10, all editions including 64-bit, natively installed
Windows 8.1 (Update 1) all editions including
64-bit, natively installed
Windows Server 2016
Windows Server 2012 R2
Acer® Switch 5
Microsoft® Surface Pro 3
Microsoft® Surface Go
Samsung® Galaxy Tab Pro S
1 GB of disk space (additional space required for data files)
Multiple users: 2.8 GHz processor (3.5 GHz recommended)
Display: Optimized for 1280×768 screen resolution or higher
4X DVD ROM drive required for DVD installations (unless user is downloading QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale from Intuit Server)
Single User Requirements
At least 4GB of RAM (6-8 GB recommended) for a single workstation installation
2.0 GHz processor (2.8 GHz recommended)
Multi User Requirements
8 GB of RAM are recommended for better performance on the Point of Sale server workstation
2.8 GHz processor (3.5 GHz recommended)
Requires a separate QuickBooks POS user license with the same version and level.
Even though it’s standalone software, you don’t need to worry about it getting outdated. Intuit offers updates, which you can either manually download or set up to have done automatically as they become available.
Unless you have the multistore version, QuickBooks POS does not have photo menus of items. Rather, you can use a barcode scanner or key an item description into the search bar. Unfortunately, this makes the interface more dated and less intuitive than many POS systems. It’s easy to process payments, however, and everything integrates with your QuickBooks accounting software.
That said, there are a number of features that I particularly liked. The buttons at the left can be customized and are intuitive enough to adapt as you move from one management tab to another. There’s also an end-of-day function which you can set to automatically run or remind employees to reconcile their registers, back up data, and integrate with QuickBooks Accounting.
Best of all is the messaging section that automatically reminds you of pending tasks and processes that require attention. You and your employees can even leave your own messages there for the next user to find.
QuickBooks offers a wide range of support options. Online, you can access the support portal to find how-to articles, view instructional videos (for QuickBooks accounting), attend webinars, or ask questions via the forum. Even though there is a separate page for QuickBooks POS, clicking or searching nonetheless results in articles that apply to other products as well. We, at times, found it easier to use Google and follow the results to the QuickBooks help page. Further, several times, links to additional information were circular or led to Page Not Found.
You can access chat support Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time. To get phone support, you need to purchase a plan. The support plans come with online backup of your data, however, so factor that in when deciding whether it’s worth the price. The expert assistance is only available Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific time.
What Users Think of QuickBooks POS
QuickBooks POS user reviews went down slightly since our last update, with only a handful of additional responses:
- Software Advice: 3.88 out of 5 based on more than 160 reviews.
- G2: 4 out of 5 based on less than 100 reviews.
These scores are lower than many of the top POS software systems we review but still strong enough to make the software worth considering. Finances Online also has a Customer Satisfaction Algorithm that gathers reviews, comments, and opinions from QuickBooks POS users across the internet. According to this, QuickBooks POS continues to hold an 88% user satisfaction rating.
Users generally praised the simplicity and back-end features. Naturally, integration with QuickBooks was a hit, and users also like the inventory and vendor functions, as well as layaway. Some, however, were not satisfied with the mobile (GoPayment) function. And, while others complained about a dated-looking interface, most said it was easy to navigate and well-organized. Customer support was either very good or very bad.
Users Don’t Like
Easy to use and fully customizable
Costly one-time purchase
Good breadth of features for retail
Unnecessary pop-ups after a customer's enrollment has expired in the rewards system
Great interaction between QuickBooks and QuickBooks POS
Sometimes lags or glitches; often crashes
For QuickBooks users who have Desktop for Windows and need a basic but full-featured POS software for retail, the QuickBooks POS system is worth considering. The programs are standalone but well-priced and come with free updates.
It handles the most important sales, inventory, and customer service functions and can work for multiple stores, employee management, promotions, and more. The system looks a little dated and lacks features to support restaurants or convenience stores but is overall a strong software.