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Cloud-Based POS vs. Traditional POS

Updated: May 26, 2018

Can’t decide which type of POS system should you buy? Well, you have come to the right place as we will weigh the pros and cons of each system in this article.

It is important for you to understand the difference between traditional and cloud-based POS systems so that you can choose the system that fits the needs of your business. Let’s discuss both types of systems.

Traditional POS systems use the local servers to store data. An example would be files stored in your personal computer. They are also known as “legacy” or “on-premise” systems.

On the other hand, cloud-based POS systems can help you to access your information anytime (from anywhere) as the data is stored on remote servers. Since the cloud is everywhere, all you need is an internet connection to access your files.


Traditional POS systems are usually more expensive than cloud-based POS systems. Traditional POS systems are usually more pricey because you need to purchase upfront hardware, redundant back up hardware and sometimes have someone install all of these components. On the other hand, cloud based solutions can usually run using any recent computer, tablet or smartphone so there are no hardware costs or large set up fees.


The charges for most cloud-based POS systems are on a monthly basis. Traditional POS systems have an upfront license fee and then charge maintenance fees every month. Make sure to find out about any hidden pricing when choosing your software. Often software providers will have one cost for a base package and then add additional charges for extra features.


In traditional POS systems the software is installed on-premise with specific hardware. In cloud-based POS systems the software is hosted online and you are given an account to log into.


If you choose a cloud-based POS system, then you have the flexibility to access your data from any computer, tablet or smart phone with an internet connection. Usually these systems do not require any specific hardware. On the other hand traditional POS systems require stationary terminals and other hardware for the system to operate. In a lot of cases the software provider will force you to purchase all hardware from them so make sure you understand the costs of all replacement hardware such as terminals or bar code scanners.

Data Storage

Cloud-based POS systems have remote cloud servers to store all the data. The upside to this is that your data is secure and backed up at all times, the potentially nerve wracking part is that if you lose your internet connection you temporarily lose access to your data. Traditional POS systems have an internal back office server. The positive here is that even without the internet you always have access to your information. The concern with this approach is that if your hardware ever fails you can lose all of your information for good.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Both POS Systems

Since all the data is on the cloud, without an internet connection you cannot access cloud-based POS systems. If there is no electricity you cannot access traditional POS systems as all the data is on computer hardware which needs electricity to operate. You can’t choose a traditional POS system if you have a low budget. A cloud-based POS system is cheaper because it is easier to maintain and there is no problem of managing a back-end office where all the computer hardware is stored. Another good reason for choosing a cloud-based POS system is that there are no long-term contracts, you can usually sign up on a pay as you go service model. This is a great feature that these systems offer which make them the first choice of many people. Though both system types have their pros and cons the final decision needs to be made by you based on your business. For help with deciding which is best for you please reach out to our team using our contact form or commenting below and we would be happy to help you make this decision.

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