The Best Free POS Systems
Who doesn’t love stuff for free? If you’re raising your hand right now, not only do you look silly, but you’re also a liar. Go to any major sporting event that features America’s greatest contribution to society — the t-shirt cannon — and you’ll see just how much people love free crap.
That said, as an intelligent and perceptive consumer, you know that it’s nearly impossible to find something both truly useful and completely free. In fact, the only things I can think of that meet the brief are love and the following point of sale systems.
Read on for a look at five of the best, no-cost POS systems on the market today. We’ll also talk about Square; it isn’t technically true point of sale software but it does have wide application in the POS industry and is used by a variety of retail and restaurant vendors.
Square (read our review) is, by far, the most popular and feature-rich mobile register solution with no monthly fee. But unlike the other free POS’s on this list, Square is less a software solution and more a fully mobile payments solution, meaning it runs via an app on your smartphone or tablet rather than a web browser on a computer (you can access your backend reports and your online store on desktop/laptop but you cannot process payments this way).
A quick look at Square’s services
Square is a lot more than just a mobile register, offering tons of useful back-end features, including an integrated online store if you also do business online, inventory reporting, and built-in integrations with accounting software and many other programs. You can also continue to run the app and process payments offline if your internet connection goes out.
Linga (read our review) doesn’t have Vend’s innate functionality, but for a small business with a limited product range, Linga’s free service is fairly robust. You are limited to one register and 25 items, but the rest of the feature list at the free level is impressive.
Linga allows for modifiers, happy hour, check splitting, coupons, returns, and voids. On the back end, you get sales dashboards, employee performance tracking, and email marketing — among other things.
You don’t get great inventory monitoring or much of a loyalty program with Linga’s free plan, but considering the fact that you’re already limited to 25 products, that may not be a deal breaker. Linga’s interface can take some getting used to and there aren’t as many good resources for getting through the initial setup process as some POS systems offer. Still, for the price of nothing, Linga has a lot to offer. If you like Linga and want to upgrade, the basic plan (which features unlimited products) starts at just $19.99 a month.
Imonggo (check out our review) is an interesting system which, depending on your business’s needs, could be a perfect solution. The company was the first to offer a truly free POS system in 2009 and still offers more than a lot of its competitors with its no-cost plan. Most notably, unlike Vend and Linga, Imonggo’s plan allows for 1,000 products, which means larger retailers could find a use for the free option. Imonggo also includes integrated inventory management with its free version. You’ll have access to strong customer support and a nice sales analysis feature as well. This system is exceptionally easy to use. Set-up takes a matter of minutes and you can fly through its basic functions seamlessly.
Now for the downsides. You may be able to sell 1,000 products, but you are limited to 1,000 transactions per month. What’s more, Imonggo isn’t yet EMV compatible, meaning you can’t process chip cards. You also can’t process cards offline, although Imonggo is partnered with Authorize.Net, which gives you other processing options.
Fortunately, there’s not a lot of risk to using Imonggo. The company offers a 30-day free trial and there are no contracts. If you decide to upgrade at some point, the system stays affordable at just $30 a month.
Loyverse (see our review) is unique in that it currently doesn’t even offer a paid plan. Aside from selling a few add-ons to its product, Loyverse is entirely free. This POS is best suited for small retail businesses, cafes, or food carts. As you would expect, Loyverse’s features are pretty simple, but there are a lot of them. The system offers multi-store functionality, sales analytics, inventory management, and a surprisingly strong loyalty program. You’re not going to find another free option on the market with all of that included, period. It also has a convenient kitchen display system.
It’s possible to upload your inventory via a CSV file and, just recently, Loyverse integrated with Vantiv to make processing payments easier. Its interface doesn’t have a lot of frills on the front of backend but it’s easy enough to navigate.
For an additional $5 per customer, you can add employee management. And for $25 a month, you can add advanced inventory (both features come with a 14-day free trial). Customer service, including the ability to live-chat, is included.
eHopper (see our review), though it has its flaws from a design standpoint, provides an astounding number of features for free. In fact, the free plan comes with inventory management, customer management, modifiers, reporting, and merchant processing. There aren’t a lot of customization options and things like reporting are pretty limited (just 15 reports available) but smaller businesses are likely to find just about everything they might need here.
A few nice bonuses include the ability to create customer profiles, add item descriptions, and operate across multiple locations. However, if you’re new to the POS game, you may find some difficulty setting up — there isn’t a lot of training help. You also don’t have access to email support, though if you don’t anticipate having problems with a relatively straightforward system, eHopper has a lot to offer.
I will say that I wouldn’t recommend upgrading to the $30/month package as there are far more user-friendly options available for the price. But those of you with experience in the POS industry may find eHopper intriguing.
If you’re opening a small business, chances are you’re looking to save a few bucks wherever you can. Point of sale software can certainly get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Depending on your needs and what you’re willing to sacrifice, you may be able to function perfectly well without spending a dime on your system.
Before choosing a new system, free or otherwise, make sure you check out our selection of comprehensive point of sale reviews.