5.13.2021

Epos Now vs. Lightspeed

Written by Austin Chegini

epos now vs lightspeed

Whether you operate a retail store or hospitality business, technology has never played a more important role in daily affairs. From processing sales to managing personnel, we rely on devices to carry out these tasks and log all relevant data. And no device is more useful than the point of sale. 

Epos Now and Lightspeed are two leading point of sale companies. They both offer hardware and software to make doing business easier, but which POS system is better?

We compare Epos Now vs. Lightspeed to help you find the most useful POS for your business. 

Epos Now vs. Lightspeed: Overview

Epos Now launched in 2011 with the goal of offering a better point of sale experience for businesses. While the company started in the United Kingdom, Epos Now has offices in the United States and Australia and serves over 40,000 businesses across 71 countries. 

Some more about Epos Now:

  • The POS software runs on iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems 
  • Compatible with a variety of devices, including tablets and computers
  • A cloud-based POS system with included offline mode
  • Only one software plan that includes the core POS features for retail and hospitality
  • Customers can choose from a range of third-party payment processors
  • Connects with dozens of applications through its app store

Lightspeed is a Canadian company that launched in 2013. Since then, the company has expanded worldwide, providing hardware and software to over 115,000 businesses.

Some more about Lightspeed:

  • Only runs on iOS and Apple iPad tablets
  • Tiered software plans, must pay more to unlock features like analytics and e-commerce
  • Cloud POS system, but you can pay for a local offline server
  • Customers can use Lightspeed Payments or choose from a region limited number of third-party payment processors 
  • Plenty of integrations through its app store

Epos Now vs. Lightspeed: Analysis

So, how do Epos Now and Lightspeed stack up against one another? Let’s review some core aspects of each system so you can find the best solution for your business.

The key factors we will cover include:

  • Connectivity
  • Pricing
  • Hardware
  • Operating system
  • Features
  • Payment processing

Connectivity

Lightspeed is a cloud system, meaning all data is stored on remote servers by default. The POS software is accessible via your device’s web browser, so you don’t need any locally installed programs to operate. 

While this easy access simplifies operations, it can disrupt business if you experience an internet outage. If the internet is down, you cannot access the Lightspeed website and run your POS.

For this reason, Lightspeed offers a local server called the Lite Server. This device comes at an additional cost, but it can help you continue operating during network problems. However, you will not be able to process credit card transactions with the Lite Server. 

Epos Now also operates via the cloud, but you can choose to access the system through your browser or install the software on your device for local access. 

Also, despite internet outages, all devices will continue to operate through your local wireless network. You can still send orders to your kitchen, help customers with handheld devices, and more. Data will be stored locally as well, without requiring you to pay for a server. 

No matter which company you choose, you can be happy they both run on the cloud. With this online storage, your data will always have protection from theft, disaster, or corruption. Both companies also offer offline resiliency, but Lightspeed requires you to buy their Lite Server while Epos Now offers it by default. 

Pricing

Comparing the value of POS systems can be difficult because they come with a variety of features, hardware, and other items. When comparing Epos Now and Lightspeed, we used the most similar packages currently available: The Epos Now Retail POS and Lightspeed Retail. 

Epos Now Retail POS

  • Upfront Cost: $450

Lightspeed Retail

  • Upfront Cost: $500 to $1,000

Lightspeed uses horizontal integration, meaning it includes offers branded solutions for e-commerce, payment processing, and loyalty internally. If you want to use these functions, you need to pay for a higher-tier software package. Lightspeed has five plans in total, and each tier unlocks new features.

For example, the Basic Plan does not include eCommerce. Instead, you will need to pay for the Starter Plan. Likewise, the Starter Plan does not include Analytics, so you will need the Pro Plan.

Making pricing a little more confusing, Lightspeed offers a discount if you use Lightspeed Payments. For example, the Basic Plan is $69/month with Lightspeed Payments or $99/month if you choose to use a different payments processor.

If that sounds complex, you will like that Epos Now has only one software plan. By paying the fixed monthly fee, you can use our full range of features to manage your retail or hospitality business. You can build floorplans, run analytics reports, manage inventory, and more. With full control over your system, you can also pick which payment processor you want. 

With this simple monthly fee, you also get access to our extensive app store. Here, you can use third-party programs to create a custom loyalty program, integrate with accounting software, and access many more useful tools. 

Epos Now Software Plans

  • Monthly Software: $39/month

Lightspeed Software Plans (with Lightspeed Payments)

  • Basic: $69/month
  • Starter: $99/month
  • Standard: $119/month
  • Advanced: $169/month
  • Pro: $229/month

Lightspeed Software Plans (without Lightspeed Payments)

  • Basic: $99/month
  • Starter: $129/month
  • Standard: $149/month
  • Advanced: $199/month
  • Pro: $259/month

Since you will likely keep your POS system for several years, let’s compare the annualized costs of Epos Now and Lightspeed. We’ll do this by comparing Epos Now vs. Lightspeed’s Standard Plan since that is the most similar. 

Epos Now long-term cost:

  • One year: $468
  • Three years: $1,404
  • Five years: $2,340

Lightspeed Standard long-term cost:

  • One year: $1,788
  • Three years: $5,364
  • Five years: $8,940

Hardware

Epos Now and Lightspeed have a fleet of devices and tools to power your business. Let’s look at some of the fundamental POS options. 

