Tech.co's verdict to help you identify the most suitable choice for your retail business
Tech.co's verdict to help you identify the most suitable choice for your restaurant
What's the catch?
Is there a version of the software made specifically for iPad use?
Is there a version of the software made specifically for Android tablet use?
Best overall POS
ShopKeep by Lightspeed
Completely free POS
Best overall free POS
Free payment processing
Best mobile app
Best for integrating ecommerce
Businesses with existing Android hardware
Smaller, quick-service businesses, due to cost-effective pricing, strong brand recognition and support.
Anyone working frequently with mobile phones as well as tablets.
Businesses looking to integrate ecommerce functions into their POS system.
Unlimited — but each till requires a new license
Only pay card transaction fees
Pricey extra features:
You'll pay above-average card transaction fees— but there's no fees with cash/checks, and no monthly cost. Plus, get a free CRM and card reader.
The free plan is quite limited and lacks sophistication. Plus, you can only have one register for one store.
You're limited to a single staff member, in a single location, operating a single register. Plus, you can only make sales up to $5,000 per month.
You need to be an existing Shopify ecommerce customer to add their free POS
You'll have to upgrade to a premium plan to accept card transactions
Extra restaurant or retail features can be had from $60 per month, per location
Start from $29.99 per month
From $49 per month
From $29 per month
$30 per month per branch
The best genuinely free POS system on the market is Loyverse. It offers small business owners- like yourself, perhaps- all the tools you need to get your business ready for the next stage of its growth.
However, compared to the more mainstream POS providers, it lacks complexity. Plus, you'll have to pay more for features such as employee management. That's why we'd likely recommend Square POS instead, for most small businesses.
It's a hard time to be running a restaurant or business at the moment. With the global pandemic showing no sign of subsiding customer demand still hasn't recovered to pre-pandemic levels – meaning you'll be more inclined to cut costs.
A free POS software might seem like an easy way to reduce your overheads. But, be warned, not all of them are as “free” as they claim to be and others simply don't have the features you'll need to run your business.
Here at Tech.co, we like helping small businesses get the best deal. Our quick, free, no-obligation comparison tool will find the best value POS system for your business in moments.
Is Free POS Software Really Free?
Most affordable POS systems on the market today are cloud-based. This means they are run by a company that hosts their software and licenses it out to businesses, who then use it while connected to the internet. (If the internet goes out, most POS systems can operate offline temporarily, and sync back up once they’re online again).
Since these systems tend to make their money on a subscription basis, some offer a free tier. This allows POS providers to gain brand recognition, and creates a broad customer base that might eventually move up to a paid subscription plan. It’s a “freemium” plan: Free, but with a premium option for those willing to reach for their wallets. An example is Loyverse POS.
Another type of “free” POS system is the type that takes a few percentage points off the revenue from each sale. While there’s no up-front cost for using the software, your monthly revenue will drop by around 2-3 %, so it’s not really free. However, the price might be more acceptable for a small business that can’t depend on consistently meeting a budget, or an individual vendor that doesn't sell year round. Square POS operates using this model and provides significantly better features for it.
Find out more – How Much Does a POS System Cost?
Other free POS systems include those offered by companies as a no-strings-attached loss leader to boost their brand name and encourage sales of POS hardware or add-ons, as well as open-source POS software, which is created and maintained by online volunteers but is often clunkier and may be outdated.
A free POS system might not give you the complete package in terms of features but the smallest businesses can definitely get by with a free system. Still, if you want to find out just how affordable POS systems can be, fill out our POS system price comparison tool for tailor-made quotes for your business needs (it might be a lot less than you think!)
Pros and Cons of Free POS Software
Pro: Cost. Getting a small business off the ground is a harrowing process, and even the best operations can easily spend years in the red. Saving 50 to 100 dollars a month on a POS system can make a huge difference for a new business.
Con: Hardware. While POS software can be free, no one’s giving away the hardware you’ll need. A tablet or smartphone may be the only essential hardware for a small operation (which you may already own), but card readers, iPad docks, or stand-alone touchscreen displays are all common POS hardware options, and will cost you.
Con: Interfaces. Paid POS software always looks slick and feels intuitive. The interfaces on a free POS, however, can vary wildly. Some look like a text-based version of the old Oregon Trail game and others look like an early 2000s pop-up ad. Whichever you pick, you’ll have to stare at it day in and day out, and it may be difficult or slow to use.
