What To Expect In Free POS Software & How To Find The Right Fit For Your Small Business
Who doesn’t love getting 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 freebies.
That said, as an intelligent and perceptive consumer, you know that it’s nearly impossible to find something both truly useful and completely free. The only things I can think of are love and the following free point of sale systems for small businesses.
Business expenses can be costly, but you can save hundreds of dollars (or more!) each year with free POS software. But the cost (or the lack thereof) shouldn’t be the only consideration you have when selecting POS software. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best free POS software. You can rest assured that with these choices, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also have functional software that gets the job done.
Keep reading to check out our picks!
Read more below to learn why we chose these options.
Table of Contents
How To Find Free Point Of Sale Software
Your free POS software should at least allow you to process payments, add inventory, and run basic reports. Access to advanced features, such as advanced inventory management or employee management, may require an upgrade to a paid plan. But if you only need basic features, the software on this list fits the bill.
Best overall free POS software.
Square is an excellent all-around app-based POS software that’s free for small businesses. You even get a free credit card reader, which lets you accept swiped card payments from your phone or tablet (or pay just $49 for a contactless and chip reader). Square can offer its software for free because it is primarily a payment processor, meaning the company makes money through your business’s credit card sales.
While Square offers paid monthly plans with industry-specific POS features (Square Appointments and “Plus” versions of Square for Restaurants and Square for Retail), you can access the free Square POS via an app that you download to your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone/tablet. The software also runs on Square’s proprietary Square Terminal and Square Register hardware.
Though somewhat basic compared to advanced POS systems, Square offers a number of useful features for a variety of business types, from cafés to spas. With Square’s free point of sale plan, you get free eCommerce, email receipts, free invoicing, inventory management, and integrations with other business software.
For industry-specific needs, note that Square also offers free POS software for restaurants and retailers — limited versions of Square for Restaurants and Square for Retail. In addition, Square Appointments offers its booking suite bundled with a free POS for single users.
- Full POS is free
- A free plug-in card swiper
- Free online store
- Transparent, flat-rate processing
- No choice of processor (must use Square Payments)
2. Vend By Lightspeed
Vend by Lightspeed
Best free POS software for retail startups.
Vend by Lightspeed is a retail-centric POS with an entry-level plan that might work for you if you only sell a few products (for example, sales at craft fairs and farmer’s markets or small startup businesses). The free POS software plan includes one register, one user, 10 products, and 1,000 customers. Note that a product variant counts as a product when calculating the 10-item limit. The 10-product limit will restrict Vend’s free plan to very small, casual businesses only.
Vend’s browser-based POS software works on any internet-connected device, whether you have an iPad, Mac, Android, or Windows device — though if you want to sell through the Vend mobile app, you’ll have to use an iPad. Easy to use and onboard, Vend users praise the software’s user-friendliness and useful features, such as reporting, price books, inventory management, customer management, and offline mode.
Payment processing options include PayPal, Square, Worldpay (formerly Vantiv), EVO Payments, North American Bancard, and CardConnect. That means if you want to keep things light and use a no-monthly-fee merchant service provider, you could use Vend with Square or PayPal, both of which are pay-as-you-go with no monthly fees or contracts.
For access to phone support, advanced features, such as gift cards, phone support, promotions, loyalty, and software integrations (Shopify, Xero, etc.), and advanced reporting, you’ll have to upgrade to one of Vend’s paid plans, which start at $99/month (billed annually). The starting price point might be a little steep for smaller retailers, but it’s something to keep in mind when you eventually outgrow Vend’s free point of sale plan.
- Compatible with Square or PayPal for free (pay-as-you-go) payment processing
- Free POS software for PC
- Free retail POS software
- Takes sales offline
- 10 product limit
- No Android app
Best free POS system for low-volume retailers.
Imonggo is a basic but interesting POS program that, depending on your business’s needs, could be a perfect free retail POS system. The company was the first to offer a truly free web-based POS system in 2009 and still provides more than many of its competitors with its no-cost plan. Most notably, web-based Imonggo’s free POS plan allows for up to 1,000 inventory items, which means you could find a use for the software if you have a large-ish inventory. Imonggo also includes integrated inventory management with its free version. You’ll have access to customer support (though not to phone support) and a nice sales analysis feature as well.
Now for the downsides. You may be able to sell 1,000 products, but you are limited to 1,000 transaction lines per month — this means 1,000 items sold, not 1,000 actual transactions. That means only very low-volume sellers could realistically use Imonggo’s free plan as their primary POS. Also, you can only create 1,000 products in the account’s lifetime, after which you will have to upgrade.
Another very important caveat is that the free plan also has no direct credit card processing integration. That means if you want to use this free POS software, you’ll either have to process credit cards separate from the POS or operate a cash-only business. Or you can upgrade to the $30/month plan, which is still quite affordable and includes unlimited products, unlimited transactions, and credit card processing using either the Authorize.Net or Worldpay gateway.
You can run Imonggo on any device with a web browser — on your laptop, Android tablet, iPhone, etc. — but if you want to process sales through the dedicated POS app, you’ll need an iPad.