Epos Now Systems

  • Complete POS: A countertop touchscreen computer, cash drawer, and receipt printer
  • iPad POS: An iPad stand, cash drawer, and receipt printer
  • Android Tablet POS: A tablet stand, cash drawer, and receipt printer
  • Epos Pocket: A handheld device for processing orders on the go and taking stock with a built-in camera/barcode scanner

On top of these options, you can run Epos Now on your existing hardware. The software is compatible with Apple, Windows, and Android devices.

Lightspeed Systems

  • Desktop hardware kit: A USB receipt printer, cash drawer, USB scanner
  • iPad hardware kit: A LAN receipt printer, cash drawer, Bluetooth scanner, Lightspeed iPad stand, receipt paper

You will need to supply your own iPad or Mac computer to use the POS software. If not, you can buy one from Lightspeed.

If you opt-in to Lightspeed Payments, the company will give you a free card terminal. 

Operating system

Epos Now POS software is fully functional on Android, iOS, and Windows devices. For added convenience, you can log into the system from the Chrome web browser. 

The versatility provided by Epos Now lets you use your new POS system on operating systems that you are familiar with. Whether you have existing hardware or simply prefer one brand over another, you can create your own POS experience with Epos Now.

Lightspeed is also accessible from your web browser, but you can only use the POS software on iOS. If you have existing hardware, you will need to contact Lightspeed to see if it is supported. Otherwise, you will need to purchase Apple devices and learn how to use the operating system. 

Features

Since both Epos Now and Lightspeed aim to help retail and hospitality businesses, the companies provide similar features. 

When it comes to retail, these features include:

  • Inventory tracking: Add and edit stock, take inventory, and see products in real-time.
  • Multi-store management: Access data from multiple stores with one device, transfer stock between locations, and offer customers a seamless experience.
  • Staff administration: Assign staff login codes, track work hours, and monitor activities.
  • Reporting and analytics: Build dashboards and custom reports to keep track of key business metrics.

As mentioned earlier, Epos Now provides all these features through its monthly software subscription. You only need the basic software plan to manage the core aspects of your retail store or restaurant.

On the other hand, Lightspeed requires you to pay for a higher-level software plan to access these features or find a third-party app that offers the same functionality. While these programs are quite powerful, they also come at a steep cost. For a small to medium-sized business, accessing these features can be a challenge. 

For example, Lightspeed’s Starter Plan does not include a loyalty program. If you want to upgrade to access this feature, it will cost $50 more per month. For a large business, this investment may be worthwhile, but a small store might struggle to afford this fee. 

So, the biggest challenge when dealing with Lightspeed is knowing what features you need upfront. Otherwise, you will need to pay more to unlock the higher tiers. 

Just from comparing Epos Now’s basic features against those from Lightspeed’s Standard Plan, you get more bang for your buck with Epos Now. 

Payment Processing

When it comes to Lightspeed, you can choose between the company’s official payment service (Lightspeed Payments) or use one of their integrated partners. Depending on your location, these include:

  • Ikeono
  • Stripe
  • Vantiv
  • 2ACCEPT
  • iZettle
  • TSYS
  • Moneris

Because Lightspeed offers discounts by using Lightspeed Payments, it may be advantageous to use this service. Otherwise, you will end up paying more for your system and need to choose from their partners to find a better rate. 

However, this can be a challenge since some markets are quite limited. For example, iZettle is the only payment partner available in the United Kingdom. 

Lightspeed Payments charges fixed fees on each transaction. 

  • Tapped, inserted, or swiped rate: 2.6% + 10¢
  • Manually keyed-in rate: 2.6% + 30¢

Epos Now partners with several payment processors across the world. Depending on your location, you can choose from:

  • EVO Payments
  • WorldPay
  • International Bancard
  • Paymentsense
  • Retail Merchant Services
  • Takepayments
  • Tyro
  • Westpac

From this list, you can negotiate rates and contract lengths to find the ideal integrated payment option. Comparison shopping like this is vital since rates can vary wildly. Some processing companies charge flat percentages, while others have variable rates that depend on which credit card brand was used and what service you offer. 

With Epos Now’s large network of payment partners, you can find the pricing structure that best matches your business model. In some cases, you can even bring your existing payment processing company.

Which to choose?

At the end of the day, choosing between Epos Now and Lightspeed depends on your business. You want to think about what features you need, your payment needs, and the type of equipment you will use. 

Lightspeed has powerful software and a wide range of features that would benefit most businesses. And since they create native programs to handle accounting, analytics, and more, the system could require fewer third-party applications. 

However, all this comes at a cost, and it is vastly more than Epos Now. Even with the Lightspeed Payments discount, the basic software plan will cost $30 more per month than Epos Now. What’s more, you will need to upgrade that plan to get the full range of features, meaning you could be spending over $200/month for your POS. 

In this scenario, Lightspeed may still be worth the cost for some large businesses, but a small store or restaurant may struggle to afford the system. Adding to this, you will need to use Apple products. If you don’t currently have any of these devices, you will have even more upfront costs.

Epos Now, on the other hand, gives you similar features and functionality but at a fixed monthly price. The company also partners with industry leaders, so you get the best programs to help with services like marketing, loyalty, accounting.

Even better, you can run the POS software on almost any device, so you may be able to keep your existing hardware. And if you want a new device, Epos Now terminals cost less than an iPad and many other Apple products. 

Overall, you get complete control over your POS experience with Epos Now. You can choose what equipment you will use, decide how you want to process payments, and get access to essential features by default.

Contact Epos Now today to see a demo!

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