Con: Limited Functionality. Free POS systems will track sales and inventory, but may not have any options for managing employees or offering loyalty programs. This isn’t necessarily a con, however, as many small businesses wouldn’t benefit enough from these extra features to make them truly cost-effective.
Best Free POS Software for 2021
When it comes to picking out a free POS for your business, the main challenge is knowing which pros are definite musts and which cons are total deal-breakers. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up the best free options, complete with lists of the main pros and cons that can help guide your decision.
Here are Tech.co’s top picks for free POS systems aimed at small businesses:
- Loyverse – The best genuinely free POS system for small businesses
- Square – The best overall POS system on the market, plus it has no monthly fees
- eHopper – The best for free payment processing
- ShopKeep – The best for side hustles and tiny businesses
- Shopify – The best for online-first businesses
- Imonggo – The best for cash-only businesses
- Zobaze – The best for businesses with Android hardware
When it comes to completely free POS platforms, you'll struggle to do any better than Loyverse.
It has been designed from the ground-up as a genuinely free point of sale system to help small businesses move from away from Excel spreadsheets or even pen-and-paper setups to a slicker cloud-based solution.
It works best for retail businesses but could also be a great choice for service businesses or even takeaway food outlets. We wouldn't necessarily recommend it for restaurants, however, given its lack of a legit table management feature.
For a free POS, Loyverse offers a surprisingly strong feature set. It offers sales and analytics tracking, as well as a well-rounded customer loyalty program. It does have a basic inventory feature too, but it's not the best on the market.
Loyverse can help you accept cash, credit, and debit card payments and works with a variety of payment partners including SumUp, WorldPay, and iZettle.
- The only free POS to support multiple locations and loyalty plans
- Has more features than other free options
- Works offline
- No employee management
- Limited inventory management
- Add-ons cost extra
Square is one of the biggest names in POS, and the free version of their service comes with plenty of features. It tracks sales and inventory, logs customer purchase history and emails receipts. Plus, its analytics features lets users see their monthly or annual growth.
It is our favorite POS system bar none and it just happens to be free to use — almost.
Square POS features
Square lets you accept credit, debit, contactless, and chip payments as well as offering its own integrated payment processing system. It even works offline and can instantly send digital receipts and invoices.
Its analytics and reporting features are almost unmatched when it comes to free (or paid!) POS platforms, offering more than 20 detailed options for staff and business performance. Square even has a free CRM system that lets you track customer feedback and respond to it if needs be.
Square POS pricing
Square does charge transaction fees: 2.6% of each card-based sale, plus 10 cents. Keyed-in transactions are charged at 2.5% plus 15 cents. Online sales cost 2.9% plus 30 cents. Cash and check transactions are free, though.
However, as you will only be charged when you make some sales, we consider Square POS to be worthy of consideration among these free alternatives. What's more, you'll also get a free Square card reader for iPhone or Android devices when you sign up.
Learn more about Square POS pricing.
- Free to get started
- Slick and stylish hardware
- Serves businesses of all sizes and in all sectors
- Strong analytics, inventory, and third-party integrations
- Some necessary features for mid-sized businesses cost more
- 2.75% charge on non-card transactions
- Support options vary by plan
eHopper gives you a lot of features on its free plan. You get the free POS, obviously, but you also get a free terminal, and free payment processing — genuinely remarkable value.
eHopper works with retail, restaurant, and service businesses and lets you accept cash, debit, and credit card transactions easily.
However, none of its free features are particularly sophisticated and you might find that the platform struggles to keep pace with your business as it grows. eHopper's inventory management, for example, is a bit basic. You can adjust stock counts, for example, but you can't add product variants.
What's more, table management, ecommerce, customer loyalty, marketing, advanced reporting, menu building, and even barcode management are all reserved for the paid tiers.
- Strong sales management
- Runs on iPad, Android & PCs
- Data reports
- No training or support
- Only one register
- Clunky interface
ShopKeep offers a free account that will let one person operate a single register and make sales of up to $5,000 per month.
ShopKeep's single user, register and sales cap stipulations might sound harsh but you'll get detailed reporting and be able to add items to your inventory with modifiers such as sizing. You'll also be able to issue paper, SMS, and email receipts with your business' location and contact information. Plus, you'll be able to process credit card transactions, process returns, and even set up register shifts to help manage workloads.
