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What is line busting? In retail store jargon, it means ringing up customers anywhere within the store wireless network. The idea is that customers do less waiting and more buying during peak season.

New tablets for mPOS in retail stores top managers’ wish lists every year. Now that nearly all credit and debit cards are EMV chip-enabled, it’s an opportune time to utilize NFC technology aboard tablets to conduct touchless transactions.

A word to the wise: save on costs by shopping around and making smarter tablet purchases.

  • Only buy devices that work with what you have in place.
  • Make sure to compare tablet pricing against what your POS solutions provider is charging. They already take enough with subscription and transaction fees.

Here’s what you can do when shopping for mPOS tablets.

Add to POS solutions already in place

To state the obvious, you want mobile systems fully integrated will your overall bookkeeping and personnel management toolset. We’ll assume you already use your POS setup to that end.

If your house, er, store, is in order with managing the main store POS hardware, the primary considerations to add mPOS becomes compatibility and cost.

High-level attributes of a good tablet for mPOS

  • A 3.5-inch headphone jack to accommodate card reader attachments
  • Protective covering and a sturdy build.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC) to support touchless EMV chip transactions
  • Display that’s large enough to negotiate while staying portable—tablets with 10-inch displays seem to hit the sweet spot by many vendor recommendations.

Buy mPOS tablets compatible with systems retail stores use

Shopkeep POS System

ShopKeep POS systems are built around Apple iOS

Vendor recommendations: ShopKeep works best on an iPad (5th gen), iPad Pro, or iPad Mini 4 running iOS 10.


iPad Air 9.7-inch with iOS 10 is around $350

Check pricing for the Apple iPads for Shopkeep.


Square POS supports iOS and Android devices.

Vendor recommendations: Apple iPad Pro or a Galaxy Tab A 10.1, respectively


Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Check pricing for Samsung Tablets for Square mPOS


Toast POS for food and beverage

Toast recommended mobile device of choice? Look for an unlocked 7-inch Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

QuickBooks Point of Sale requires a Windows 10 device

The accounting and inventory software works optimally with Microsoft Office programs, and Access databases.

A detachable is ideal, find a Microsoft tablet Surface 3 with Windows 10 for a good cost efficient choice

Microsoft Surface 3

There are other Windows 10 tablet options worthy of a look. HP Retail Case on a HP Pro Tablet, Lenovo ThinkPad X1, ASUS Transformer Pad will also work.

Add Extra Mobile Receipt Printers

Customers will need gift return receipts, so you will need to add receipt printers around the store to accommodate mPOS transactions. Bluetooth or Wi-Fi options are both available.

Star Mictronics sm-220Star Mictronics sm-220

Star Mictronics sm-220

When comparing receipt printers in the online store, look for Star Micronics receipt printers: SM-220 and SM-230 for mPOS; and the SM-TSP600 for iOS ecosystems. Also Epson TM-Series are mPOS favorites and offer both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Can you use a legacy tablet for mPOS?

In many cases you can. Apple Tablets should be 4th generation or newer, running iOS 10 or later— recommendations by Vend and ShopKeep. Apple Tablet deals page has iOS filters to help select the right hardware.

Be more wary of Android devices. Wipe the device before relegating it to mPOS use. Android OS is the leading operating system worldwide but its popularity has a negative side effect—a rash of Android cyberattacks launched from shady applications.

Securing a Wi-Fi Network for retail  If you’re managing your own Wi-Fi setup at your retail location, make sure you’re keeping your transactions secure and compliant with a four way segmentation network setup.

  • Change default service set identifier (SSID) passwords or passphrases for Access Points in the store.
  • Separate guest access, employee access, and access for software and hardware for processing payments.
  • Place hardware or server-based firewalls between wireless networks and payment systems.
  • Configure the firewall to restrict most traffic from Wi-Fi to terminal where cardholder storage is located.
  • Authenticate at device- and user- levels for access to terminals for cardholder storage and transactional data.

Veteran line busters: What are your go-to devices for mPOS operations?

Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

More posts by Adam Lovinus

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