- POS system for iPad with no monthly fee
- Free retail POS system
- Free inventory management
- Free customer support
- Can’t process credit cards on the free plan
- 1,000 transaction lines/month limit
Best free POS software for small businesses with multiple locations.
Loyverse is unique in that it currently doesn’t even offer a paid plan. Aside from a few add-ons to its product, Loyverse is entirely free POS software for small businesses. This software is best suited for small retail businesses, cafés, or food carts. As you would expect, Loyverse’s features are pretty simple, but there are a bunch of them. Apart from Square, Loyverse is probably the most feature-packed free POS software there is.
The system offers multistore functionality, sales analytics, inventory management, and a surprisingly strong loyalty program. And with a couple of additional iPads or tablets, you can set up a convenient kitchen display system and a customer-facing display for easy checkouts. You can add employee management and advanced inventory for a fee.
It’s easy to use Loyverse on your preferred iOS or Android device. You can download the Loyverse POS app from the App Store or Google Play store and run it on an iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone, or Android tablet. The app supports peripheral equipment, such as a cash drawer, receipt printer, kitchen printer, and barcode scanner.
It’s possible to upload your inventory via a CSV file, which means it’s very easy to get started with this system. Loyverse’s interface doesn’t have a lot of frills on the front or back end, but it’s easy enough to navigate. Loyverse also integrates with several different payment processors.
- Free loyalty program
- Free kitchen display and customer display options
- Free multilocation management
- Live chat customer service
- Employee management costs extra
- Advanced inventory management costs extra
Best POS software with free credit card processing.
eHopper, available on iPads, Android tablets, Windows tablets, and PCs, provides an impressive number of features in a free POS system. The free plan comes with inventory management, customer management, modifiers, reporting, order tracking, tip management, and more. There aren’t many customization options, and things such as reporting are pretty limited (just 15 reports available), but smaller businesses are likely to find just about everything they might need here.
While you have the option to integrate eHopper with several outside payment processors with the free POS plan, what’s especially interesting about eHopper is that you can also choose free payment processing with eHopper merchant services. This program allows 0% credit card processing by letting you pass on your credit card processing costs to your customers via a credit surcharge or cash discount (provided that this practice is legal in your state). Though this type of free credit card processing may not work for every business type, it could be useful for convenience stores, gas stations, small grocery stores, and even small restaurants. Plus, it comes with a free credit card terminal — NFC- and EMV-enabled PAX S300 — on signup.
Additionally, a few nice bonuses include the ability to create customer profiles, track orders, manage inventory and modifiers, 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.
If you want advanced features and the ability to accept EBT payments or run the POS on a Poynt terminal, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan. You also don’t have access to customer support under the free plan, though if you don’t anticipate having problems with a relatively straightforward system, eHopper has a lot to offer. Especially for those looking for free POS software that works on Windows tablets, eHopper is probably one of your best options.
- Free card processing (via cash discount or credit surcharge program)
- Free Pax S300 Payment Terminal
- Free POS software for Windows 10
- Free restaurant POS software
- No live support
- Basic POS
Looking For One Of These Names?
The following free POS software solutions didn’t quite make our best-of list, but in case you’re interested, here’s some information about a few more companies that offer free point of sale software for small businesses.
ShopKeep By Lightspeed
ShopKeep was previously on our list of the best free POS software, so what changed? ShopKeep has been acquired by Lightspeed and is now known as ShopKeep by Lightspeed. ShopKeep by Lightspeed does not advertise a free POS plan for new customers. If you’re interested in this POS, you will have to contact Lightspeed for a custom quote or inquire about one of Lightspeed’s other POS options.
uniCenta oPOS is an open-source desktop point of sale software that runs on Windows PCs, Mac, and even Linux. It can also run on Android and Windows tablets, and you have the choice to download the POS and run it locally or host it in the cloud. The software is suitable for retail, hospitality, events, and more, and it processes payments with a Dejavoo merchant account. uniCenta oPOS is free using the GNU GPL3 license, but if you want to receive bug fixes and support, you’ll have to pay a subscription fee (which is only $77 to $175/year). The POS also requires some degree of programming expertise, so it’s probably not the best choice if you’re new to POS. But if you are good with tech stuff and interested in an open-source, free POS, uniCenta is worth looking into.
We haven’t done a full review of this POS yet, but please let us know what you think of it in the comments!
Floreant is another free, open-source POS, except this one is specifically for restaurants. This non-cloud, locally-installed POS runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, Raspberry PI, and Java-supported tablets. In addition to being free, another benefit of Floreant is you don’t need the internet to run the POS. However, you’ll need an internet connection to process payments using the Authorize.Net payment gateway — and pay a $25/month gateway fee as well. Unfortunately, the free version of Floreant POS (there is also a paid version called ORO POS) is extremely basic. It doesn’t include any customer support or tools to manage your customers. With that said, some restaurants with relatively basic needs might want to explore this free POS option.
We don’t have a full review of this free restaurant POS yet, so I’d love to hear your opinions about it in the comments.