- Works on Android devices as well as Shopkeep's proprietary register
- Clean, intuitive user interface
- Support options vary by plan
Shopify isn't exactly a free POS system but you can get a free POS if you're already using its brilliant ecommerce platform.
Shopify POS Lite is included with all Shopify ecommerce plans and gives you some neat features.
You'll be able to accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Apple Pay, and Google Pay transactions with a Shopify card reader. Plus, you'll get credit card processing rates starting a 1.7% with Shopify Payments.
You'll be able to split payments and partial payments, giving your customers more flexibility. You'll be able to customize your POS layout, making it quicker and easier to complete transactions and you'll be able to offer a mobile checkout anywhere within your store if you want to use a tablet or phone, for example.
You can list unlimited products with multiple variants to account for different sizes, colors, or materials, for example. Plus, you'll be able to easily allocate different inventories to different stores or your online platform.
Obviously, Shopify POS isn't actually a free POS. But, if you're already running an online store and are looking to expand, Shopify might be the perfect fit for you — especially so if you're already using Shopify to run your ecommerce operations.
The cheapest Shopify plan costs $29 per month which, considering you'll be getting ecommerce and POS, really isn't too expensive.
- Very strong ecommerce integration
- 14-day free trial
- 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email
- Works with lots of different hardware options
- Exclusively-focused on retail and ecommerce
- Charges transaction fees unless you're using Shopify's own Payments processing system
Imonggo is a decent free option for an individual salesperson, allowing you to list 1,000 products and make 1,000 transactions a month, before having to pay.
Imonggo's installation process is easy, and you should be able to master using the software quickly.
It offers the basics, such as inventory and sales management, and a few useful extra features (loyalty options, offline mode). Customer support is also included for free.
Imonggo is browser-based and works on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox meaning that you should be able to use it regardless of what hardware you might have.
While Imonggo might seem like a strong free POS system, it has one crippling downside: You cannot take card payments on the free plan.
Instead, you're limited to cash and check transactions only. This might have been fine a few years ago but now, with the prevalence of mobile payments and the emphasis on contactless transactions during the coronavirus pandemic, Imonggo looks out of date.
On top of the lack of card payments available, and the restrictions mentioned above that mean you can add no more than 1,000 products and take no more than 1,000 transactions each month, you'll also be limited to one user at one location on the free plan. This could be another stumbling block if your business employs a lot of staff or operates across multiple locations.
You can upgrade starting at $30 per month but, at that price, we'd be choosing a different provider.
- Inventory tracking
- Intuitive interface
- Customer service
- Only one user
- Only one location
- Capped at 1,000 products
Zobaze is designed specifically to work with the Android operating system and is available from the Google Play Store.
While Zobaze does give you a free POS, support options are limited and the company is primarily focused on the Asian market. With that being said, you'll still be able to use it to accept cash, credit cards, debit cards, and checks. What's more, you'll get reporting on profits, peak times, sales by staff member, and best performing products and product categories.
It even has an offline mode to help you in case the power goes out.
The Zobaze app is free but offers in app purchases which range from $4.40 to $269 per item.
Despite the app's upsides, there's no real good reason to choose Zobaze over Loyverse or eHopper as free options, and if you're willing to pay there are far better choices available, including Tech.co's top-rated Square POS.
Zobaze is a better choice than pen-and-paper but we'd go for any of the other providers on this list ahead of it.
- Is genuinely free
- Designed to work with Android devices
- Lacks advanced features
- No customer support
- Software isn't the most sophisticated
Verdict – Best Free POS Software
The best completely free POS is Loyverse. It has a surprisingly wide feature set, including some strong customer loyalty skills.
But our pick would still be Square. You won't have to pay any money until you start making sales and it's likely to be a far better long-term option for your business.
If you run a farmer’s market stall or a roadside kiosk and have no plans to expand, a free POS might give you all the features you need. But if you run a single location and hope to continue growing the business, you should consider an option such as Square which will grow with your business, even if there are a few transaction feees associated.
If you need access to an expanded set of features and dependable tech support or training programs, you'll need a paid-for POS subscription up front. If you're unsure of the best choice for your needs, our handy comparison tool can help you collect personalized quotes from the best POS vendors available today- free and paid.
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