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 can make a huge difference for a new business, and you could save more if your POS system is completely free.
To help, we reviewed the best Free POS Software for small businesses. Loyverse ranked top, however, every free system has limitations, which is why Square POS was our overall winner, only charging transaction fees. A free POS system won't give you the complete package when it comes to features, but the smallest businesses can definitely get by with a solid free system.
In this article we review the best free POS software to help you decide if a free system is right for your business. And, if you want to find out how affordable POS systems can be, use our free POS system comparison tool for tailor-made quotes for your business needs (it might be a lot less than you think).
Best Free POS Software for 2022
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 the best free POS systems for 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 as it offers all the tools you need to get your business ready for the next stage of its growth.
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.
- 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 its 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.
- 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
- 3.5% + 15¢ charge for keyed-in transactions
- Support options vary by plan
- Strong sales management
- Runs on iPad, Android & PCs
- Data reports
- No training or support
- Only one register
- Clunky interface
- Works on Android devices as well as Shopkeep's proprietary register
- Clean, intuitive user interface
- Support options vary by plan
- Very strong ecommerce integration
- 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
- No offline mode
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.
- Inventory tracking
- Intuitive interface
- Customer service
- Only one user
- Only one location
- Capped at 1,000 products
- Is genuinely free
- Designed to work with Android devices
- Lacks advanced features
- No customer support
- Software isn't the most sophisticated
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 Free POS Software Really Free?
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.
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.
Pros and Cons of Free POS Software
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.
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.
In comparison, 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.
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.
What it eventually comes down to is the POS system you choose has to be the right POS for your needs. You can use our free POS comparison tool to find the best value POS system for your business. It's simple, quick and easy-to-use, and you'll get a free, no-obligation quote to help you assess your business' needs.
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 if we had to pick just one software to recommend, it 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.
The truth is, 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.
Access to an expanded set of features and dependable tech support or training programs, will always be worth their weight in gold. And, you'll need a paid-for POS subscription up front to acquire it. The good thing is that it doesn't have to eat away at your costs. If you're unsure of the best choice for your needs, use our free POS comparison tool to help you find the most affordable POS system for your business needs.
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