Harbortouch offers a retail and restaurant POS with a free plan that includes a free cash register and card reader. However, you have to agree to a three-year service agreement and merchant services contract to get this deal. If you find you’re not happy with Harbortouch and decide to exit your contract early, you’ll have to either pay an early termination fee equal to the number of remaining months in the merchant agreement multiplied by $60 or pay $600, whichever is greater. If you get “free” POS equipment from Harbortouch, you’ll also pay a $200 to $300 equipment fee, depending on how much longer you have left in your contract. These steep penalties, combined with complaints about Harbortouch’s sales agents being less than upfront about said fees, are both red flags when it comes to a POS, so I would not recommend it.
Check out our full review of Harbortouch POS if you still want to learn more about its free point of sale software plan.
Features To Look For In Free POS Software For Small Business
Free POS software for small businesses doesn’t always come with a lot of bells and whistles, but there are a few must-have considerations to see if a system is worthwhile. If your system doesn’t include the following features, it might just be too limited.
- Payment Processing: Unless you are running a cash-only business, you’ll need a payment processing solution so that you can process credit cards with your POS. That means you’ll need a POS that either includes in-house payment processing or offers a payment processing integration with a partnered merchant services provider. It is possible to process payments completely separately from your POS, though you’ll miss out on automatic POS data collection, and you’ll have to enter all your sales manually.
- Customer Support: It’s common for a free POS system to have limited or no customer support. Unfortunately, POS problems will inevitably arise, and you’ll need someone to help you out. Ideally, you’ll be able to resolve issues by contacting your point of sale provider’s live support through phone or chat; even email support or community support is better than nothing. But just crossing your fingers and hoping that you never have a problem with your POS is not a good customer support alternative.
- Basic Business Management Features: Free point of sale software should provide at least some business management features, including basic POS reports, basic inventory management, and basic customer management. Without any reporting or management features, your POS system is just a glorified cash register, and you won’t have access to important data that can help you run a smarter business. Many POS systems — even free ones — harness the power of the cloud to glean all kinds of information from your sales, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to use this data.
- Reasonable Limitations: Free plans often limit the number of inventory items, the number of transactions per month, and monthly processing amounts. It’s important that the limits of your free POS are high enough that your business can operate normally or even with some room for growth. For example, Vend’s monthly limit of 10 products, Imonggo’s limit of 1,000 transaction lines/month, or ShopKeep’s $5,000/month processing limit might be too restrictive for your business.
In addition to having the features your business needs, it’s also important to look for user-friendly software. Even if you aren’t new to using POS software, there’s a good chance that you may have employees (now or in the future) that aren’t so experienced. By looking for software that’s easy to learn and use, you can spend less time on training and more time focusing on your customers and other areas of your business. And it never hurts to look for companies that offer good customer support and resources to help you and your employees more easily navigate the software.
Is A Free POS System The Best Choice For You?
If you’re opening (or currently running) 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. But is a free POS system really right for you?
What You May Miss With A Free POS
Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on your needs. Free point of sale software can have restrictions on things, such as inventory size, monthly sales/transactions, and the number of registers/users. Usually, they only include basic features, such as basic register functionality, basic inventory management, and basic sales reports. Some free POS plans do not include integrated payment processing, which could be a pain if you don’t have another way of taking payments. Limitations on customer support could also be problematic for some merchants since problems are bound to arise from time to time.
If you answer yes to the following questions, a free POS option could work for you:
- Do you only need one register?
- Do you only sell a few different items?
- Do you sell fewer than 1,000 items per month?
- Do you process $5,000 or less per month?
- Do you only need basic POS features (register functionality, basic inventory management, sales reports)?
If you answered no to one or more of those questions, it might be worth paying a bit more for advanced features.
Before deciding on any free point of sale, be sure to test it out to make sure it meets all of your needs. Many free POS systems also allow you to do a free trial of their paid plan, which can help you determine if you need the added features and functionality that come with a paid account.
Final Thoughts On Free POS Software
If you decide to go with a free POS, I would recommend Square as the best all-around option, as it has the most features and doesn’t have the same limits that most other free systems have. Square includes integrated payment processing, unlimited inventory and transactions, multiple users and locations, and phone-based support. You can also integrate with other business software to extend its functionality. However, if you’re not sure any of these options fit the bill, check out our POS comparison chart for some of our favorite options!
Looking for more free business software? Check out our posts on free accounting software, free payroll software, and lots more free stuff:
- Free invoicing software if your business is on a budget
- Free payroll software apps for small businesses
- Free accounting software for small businesses
- Free bookkeeping software for small businesses
- Free project management software for small businesses
- Free eCommerce platforms and shopping carts for online businesses
- Free merchant accounts and payment processors
- Free credit card readers for small businesses
- Where (and how) to get a startup grant for your new business
In Summary: How To Find Free Point Of Sale Software
- Square POS: Best overall free POS software.
- Vend by Lightspeed: Best free POS software for retail startups.
- Imonggo POS: Best free POS system for low-volume retailers.
- Loyverse: Best free POS software for small businesses with multiple locations.
- eHopper: Best POS software with free credit card processing.